While working at our booth at the recent Scrub A Mutt and Poochapalooza dog events this summer, I had many people come up to me and ask if we had breed restrictions. With the number of very friendly “bully breed” dogs that we have boarded over the years, I started thinking about why any kennel would automatically have restrictions based on breed or size.
When considering which kennel is the best place for your 4 legged family member, take moment to think twice when a boarding kennel has breed restrictions. You might think that it does not matter because you have a nice, friendly small dog. You may think your dog will be safer at a kennel when there are no Rottweilers or Pit Bulls around. But you may want to look at it a little differently.
In an open boarding environment (no individual kennels for the dogs), breed restrictions may be a good thing, as long that kennel still separates the dogs by size, because even the friendliest Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever may suddenly think that the furry little Pomeranian is a squeaky toy in the middle of the night. With a big size difference the consequences can be tragic.
When a traditional boarding kennel has breed restrictions, is it because the owners or employees don’t really know how to care for all breeds of dogs? If they don’t know about the traits of German Sheppards and Doberman Pinschers, what makes you think they know about the idiosyncrasies of Miniature Dachshunds and Jack Russell Terriers? What is going to happen when your German Short Hair Pointer smiles at the people and they mistake for a snarl? How will your dog be treated when through genetics or abuse by a prior owner, your dog is anti-social? Will your cute little mixed breed mutt be confined to his or her kennel for the entire stay because the kennel workers don’t know how to less than friendly dogs?
Some boarding kennels have breed restrictions because their facilities are just not secure enough to ensure the safety of all the other dogs, if one of the “potentially dangerous breed” dogs has a bad day. Even in the best boarding facilities, dogs are under a certain amount of stress because the people caring for the dogs are just not mom or dad. You have to remember that while we may treat them like people, dogs are still animals that can have a bad day and do bad thing on that bad day. A medium size lab mix can be as destructive as a 120 pound Rottweiler when it is in a state of panic from a big thunderstorm. A kennel needs to be secure enough to protect a dog from itself in those situations.
Some family owned boarding kennels have breed and size restrictions because it a true family run operation and they have their kids working in the kennel. That is absolutely fine, and a great experience for the kids. But what about your dog, would rather have someone caring for your dog that is properly trained to handle all breeds or the 10 year old son of the owner who may not be as careful as needed? I know my employees are not going to be pulled over and lose control of any dog, even the most hyper active, friendly Alaskan Malamute sled dog.
A boarding kennel with no breed restrictions is less likely to have problems with any breed because they are not surprised by what a dog can do. They have seen a dog destroy a kennel gate in a state of panic and taken measures to prevent it in the future. They are prepared when they put a leash on a dog and it gets excited and pulls like a semi-truck.
Temperament restrictions are a different matter. Because of how they operate, some kennels will not take people aggressive dogs. Other kennels because of their design, will not take fearful dogs. Many times those competing kennels work together one sending the aggressive dogs one way and the other kennel sending the fearful dogs the other way. Here at the K9 Korral, we have no breed restrictions but we send the plain old people aggressive dogs to Sno-Line Kennels because she has experience with those types of dogs. At the same time, because of how our facility is designed, we have no problems with the fearful dogs and she sends them or way.
Even if you have a dog that is on nobody’s breed restriction list, you have to ask yourself if kennel with breed restrictions is going to give your dog the care and security it deserves.