Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Did You Get To Meet Your Host Family/Carer?

If you have used home boarding for your dog before, did you get to meet the people he was staying with?

I was talking to a client the other day who used to use another company to board her Chocolate Labrador.  She didn't want to put Henry into kennels and found the company she thought was the answer to her problem of what to do with H when she went on holiday.  There were no other home boarding organisations near her so she used it in preference to boarding kennels.

She used them for about a year but was always concerned that she never got to actually meet the host family.  She was visited at home by the franchisee and then given a profile with a photograph but no name of the host once they had been matched to her. It always worried her that she never saw how the host carer interacted with Henry.

The dog was collected from her and returned to her by van which was good because it saved her time (although they did charge for the service) and she was told the town where the host lived but that was all.

She was so pleased when I told her that she could always meet Henry's carer at least once before she went away and if ever she wasn't happy with the way the meeting went we could find someone else to care for him.

It is our policy at 101 Friends to make sure that everyone is happy. If you want to take your dog to visit the carer multiple times before you go away that is absolutely fine.  If you want him to stay overnight for a trial run then that can be arranged too.

What if you don't really want him to go into someone else's home?  Well you could always request house sitting as an alternative.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Why Do We Ask That Your Dog Wears a Collar?

When you become a member of 101 Friends and read through our Terms and Conditions you might be surprised to see that we request all dogs boarded with our carers wear a collar.

Maybe your dog has a harness or slip lead; so why would he need a collar and why would we be so insistent about it?

Well, the fact is some dogs are escape artists.  They can wriggle through the smallest of gaps if they have a mind to make a bid for freedom.  Maybe the postman calls to deliver a parcel and you open the door just a crack but before you know it Fido has slipped out and is heading for home at high speed.

If he comes to us wearing a collar the carer can grab hold of that before the door is opened so he can't escape. The collar must be well fitting and with space only for two fingers between his neck and the collar.  It must not be able to be pulled over his head.

At 101 Friends for Every Dog South Yorkshire our carers normally attach to the collar a cylinder with the dogs name, the carers address and phone number written on a piece of paper inside.  This is a safeguard for the unlikely event of him escaping. Even though he may be micro-chipped it saves the finder a trip to the vet to have the dog scanned and futile attempts to contact you whilst you may be abroad.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Who is the Dominant One - You or Your Dog?

Dogs are pack animals and all packs have a leader.  In a domestic situation that should be you and not your dog.  When your dog knows its place in the pack it is actually happier than when the boundaries are unclear.

Even though dogs are a domesticated species now they still retain the pack instinct.

If you allow your dog to sleep on the bed this is reinforcing the fact that he is the alpha dog. The alpha dog in a pack always gets the comfiest place to sleep. Larger breeds sometimes like to push their owners out of the way, which is not acceptable since it further reinforces their dominance.  If you want to be the leader of the pack and still wish to have the dog sleep on your bed, they should only be allowed to get up there when asked and made to sleep at the foot of the bed rather than beside you.

If you are the owner of a large breed dog it is probably not a good idea to engage in games such as tug of war.  The reason being that he might win, hence giving him the perceived position of leader of the pack.

There are many ways in which you can reinforce the fact that you are the leader.  Here are a few examples you might like to try:
  • When walking the dog make sure that he does not lead the way. In a pack the alpha dog always leads.
  • Do not allow your dog to be the first to enter or leave a room. You lead, he follows.
  • Always let your dog see you eat something before you feed him. 
  • All human family members should eat before the dog
  • Never feed scraps to him during the meal
  • It is very important never to show fear or weakness in the presence of your dog
  • Don’t allow anyone to rough and tumble on the floor with the dog. You should always be in a ‘higher’ position than the dog.

There are lots of other ways to reinforce your leadership. A good idea is to buy or borrow some of Cesar Millan’s books which contain invaluable advice around this subject.

Don’t fear that you are mistreating your animal when you are asserting dominance over him.  This is the natural way of life for a dog.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Before You Board Your Dog Anywhere

Before you arrange boarding for your dog either in kennels or in home boarding there are several things you should do.

You love your dog and he/she is precious to you so it makes sense that you would want him/her to be happy and comfortable  wherever you leave them.

Ask your friends with dogs to recommend somewhere to you - your local vet may also be able to suggest a good place.

When you've selected somewhere I would suggest that you make at least one visit to check the facilities.  Any boarding kennel worth it's salt should show you around without any problem.

If there's anything that you don't like then don't make the booking. If you give yourself enough time you can visit several places until you find the one that meets your requirements.

Ask plenty of questions such as:

  • The cost
  • The accommodation
  • What type of food will be provided if any
  • How much and what type of exercise will be provided
  • Whether your dog will be segregated from others 
  • Anything else you consider to be important or relevant
If you can't find anywhere suitable there are other options you might wish to consider.  

Home boarding companies will generally always allow you to visit the place your dog will be staying to give you and your dog the opportunity to meet the family and other pets if they have them.  If you are not happy with one carer; most operations have others for you to meet.

