My dog is a socially awkward penguin. Where can we board her overnight in Seattle?
December 14, 2012 8:26 AM   Subscribe

What are some good dog boarding/kennel services in Seattle (or, even better, on the Eastside) that will know how handle my sweet but incredibly nervous and poorly socialized dog?

My husband and I adopted a dog from an animal shelter in early 2012 (pictures because aww), and while she's sweet and cuddly to my family and friends and does okay with most people, she goes nuts around other dogs. We're trying to socialize her, but it's a slow process; we think she was abused before we had her and has a tendency to feel threatened in various situations. She alternates between full-body trembling and fear-based aggressive growling.

We had a kennel we loved in Austin, TX, who knew how to handle her well and really didn't have trouble with her (she even seemed to like the experience!), but I'm having difficulty finding one in the Bellevue/Redmond/Kirkland or Seattle areas that will work for us. Either I can only find daytime "pet sitting" services--we need an overnight service for an upcoming trip--or services that won't take dogs with behavioral problems. Others seem to fit the bill but have reviews that suggest they're not as into reward-based treatment as I'd like.

The one place we found that sounded okay was this vet, but we'd have to take pick her up on a Sunday, as they don't allow pickups on Saturday. :( That's more time away from our dog than is necessary and a waste of money.

So...any good places you guys can recommend? Bonus points if they're good at socializing her while we're away.

Thanks ahead of time!
posted by iamfantastikate to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
I don't live in Seattle so I can't help with specific recommendations, but I have a nervous and difficult dog so I deal with this all the time. We've actually found good dog-sitters on - just make sure they're experienced with "special dogs" and if you are worried about biting, that they're insured. Another possibility is to ask local vets if their vet techs do any dog-sitting. I was surprised to find that many do, and vet techs are obviously very experienced at dealing with all kinds of dogs.

Some totally unsolicited advice - it sounds like her fear and anxiety issues might be interfering with her (and your) quality of life. My nervous pup has done extremely well with a combination of training and medication, which is generally generic/cheap and safe. I've had great success with Fluoxetine (Reconcile) and clomipramine (Clomicalm) for both my dog and foster dogs with various issues. It can make behavior modification more effective and can often be temporary while the dog learns new habits/emotions. Just a thought.

Good luck and congrats on rescuing such a gorgeous pup!
posted by walla at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2012

I board my dog at Redwood Animal Hospital in Redmond and she does great there. She doesn't get along well with other dogs either, but never comes home traumatized from boarding.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2012

Best answer: Have you looked into Your dog can be housed in someone's (or even your!) home and you can dictate exactly the treatment he needs/deserves. The prices are generally pretty reasonable, too. I investigated the service while I was in DC (and have acquaintance who is a sitter) and was impressed with the concept and execution.
posted by Flamingo at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

We have a pet walker who also boards our dog with her in her own nearby home when we are gone. It works wonderfully: they adore each other. This requires some looking and a person you can really trust but it is worth it. I'd suggest checking Seattle CitySearch.

Our fallback when our pet walker/sitter is unavailable -- she is now in hot demand with other families in our area -- is a housesitter. I've snagged house sitters from graduate schools at the UW, and I bet Bellevue Community College or whatever its current name is might be a good option. Of course you will want to meet this person and assess their trustworthiness and pet-ability with your adorable pup.

Be really careful to check references.
posted by bearwife at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2012

Great Dog Daycare in Northgate has done well by my dear friend's dogs for over a decade now.
posted by matildaben at 9:29 AM on December 14, 2012

Try UpwardDogWalker. They provide dog-sitting service in your own home, including overnights if you want. That way, no need to board your girl with other dogs.
posted by parrot_person at 9:30 AM on December 14, 2012

Best answer: Throwing in DogVacay as a solution here. They have a really thorough vetting process for their hosts and you get to arrange whatever level of check-in you guys both feel comfortable with. Basically AirBnB for dogs hosted by people who love doing it.
posted by milqman at 9:34 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really liked Downtown Dog Lounge when I lived in Seattle. There's one in Capitol Hill and one near Fremont. Your dog meets with a trainer for a quick screening to see if she'd be a good fit. They were always available at a moment's notice and have webcams 24/7, which I appreciated.
posted by coolsara at 9:40 AM on December 14, 2012

My dog is similarly nuts around other dogs (well, in his case he just has to go play with them or his head will explode). Boarding at a well-reviewed and expensive kennel didn't go so well. Thanks to a suggestion on AskMe, we used DogVacay when we needed him boarded again and were super happy with the person we found to take care of him - and so was my dog! I'm hoping that we can use her services for years to come and would not hesitate to recommend DogVacay.
posted by halogen at 10:06 AM on December 14, 2012

Oh, and the kennel where my dog was previously boarded made an exception for their pick up policy and had an employee meet me go get him after-hours straight from the airport. It wouldn't hurt to call and ask.
posted by halogen at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2012

seconding Downtown Dog Lounge. The webcams are great, and they give you lots of pooch shwag.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, I'm glad I asked! Thanks for the recommendations, everyone! I've got a lot of research and calling around to do, it seems! :) There are a lot of places mentioned here that I wasn't finding.

Will come back later and mark the answer whose rec we ended up going with; will probably also return after the 28th with a review for others to go by.
posted by iamfantastikate at 12:50 AM on December 15, 2012

Response by poster: Ultimately had to take our dog to the original kennel, due to other places being booked up or having various other issues. She did okay at Factoria, and the people there all seemed nice and professional, but she obviously would do much better in a more personal environment. I really liked the way DogVacay functioned, and we think we'll go with someone through them next time; Rover was good, too, though the site was more annoying to use.
posted by iamfantastikate at 12:37 PM on December 31, 2012

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