Home dog boarding tips for success

Home dog boarding tips for success

14/08/2021

What is home dog boarding?

Home dog boarding is a pet sitting service where your dog goes and stays overnight in a sitter's home. Unlike a boarding kennel, your pet stays in a home environment and receives personalised care like they would at home.

Dog on cushion

How much does home dog boarding cost?

Prices for home dog boarding in Australia can vary from about $15 per night to $85 per night, with each additional dog costing about $10 - $75 per night.

The price of home dog boarding can really vary depending on where you live and the services you expect. For example, boarding a puppy or older dog might cost a little more than a quiet adult dog. This is because extra work may be involved, such as toilet training or giving medication. Prices around Australia can vary from about $15 per night to $85 per night. Each additional dog might cost between $10 - $75 per night.

How do I find home dog boarding near me?

The best way to find home dog boarding near you is to visit the Pawshake website and enter your suburb into the search bar. This will display a number of local dog boarders who can board your dog overnight. From here, have a look at a few profiles and send a message to one or two pet sitters that look promising. Arrange to meet your pet sitter in person with your dog and, if all goes well, return to the website to make a booking.

Dog in tent

8 important topics to discuss before home dog boarding

It's essential that you meet and greet with a home dog boarding pet sitter to discuss their services before you agree to a booking. When you meet and greet, be sure to chat through the following important issues:

1) Your dog’s usual behaviour

Before arranging dog boarding, you must tell the sitter about your dog’s character traits in honest detail. As such, discuss the following:

  • Is your dog happy and energetic, or a little older?
  • What toys do they like?
  • How do they behave around children, other dogs or cats?
  • Does your dog have good leash manners?
  • Is your dog independent or a little shy?
  • Do they like car rides?
  • In what situations do they bark?
  • Do they like cuddles, or not so much?
  • Does your dog beg for food or get into the bin if you're not looking?
  • Do they sometimes chew things up?

2) What is a regular day for your dog?

Tell the dog sitter exactly what your dog’s daily routine is. By doing this, your dog sitter will be able to stick to your dog’s routine as closely as possible during the stay.

  • How often do you go for a walk, where, and at what time?
  • When is your dog is usually fed, what food do they get and how much?
  • Does your dog need daily medicine and how are they to administer it?
  • When does your dog sleep and when they are active?
  • Where do they sleep at night?
  • Can they be left at home on their own and for how long?

3) What is a regular day for your dog sitter?

Ask the dog sitter what their plans are during the booking period and all about the environment your dog will be staying in.

  • Do they have any activities planned during the day, and how does your dog fit in?
  • Will your dog have to be alone in the dog sitter’s home? For how long, and how do you feel about that?
  • Ask to see the areas where your dog will be boarding so that you can assess if it's the right environment for your dog.
  • Where will your dog be allowed to go and can they pick their own place to sleep?
  • Who else lives in the home, and who will come into contact with your dog?
  • Do they have any other pets, kids or housemates? Your dog needs to meet them first.

Even if you have an “easy” dog, a stay at somebody else’s home can be a little stressful. As such, make sure your dog will get enough attention during the home boarding stay.

Beagle with pet sitter

4) Chat about the dog sitter’s past experience

Ask the sitter for an overview of their past experience with dogs.

  • How many years of experience do they have?
  • Do they have experience boarding large dogs, small dogs, different breeds?
  • Do they often take care of pets?
  • What do they know about dog body language?
  • What would they do if your dog became stressed or afraid?

Ask away - the more you know about the dog sitter’s knowledge and experience, the better.

5) Discuss the rules during home dog boarding

It's important to go over boundaries and rules so that your dog sitter can be consistent with your dog.

Tell the sitter what cues your dog knows and let them practice with your dog. Reward your dog with a treat or praise if it works. Talk about the rules your dog knows from home and also the rules at the dog sitter’s home. Perhaps your dog is allowed on the couch at your place, but not at the dog sitters.

Dogs can cope just fine with different rules in different places, but they need time to learn the new set of rules. As such, a dog boarder should never punish a dog if they don't get it right away. Instead, show the dog what is expected by rewarding good behaviour instead of yelling at them.

6) Discuss dog walks with your dog sitter

Be sure to discuss the details of walks carefully if you want the dog sitter to take it on a walk during the stay.

Notably, be aware that your dog may behave unpredictably on a walk with the dog sitter. As such, we don't suggest allowing the dog sitter to let your dog off-leash in an open park. A responsible dog sitter puts a dog’s safety first and will only let a dog off in a safe and fenced area. Tell the dog sitter about your dog’s behaviour when outside, what they like and what they are afraid of.

As a dog sitter, are you planning on taking your dog to the park by car? Secure the dog in the car, either by using a travel crate (if the owner has one and leaves it with you) or a car harness. This is not just safer during the ride, it also prevents the dog from jumping out as soon as you open the door. Be aware that this is also a legal requirement for the dog's safety.

8) Have an emergency plan in place

It's essential to have a plan in place if the booking doesn't work out. The reason for this is that ANY dog can show unexpected behaviour when put into a strange situation, such as an overnight stay. They can show fear or stress, exhibit separation. They can also behave differently towards children and other dogs or even try to run away.

As such, it's important to ask the sitter how they would handle the situation - and of course, what you would expect them to do. If you want to know how your dog will behave when you’re away, book a trial home dog boarding stay for one night. And lastly, leave the contact details of an emergency backup (such as a friend or family member) just in case.

9) Lock-in logistics 

Discuss practical matters such as the drop-off, passing on your vet’s contact info and the dog’s vaccination details (and of course, make sure your dog is microchipped and registered beforehand). Set up clear expectations about how often you want your dog sitter to message you. At Pawshake, dog sitters are expected to send a message and picture every day to keep you updated.

10) Trust your instincts

Home dog boarding is all about being comfortable with your dog sitter. As a sitter, it’s important to have an honest and positive relationship with the owner. Be curious and open with each other. Why not print this article and take it along to the meet and greet? That way, you can tick everything off that you need to discuss and relax knowing that your dog is going to have a fun and safe stay.

Find home dog boarding in your area on Pawshake.