There is always the option to hire a house sitter who will come into your home and look after your pets and plants.  Some will even do basic housework.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

We Are Different From Some Other Home Boarding Establishments

I noticed an article today about a home boarding organisation similar to ours and what I read set me off on a quest to find out if there are other places that operate in the same way.

To my surprise I found several.  Like 101 Friends they have host families or carers to look after the dogs.  They also fully interview the carefully chosen carers and inspect their homes and gardens for safety.

The main difference is that some home boarding organisations board up to four dogs at a time and these are not always dogs from the same household.  This surprised me a little since the home boarding regulations for most areas state that only dogs from the same family must be boarded together.

101 Friends for Every Dog -South Yorkshire will only ever board dogs from the same family.  Some of our carers will take up to three dogs at a time but never from different owners.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Almost Forgot to Mention... Our Other Services

Almost forgot to mention that there is absolutely no need to forego holidays because you don't want to put your dog in kennels or you have other animals.

Although *101 Friends for Every Dog - South Yorkshire cannot accommodate cats or other small animals with their carers, we are insured for house sitting. Your pets (except reptiles) can be cared for in your own home on request.

Price on application. *Please note that this service is not generally offered by other branches of 101 Friends.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

What Are the Advantages of Membership of a Dog Home Boarding Club?

The main advantage of being a member of 101 Friends is that you are almost always guaranteed a place for your dog at any time of the year.


  • We can often accommodate your dog at short notice
  • It costs only a one-off £10 for life membership
  • We endeavour to find a carer close to your home
  • Your dog doesn't need to be vaccinated for Kennel Cough
  • We try to keep your dog with the same carer every time so he gets to know them
  • If your dog gets sick whilst in our care he will be taken to a vet (usually his regular vet)
  • We can sometimes take up to three dogs of the same family
  • You will be contacted and progress reports given on sick dogs wherever possible
  • We work around your dog's normal routine, not the other way round
  • Second and third dogs get a 50% discount
  • We are always on call - if the machine answers we will call you back
  • You provide the dog's normal food so that there is little likeliehood of tummy troubles
  • We do not normally let the dogs off the lead when walking so no danger of loss

All of our carers are experienced, dedicated dog lovers who will ensure that your precious animals are given every bit of love, care and attention that they are used to receiving at home.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Phone Call Today - Distressed Owner

I took an enquiry from the owner of a young Alaskan Malamute today who wanted to book her in for a short stay with one of our carers.  This will be only the second time she has boarded her when they've gone away.

The previous occasion she was boarded in an excellent local boarding facility. Even though these kennels come highly recommended she told me that she would never, ever consider putting her in kennels again.

When I enquired why this was she told me that the dog had lost so much weight her hip bones were sticking up and her back bone was very prominent.  She was also very tired and listless.  She had lost hair around her mouth and it looked sore which had worried the lady.  I explained that it was probably stress that had caused her to constantly lick her lips.

Another more embarrassing thing was that she had started to mount other dogs and children if they knelt down.  This was a new behaviour and was frightening her grandchildren.  Again this is a sign of stress as is losing weight; the dog was probably so terrified that she could barely eat.

We have decided to board her dog with a lovely family with a couple of teenagers and no pets.  They all love dogs; having previously had a Labrador who they lost to cancer a year ago.  The wife doesn't work so can give all the care,attention and exercise that the Malamute needs.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Do You Worry That Your Dog May Forget You Whilst You Are Away?

Many dog owners worry that when they go away for a holiday and leave their dog either in home boarding or kennels, their dog will forget them.  

A greater worry for some owners is that if the dog has been boarded in a family setting it will not want to come home at the end of its stay.  

There are those who say that dogs have no memory but all owners of dogs will know that this is absolutely not true.  

Dogs have long enough memories to not forget their owners even after quite long absences.  This will be demonstrated when you return from your time away.

I am sure that this knowledge will not do anything to reassure an anxious dog owner, so the best that can be done would be to recommend certain measures to make being forgotten less likely.  

Here are some suggestions: 
  • Send the dog on it's holidays with an old recently worn jumper of yours
  • Provide the carer or kennels with toys from home
  • Ask the carer to use the animals own feeding bowls
  • Send the dog's bed and bedding 
Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell; some 100,000 times more acute than that of humans.  He will recognise your smell and the smells of home.

101 Friends will always recommend that you take the above measures when you bring your dog to stay with one of our carers; as much for your peace of mind as the well-being of the dog.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How to Spot That Your Dog Has Been Stressed in Kennels

So you've been away and had a great holiday.  You return to pick the dog up from the kennels and she's so excited to see you that she's almost hysterical.  That in itself is understandable since she hasn't seen you for a fortnight.

