Take it from someone who has managed a kennel that had over 200 dogs a time. FYI, this might hurt your feelings....
1. It's all about you:
Nine out of ten times the anxiety a dog experiences is caused by the owner freaking out about leaving their dog, not the dog freaking out about being in a kennel. Out of the thousands of dogs I checked in, only a handful ever fretted once the owner left. In fact, they flourished in a kennel situation because they have a routine and know what to expect and when. It is a very stable environment for them.
2. Their undesirable behaviour at home is rarely their behaviour in a kennel:
Your dog actually may overcome any social or behavioural problems with other dogs if kept in a kennel for a longer period. Dogs that we were warned of being unsociable or unable to mix, usually ended up being matched with a buddy for run time and do really well.Also after a day or two any growling or "guarding" between enclosures disappeared and was replaced with excitement seeing other dogs old or new coming into the kennels. Any dogs who are destructive often reduce or even stop completely their behaviour due to the strict routines followed and their anxiety and attention seeking significantly reduces.
3. Bringing your own bedding and toys in is not the best idea:
Often owners like to think that their doggy needs this toy and that special blankie or a yummy pig ear. Firstly, dogs get jealous and one dog having something that another can't and this can cause dog fights. Secondly, in the kennels I worked in we provided all bedding that was washed between dogs. This meant that no one could bring in flea infested bedding or make the kennels dirty and it cut down on time so that we could spend it giving the dogs attention. It almost meant that any bed destruction was at our own risk and no owners came back to a shredded $200 dog bed.
3. Flea treat your dog before going in:
Kennels will generally not be checking your dog over for fleas and cannot tell you that your dog won't get fleas going in unless they have a strict "wash on the way in and wash on the way out" policy. Prevention is always better.
4. Don't get offended about signing a death/injury waiver:
This is a business thing that just has to be done. Obviously you want to choose a good kennel that has all your vets details and you might choose to leave instructions on action you want taken should your pet become ill and you cannot be contacted, however like everything else putting your pet in boarding is at your own risk. Of course they will do everything in their power to make sure your dog is ok but sadly sometimes there are circumstances beyond their control.
5. Don't screw up your face about being charged for extras:
Like with all businesses, time is money. Kennels like to streamline the day so the dogs get as much time out of their individual pens as possible and they can operate efficiently at full capacity. Going back and forth to scoop out special dog food, administer medications or take an individual dog out for some one on one time slows this process down.You are expecting these people to provide care for your dog above what someone else is getting and to have enough staff to do it properly, so it is not unreasonable to pay for it.
6. Boarding your dog is so much safer than having someone drop in to feed or walk your dog:
Firstly at a kennel your dogs are being checked around the clock. They probably have charts and are able to get hold of a vet very quickly if something goes wrong. If the dog is at home, they can eat something they shouldn't, get stuck in a fence or tip over their water long before somebody notices. Don't let the "cage" thing be your deciding factor in boarding your dog as it provides a safe and monitored place and is only a temporary home.
7. They can still get kennel cough:
Any kennel should demand your dog be up to date with vaccinations and you should get this done approx 2 weeks before boarding them if they become out of date. This does not mean that your dog is immune to kennel cough. It means that if they do get it, that it is a lot less severe and not life threatening. Dogs can be carriers for a few days before any signs of kennel cough arise so it is not always easy to identify and isolate a affected dog before it spreads. Usually some Benadryl dry cough mixture is used to make the dog comfortable but always check with the vet first.