Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Why not jumpt at long term board?

Several people have responded that the potential of having 2 dogs board with us for 4 months the first day that we would open would be a fantastic thing. Yes, it could be. A very good, predictable start to every day - the appearance that we have lots of customers right off the bat, etc. A sizeable boost to the cash flow on day one.

But there are some real risks of doing this as well, and I wasn't sure really how to balance them out. In fact, I wasn't really aware of what all of the risks were. So I posted our first message to the doggie day care message board we've recently found and were following along with. This is a group of 1200 dog daycare (DDC) owners all sharing their questions and experiences with each other.

Their responses were of course varied as well, but almost unanimously they agreed no one should take in a boarder, much less a long term boarder, without having had an evaluation time with the dogs. Frankly, if they can't be integrated into the daytime play groups, then they would be miserable, making us miserable. We'd anticipated that and had mentioned to the owner that they'd need to spend a day with us here even if we weren't open yet. Though someone else suggested we take them to the dog park to see their interaction with other dogs - that was one that hadn't occured to me.

Beyond that, I heard a number of anecdotal stories about german shepards in general, saying that as a breed they tend to get easily over stimulated. Several people say they can only let the shepards out for a hour or so at a time and then need to put them away so that they can calm down. Keeping a schedule such as this seems to prevent them from becoming basket cases in the afternoons.

Of course my initial concern was what if the dogs didn't work out with us in the first month, how would the owner be able to relocate them from out of state. So we were going to insist she had a backup kennel. But what I hadn't thought of that was mentioned on list was what if the dogs got sick? The stress of boarding can take undue toll on dogs, and we do not have any ability to quarantine dogs yet. And it is doubtfull that a backup kennel would be able to help in that situation.

In anycase, we haven't heard back from the woman, even though we responded to her email that same day. So - may just chalk this one up to experience gathering.



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