You notice that she has lost a bit of weight and wonder why.  When you return home you find that every time you leave the room the dog whines, barks and whimpers.  Her voice is hoarse and she might cough quite a bit.  She follows you everywhere and if you go out of the house for any length of time she may do uncharacteristic damage to furniture and doors by scratching and chewing. She could also begin to wee or poo indoors whilst you are out. When you return she is overly fussy and takes a long time to calm down.

All these things are signs of your dog having been suffering from anxiety and stress whilst you were on holiday.  You wonder if the cough and hoarseness is due to constant barking and whining and your assumption is probably right.  She could have been doing exactly that for the majority of the time you were away.  Her weight loss is probably due to not eating and the scratching and chewing is probably because she is trying to get out of the house to follow you.  The incontinence is also more than likely due to separation anxiety.

Why does this happen in some dogs?  All dogs have their own personality just like children do.  Imagine the reaction of a shy child who has never been away from home, if  you left it in an alien environment with a lot of strange, scary, unruly other children. The child would be terrified; it would not know when or if you were ever going to return.  That is probably how the dog feels too.

Anxiety in Dogs Boarded in Kennels

Research shows that even well-adjusted dogs can become anxious when confronted with the noise, smell and unfamiliar surroundings of boarding kennels.

Little wonder really when you consider that it is a completely different environment and routine to that which the animal is accustomed.

If you must put your dog in kennels rather than using the dog friendly alternative of home boarding, then try to minimise his anxiety by taking familiar things from home with him.

Person Specification for being a Dog Carer for 101 Friends

  1. First and foremost you MUST be a genuine dog lover
  2. Your garden must be secure and escape proof
  3. Preferably you should own no cats
  4. You may have a dog of your own but you will get more work if you haven't
  5. You must have personal experience of dogs - either owning or working with
  6. You must be at home for most of the day. Dogs cannot be left more than 3 hrs
  7. You should not mind the inevitable 'accidents' that sometimes occur 
  8. You will be available throughout school holiday periods - our busiest time
  9. There should be no children under 5 years in the household
  10. You should be active enough to walk the dogs at least twice a day
You will be looking after the dog or dogs (if from the same family) in your own home.  You will be given a care sheet so that you know the dog's normal routine and you should stick as closely to this as possible. You will not have to provide food as the owner will bring his food - in the event of you having to buy extra you will be reimbursed provided you keep the receipt.  The dog's owner will also bring his/her bedding, toys, collar and lead. 

You will be paid a nominal fee for the privilege of looking after the dog. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and you can specify a preference for which breeds you would like to look after.  In addition, you will always get to meet the dog and its owner before taking it on.

Contact us via the website

Monday, 11 November 2013


101 Friends for Every Dog - South Yorkshire are currently recruiting for self employed dog carers in the following postcodes of South Yorks and North Notts: 

S6    Hillsborough & surrounding areas
S20  Beighton & surrounding areas
S25  Dinnnington & surrounding areas
S26  Kiveton & surrounding areas
S66  Maltby & surrounding areas
S74  Hoyland & surrounding areas

Would you like to care for a dog in your own home while the owners are away? The dog would come to stay with you for a short stay. You will always be able to meet the dog and his owners before committing.

The payment is only nominal! The school holidays are the busiest times but we have some dogs at all times of year. You tell me when you are available.

You need to have some experience of dogs and be at home most of the time when a dog is staying with you.  

Contact us via the website

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Some Dogs are Not Suited to Kennel Life

Some dogs are simply not suited to kennel life.  Very young or elderly dogs, those with special diets or medication - dogs of a nervous disposition or with other special needs may be more suited to an individual carer than to boarding kennels.

With a service such as 101 Friends for Every Dog, owners can go away without having to worry about the well-being of their pet. They can take their well deserved holiday relaxed in the knowledge that their dog is safe and happy.

The dog gets all the love, care and attention that he would at home.  His feeding, play and walking schedule will be adhered to as closely as possible. He will have his own toys, bedding and usual treats with him at his holiday home.

Members and their dogs are always introduced to their carer before the booking commences.

My Dog Dislikes Kennels - A Common Theme

In the months that I have been operating 101 Friends for Every Dog in South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire a common theme in many of the enquiries I receive is that some dogs return home from boarding kennels in a traumatised state.

A great deal of owners simply either stop going away on holiday or find somewhere that will allow them to take their dog.

Here is a little poem from the main website:

I love my dog 
And my dog loves me
But I need a holiday
And so does he

I've rarely been away before
I thought I couldn't go
If I thought he would suffer
The answer would be no

Now I know he has a friend
A friend who loves him so
That I can have a holiday
In sunshine or in snow

His friend has made it easy
For me to slip away
I'll have a happy holiday
And he'll have days of play

I love my dog 
And my dog loves me
But I need a holiday
And so does he

Membership of 101 Friends for Every Dog

Maggie a members dog

In order to use the facilities of 101 Friends home boarding club, dog owners are required to become members.

The life membership fee is a very reasonable £10.00.  This is a one-off, never to be repeated fee.

Being a member of 101 Friends means that you are almost always guaranteed a place for your dog(s) when you want to go away.