What is home boarding for dogs?

Dog Home Boarding - Scamps & Champs

Home boarding for dogs involves your dog going to stay at someone’s home whilst you are away. That means they become part of the hosts family for that period of time enjoying the comfort of a family home.

In 2018, new legislation was introduced which means dog boarders must obtain a licence from their council to home board dogs. This should provide reassurance when looking for dog home boarders as the Council have strict criteria for boarders to be approved.

How does it work?

Usually the dog home boarding company will offer you a meet and greet with the host family they match your requirements to. This is a great chance to take your dog to the host families home and discuss your dog and their quirks! You can also see first hand how your dog is in a new environment with new people. As usual, gut instinct can be a big influence here.

You can also ask the home boarding company if there is an option to book an overnight trial stay with the home boarder. Most companies will be more than happy to do this, but there may be a fee for the stay. This will give you peace of mind prior to booking a big stay away for your dog.

Will there be other dogs there?

This depends on the policies of the boarding company. Some home boarders may have their own dog(s) which is why the meet and greet is so important to check everyone gets on. At Scamps and Champs, we only ever board one families dogs at a time. We feel this adds an extra level of protection against any problems with dogs getting along.

There are also boarders without dogs if your dog is more suited to being the only dog around.

What does my dog need when going to a home boarder?

Try and think through your dogs daily routine and pack anything associated with this. Here is a basic (not exhaustive list):

  • Bed/blankets
  • Lead
  • Water bowl
  • Food bowl
  • Food
  • Toys
  • Favourite comforter
  • Towels (for those muddy walks!)

What will my dog do whilst I am away?

If the match is right, your dog will settle in to the host families home and become ‘their dog’ for the period of time you are away. The home boarder will try to keep your dogs routine as close to normal as possible to ensure a smooth transition. Your dog will get their usual walks and lots of fuss and cuddles if they’d like it (a boarders favourite thing!).

Once settled, a good host should send you regular updates and feedback about your dogs stay so you can relax knowing they are well cared for.

What if there is an emergency with my dog?

Whilst we don’t like to imagine the awful situation of our dog becoming unwell whilst we aren’t around, good boarding companies should prepare for this. This should be part of the initial paperwork when you can leave details of your veterinary practice and who to contact in emergency if you aren’t contactable. Boarders would always act in your dogs best interests and contact you where possible.

Anything else to know?

Home boarding is constantly increasing in it’s popularity, and with the rise in people getting pets during the lockdown period, if you have specific dates in mind and want to secure a good home boarder, book as early as possible.

Hiring a dog walker?

Dog Walking Derby - Scamps & Champs

During the past year, dog ownership has increased by a huge amount. Lots of households have taken advantage of the home working to introduce a new puppy/dog into the family. Despite there being a lot of downsides to this pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, more time at home to welcome a new furry family member is definitely one of the positives.

With restrictions due to ease further in the coming months and companies looking for employees to physically return to work, even if on a part time basis, dog owners now need to consider their new family member and how they fit into a normal working lifestyle. If you will be out at work for most of the day, you may need to consider getting a dog walker. Despite sounding like a daunting task, the right dog walker can help your weekly routine run as smoothly as it is doing now. There are things to consider when hiring a dog walker and we’ve outlined some below:

Group and solo walks

A consideration is whether your dog would prefer a solo walk – just a walk by themselves, or whether they may enjoy the company of other dogs on their walk. If this is the case, ask the dog walker how many dogs they walk at one time. Whilst it’s nice for your dog to have company, too may dogs walked in one go means your dog may not get the care and attention they deserve.

Meet and greet

Make sure any potential walker offers to come and meet you and your dogs first. This is a great way to see how they interact with your dog and to as any questions you may have. Good walkers would offer this as a standard and not shy away from any questions. Always trust your gut with this meeting, it’s almost always right!

Flexibility

Check with any potential walkers how flexible they are – can they fit walks in as and when you need them or do they require a regular commitment? How do you book walks? Do they have a booking system or is it just a quick text/phone call to book?

Reliability

What happens if your walker is ill, has to self isolate or is on holiday? Is there a back up plan in place? You need to know that if you have booked a walk and your walker should become ill, that an alternative option could be provided to save changing your work arrangements.

Trustworthiness

Is your walker insured? Dog walking is so far an unregulated business area so anyone and everyone can set up a dog walking business! Have they been police checked? Remember that you are probably going to be trusting this person with a key to your home so you need to trust this person.

Area of walks

Where will the walker walk your dog? Do they walk around your local area or do they use a vehicle to take them to a local park? If your dog doesn’t travel well, this is definitely something to consider.

Follow up

Ask if your walker gives you any feedback following the walks. It’s always great to receive a quick message ‘Barney had a great walk today!’ along with a picture whilst you aren’t there. This means you can relax and move on with your day knowing your dog has had a good walk.

Here at Scamps and Champs, we are passionate about dogs and their daily exercise. While we are a national brand, we have small local teams in each area so you get the best of both! Get in touch if you want to find out how we meet the above points, and ask us any other questions you may have!

Dog Theft

Dog Theft - Scamps & Champs

Although an ongoing problem, dog theft reports are on the increase. The thought of losing a pet is heart-breaking at the best of times, but to have them stolen must be pure torment not knowing what has happened to them.
There are some things you can do to reduce the chance of your dog being stolen. Below are some tips to keep you and your dogs safe.

Keep your dog visible at all times

Make sure you can see your dog at all times. When you are out in public make sure you know where they are, and don’t risk lead free time if your dog can’t be trusted.

Ensure your garden is secure

Only leave your dog in your garden if it is secure. It’s worth checking fences for gaps and getting gates put in to keep your dog enclosed. You don’t want them to be able to escape, or anyone to get into your garden easily.

Never leave dogs in the car

Despite this being a health risk to your dog when it is warmer weather, if you leave your dog in your car with the windows down then they are an easy target to thieves. It would only take a few seconds to steal your dog

Don’t leave your dog outside shops etc

It is a common sight to see a dog tied up outside shops/Post Offices etc whilst owners go in to grab some shopping etc. Try to avoid taking your dog if you know you need to pop into a shop, as thieves would view this as an easy opportunity to steal your dog whilst you are out of sight.

Report any incidents

If you see any suspicious behaviour or people come up to you and start asking strange questions about your dog, report it. You never know, you may prevent an incident from happening by doing so!

Use caution with strangers

Be wary of anyone who comes to your front door, or admires your dog in the park. Beware of distraction techniques used by those looking to steal dogs – maybe asking to hold your dog, or take photos with them.

Identification

Ensure your dog has a collar with an ID tag on it. Put your surname and phone number. Get your dog microchipped and state on their tag that they are microchipped.

Do thorough checks before employing a dog walker/pet sitter

Always do a background check on any potential pet sitters. At Scamps and Champs, we do thorough checks of anyone joining our team, including a police check and a reference check. As a profession company, we invite clients to ask about our rigorous checks for team members, be wary of sitters/walkers who shy away from checks/documentation.

Fit Alarms/Bells

Consider getting alarms installed or bells fitted to your garden gates so that they will alert you to any intruders. This might also deter any potential dog thieves.

Stay alert everyone and keep your fur babies safe.