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My doggy is not the same after going to a boarding home

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As a devoted pet owner, witnessing changes in your furry friend’s behavior after returning from a boarding home can be distressing. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the multifaceted world of canine psychology to understand why dogs may not be the same after going to a boarding home. We’ll explore the myriad factors contributing to behavioral changes and offer practical strategies to help your beloved companion readjust and thrive.

Understanding the Boarding Experience

Boarding homes serve as temporary shelters for pets when their owners are away, but for dogs, these environments can evoke a spectrum of emotions. The abrupt separation from their owners, coupled with the unfamiliar surroundings and the presence of unfamiliar dogs, can induce stress and anxiety in even the most resilient canines. Furthermore, changes in routine, diet, and sleeping arrangements can disrupt the delicate balance of a dog’s daily life, exacerbating their distress.


Within the confines of a boarding home, dogs may experience a range of stressors, from the cacophony of barking to the confinement of a kennel or run. For highly social animals accustomed to the comfort of home, the lack of human companionship and familiar surroundings can be particularly unsettling. Moreover, the absence of their primary caregiver, coupled with the uncertainty of when they will return, can amplify feelings of abandonment and anxiety.

Common Behavioral Changes

The manifestations of stress and anxiety in dogs can vary widely, ranging from subtle shifts in demeanor to overt displays of distress. Common behavioral changes include heightened agitation, manifested through incessant pacing, panting, or whining. Dogs may exhibit changes in appetite or eating habits, either voraciously consuming their food or refusing to eat altogether. Some may become excessively vocal or clingy, seeking constant reassurance and companionship. Conversely, others may retreat into themselves, exhibiting signs of lethargy or withdrawal.


In more severe cases, dogs may exhibit aggressive behaviors, lashing out at humans or other animals in a misguided attempt to assert control over their environment. Fear-based responses, such as cowering or trembling, may also surface, signaling a profound sense of vulnerability and distress. Understanding these behavioral cues is crucial in identifying the underlying causes of a dog’s distress and implementing appropriate interventions.

Factors Contributing to Behavioral Changes

Several interrelated factors can contribute to behavioral changes in dogs after boarding, each playing a unique role in shaping their emotional well-being. The duration of their stay in the boarding home is a critical determinant, with longer stays often exacerbating feelings of isolation and anxiety. Similarly, the quality of care and environment provided by the boarding facility can significantly impact a dog’s experience, with overcrowded or understaffed facilities posing greater risks to their mental and emotional health.


Equally important is the individual temperament and personality of the dog, with some breeds being more predisposed to anxiety and stress than others. Dogs with a history of traumatic experiences or insufficient socialization may be particularly vulnerable to the challenges of boarding. Furthermore, underlying health issues or medical conditions, such as separation anxiety or gastrointestinal distress, can exacerbate feelings of unease and discomfort in dogs.

Coping Strategies for Owners

As a responsible pet owner, supporting your dog through the challenges of post-boarding adjustment requires patience, empathy, and proactive intervention. Creating a calm and reassuring environment at home is paramount, providing your furry friend with a safe haven in which to decompress and regain their equilibrium. Establishing a predictable routine, complete with familiar sights, sounds, and activities, can instill a sense of security and stability, helping to alleviate feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.


Gradual reintroduction to routine and familiar surroundings is essential in facilitating your dog’s transition from the boarding home to home life. Encouraging positive associations through interactive play, enrichment activities, and bonding exercises can help rebuild trust and confidence. Incorporating relaxation techniques, such as massage or aromatherapy, can further promote relaxation and emotional well-being. Moreover, enlisting the expertise of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can provide invaluable guidance in addressing specific behavioral challenges and implementing tailored intervention strategies.

Case Studies

To illustrate the complexities of post-boarding adjustment in dogs, let’s consider a series of hypothetical case studies. In Case A, a young Labrador retriever named Max returns home from a two-week boarding stint exhibiting signs of extreme agitation and fearfulness. Through consistent, patient intervention, Max’s owners gradually reintroduce him to his routine, incorporating calming activities such as daily walks and interactive play sessions. Over time, Max’s confidence and demeanor improve, and he returns to his vibrant, playful self.


In Case B, a senior Pomeranian named Bella experiences severe separation anxiety after boarding, manifesting in destructive behaviors and incessant vocalization. Recognizing the urgency of Bella’s distress, her owners consult with a certified animal behaviorist, who devises a comprehensive behavior modification plan tailored to her unique needs. Through a combination of desensitization exercises, positive reinforcement training, and anxiety management techniques, Bella learns to cope with her anxiety more effectively, fostering a greater sense of security and well-being.


In conclusion, changes in a dog’s behavior after going to a boarding home are not uncommon and can be attributed to a myriad of factors. By understanding the underlying causes of these behavioral changes and implementing proactive coping strategies, pet owners can support their furry companions through the challenges of post-boarding adjustment. Through patience, empathy, and unwavering commitment, we can ensure that our beloved canine companions feel safe, secure, and cherished, both during their time away and upon their return home.

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