Ensuring a Positive Experience for Your Labrador Retriever: Expert Guidance on Daycare, Training, and Boarding
Many of our puppy families find themselves needing to leave their Labrador in the care of another for daycare, training, and boarding. As the breeder of your puppy, we are here for lifelong support and are happy to provide guidance to safe options and referrals to known providers. This is a topic near and dear to our hearts as we want your puppy to have a safe and positive experience.
Vaccinations for a Safe Experience
Prioritizing Your Labrador’s Health and Safety: Key Vaccinations Before Training, Daycare, or Boarding
Because your puppy will be exposed to other dogs in close quarters, we recommend that your puppy not start training, daycare, or boarding until they are fully vaccinated (typically around 16 weeks of age). The exception to this is a puppy going directly into board and train for service work at a facility that knows the proper precautions to take with partially vaccinated puppies.
The same applies to your adult dogs who will be going to daycare, training, or boarding. Some providers only require certain vaccines for attendance, but we recommend your dog have the following vaccines up to date before attending:
- Kennel Cough- Bordetella
- Canine Flu
For those of you who titer test rather than vaccinate (except for rabies, which is required by law), it is essential to make sure your dog’s titer tests show immunity to the above diseases, and if not, make sure they receive a booster before attending.
Finding the Right Trainers
Navigating the Trainer Landscape for Your Labrador: Credentials and Class Size – Important Factors to Consider
It seems like trainers and training facilities are popping up on every corner. Sometimes, the closest trainer isn’t always the best option. Word of mouth from someone who has actually used the trainer or training facility is a good starting place. We also recommend a visit at the facility (without your dog) to sit in on a class.
Many facilities require an evaluation of your dog before they are accepted into the training facility; this is best done at a second visit so you can concentrate on the dynamics of the class during your first visit and on your dog’s experience during the visit for the evaluation.
Criteria to look for in a training facility or trainer:
- Credentials: Is the trainer credentialed by a recognized source? Has the facility been licensed to provide training?
- Class size: we recommend that classes allow for at least a 6-foot distance between the dogs at all times. This includes at least a 6-foot distance between the class and spectators.
- Class distribution: usually, classes are divided into skill level rather than age level. Other than puppy classes, beginning pet obedience classes and up can be composed of puppies from 5 months to adult dogs who have had no training. This is the reason it is imperative to have enough space between dogs. A 5-month-old puppy jumping and pulling on a leash can do less damage than a fully grown dog jumping and pulling on their leash. It is important to have enough room in class should you find yourself between two such dogs.
- Your goals: most training facilities start everyone in a puppy class or basic obedience class. For some pet owners, that is enough. Others are interested in advancing into dog sports. If so, does the facility support your goals?
- Training methods: we have found balanced training works best for our dogs. Other puppy families only want to do positive reinforcement training. It is important that your training facility’s training methods align with your beliefs.
- Private trainers: some dogs do better initially with private training until they are able to meet certain goals without distractions and then they are able to continue their training in a class setting.
Daycare and Boarding Considerations
Ensuring Safe and Regulated Environments: Researching Facilities and Addressing Concerns
Sadly, we have heard of many tragedies which have occurred in daycares and boarding facilities. This is a highly unregulated area, so it is important to know key items to consider before leaving your pet in a daycare or boarding facility:
- Search online for any complaints against the facility or private daycare.
- Visit the facility well in advance of your pet’s stay.
- Ask to see the credentials of all staff who will be caring for your pet.
- Inquire about the caregiver’s insurance which would cover your pet in the case of injury or the unthinkable (death). Some providers, such as sitters through Rover, promote certain “guarantees“ in these instances. Please review them carefully as many require the pet owner to present any claims to their homeowners insurance prior to any claims being paid by the company.
- Ideally, the daycare or boarding facility should group the dogs not only into age groups but also breed-specific groups such as sporting groups, working groups, etc., as energy and temperament levels are similar within these groups.
Lifelong Support for Your Labrador’s Well-being: Making Informed Choices for a Happy and Healthy Pet
In conclusion, as the breeder of your beloved Labrador, we are committed to providing lifelong support. By following these guidelines and considering the crucial factors when selecting daycare, training, and boarding options, you can ensure a positive and safe experience for your Labrador. Make informed choices to guarantee the well-being of your furry companion.
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