Is your dog aggressive after boarding? Don’t worry; this is a common consequence of dog boarding that many pet parents don’t talk about for a few reasons. Learn the reasons your dog is aggressive after boarding and what to do about it.
Dog Aggressive After Boarding: Why It Happens
You’ve picked up your furry friend from the boarding kennel, and he/she is just not the same. Instead of being that calm, lovable furball that he/she was before being dropped off, your pup is mean and aggressive. What happened?
If your dog has been at the boarding facility for a week or more, it’s enough time for your pup to learn how to behave aggressively from other dogs. Aggressive dogs are emotionally traumatic to dogs at a boarding kennel, especially when they are already stressed.
The good news is that when aggressive behavior is learned, it can be unlearned and usually in a short time. Since the exposure to aggressive dogs was temporary, a little training that dog aggression is not appropriate can turn your dog back to his/her lovable self.
We talk about this more in this article: Barrier Aggression in Shelter Dogs
Small Dog Aggression
When large dogs and small dogs are near each other, small dogs can sometimes become aggressive because they feel threatened. That aggression can come home with them even though the large dogs did not.
Give your furry friend some time to recover from having to defend him/herself. In time, the aggression will likely subside.
If your pup has not stayed in a boarding kennel before or if this is a new one, aggression can be a trauma response. It’s a sign that your furry friend went through a stressful time and is now fighting back.
The best way to resolve the aggressive behavior, in this case, is to give your furry friend a lot of love. This will help your dog feel as though he/she has not been left and can trust that if you go away again, you’ll be back to love on him/her again.
Unkempt Boarding Kennels
Dog aggression often comes from fear. That fear can originate from feeling vulnerable or threatened in some way. If your pup has been living in an unclean boarding kennel, which he/she is not used to, it can affect his/her behavior greatly.
Before boarding your dog at the same facility again, check in to make sure they haven’t changed the way they are cleaning and keeping up with the care of the boarding kennels.
If the boarding facility allows dogs to play together, there may have been a fight with aggressive dogs that caused an injury. It’s not always obvious when a dog gets injured, which is why the facility may not have said anything about it.
Examine your pup for any lost fur, which may have been pulled out during a dog fight. Put your hands on sensitive areas of your dog such as legs, paws, and stomach to see if there is any flinching. Try to move your dog’s legs, tail, ears, and head to also check for flinching.
If you suspect there is any injury at all, contact the veterinarian to discuss anything found during the examination. It may also be a good idea to let your vet know of your dog’s behavior for advice on what else to do with your newly aggressive dog.
The next time you board your dog, let the dog boarding facility know what happened. Many places offer individual playtime, and that may be better for your pup.
When dogs get together at a boarding kennel or doggy daycare setting, illness can result. Kennel cough, dog flu, and other viruses are common, despite vaccination requirements for those environments.
If your dog’s aggression is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Diarrhea (When Is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?)
- Lack of Appetite
Contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment to identify what illness may be causing your pup to be unhappy and aggressive.
Another cause of dog aggression is anxiety. Separation anxiety is quite common in dogs and even if your dog didn’t have it before boarding, it can happen at any time. In short, your dog is scared you’re going to leave him/her in a boarding kennel again.
Unfortunately, separation anxiety can lead to destructive behavior in many dogs. Your dog may attack the door when you leave the home now or rip up your personal possessions.
This dog behavior can be corrected with dog training. Although, the anxiety may need to be resolved with medication or a calming supplement such as CBD. You can learn more about CBD for dogs on Dog Ownership Guide here: How Much CBD for Dog with Anxiety
Dog Aggressive After Boarding? A Trainer Can Help!
Since your pup is exhibiting an aggressive response now, you may need to turn to professional dog training for help. A dog trainer will be able to determine what may have caused your dog’s behavior.
It is important to resolve the issues that have caused aggressive dog behavior. Aggressive dogs are dangerous to pet owners and society. It’s not the dog’s fault, but it is the responsibility of the dog owner to do something about it.
If dog training isn’t in your budget, you may want to consider some of the products for aggressive dogs that we recommend.
Ways to Prevent Aggression Reoccurrence
Once your pup returns to his/her happy, calm, and secure self, you’ll want to ensure the aggressive behavior doesn’t return. These tips should prevent that from happening.
- Request that the dog boarding facility provides individual attention to your pup next time. This may mean giving your dog a little more love during the stay.
- Search for a new boarding facility. Your dog may not like staying at the boarding facility you have chosen, even if he/she has stayed there before. Facilities change over time so the one you’ve used for a while may not be the best option anymore.
- If the facility is a new environment for your dog next time, be sure to visit it a couple of times before boarding. This can help your pup grow comfortable there so it won’t be so traumatic.
- Consider a pet sitter instead of a dog boarding facility next time. A pet sitter will care for your dog at home, which may be much less stressful for your pup. In addition to individual attention, the pet sitter can ensure your dog isn’t around aggressive dogs. This can be difficult at a boarding facility since kennels are often side-by-side. Your dog won’t have to deal with the stress of being around new people either.
- Consider supplementing with CBD for dogs. CBD oil can lower anxiety and improve overall health. Learn more about it here: Does CBD Help with Dog Aggression? and Best CBD for Dog Aggression
- If your dog has become ill from the stay and the boarding facility didn’t require the kennel cough or dog flu vaccinations, you may want to speak to your local vet about getting them.
How to Find Alternative Options for Boarding
If you’re going to board your dog again and want to either find a new boarding facility or a pet sitter, the following tips can help you find one.
- Contact the local vet to ask for recommendations.
- Start using a dog walker while you’re at work. There are many apps that connect you with dog walkers in your area. Those dog walkers often provide pet-sitting services as well.
- Contact all of the boarding facilities in your area and ask for information such as:
- What the boarding rates are for a stay
- If there is a group or individual playtime
- If dogs receive individual attention
- If the boarding kennels are next to each other, which would put aggressive and non-aggressive dogs in close proximity
- What their protocol is for aggressive dogs
The goal is to find a dog boarding facility that provides the best care to your pup while you’re away. Ask as many questions as needed, so you know in your gut that your dog will receive the care, attention, and peace needed to handle the stress of you being away from him/her.