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Going away for this Christmas holiday and wondering where do leave your dog? After too many years of lockdowns and missed holidays, many people are going away this holiday period. This increased level of demand for a well-deserved break means many dog owners are needing accommodation for their pets, at the same time!

In this article, we will look at the many options available to your dog whilst you are away, and share tips for making the most of your dog boarding choice.

Here are some different options to consider when looking for accommodation for your dog:

Boarding Kennels

As a traditional choice, each Australian state has some great boarding kennel options but it is important to note, some kennels are better than others. To determine a dog boarding kennel (and detect a bad one). 

  • Ask to inspect the premiss ahead of time, most good kennels should allow this. If not, you have to ask yourself why?! If you do ge a chance to inspect, pay close attention to cleanliness and overall setup including indoor and outdoor areas. 
  • Check the dog-to-staff ratio. There is no magic number here but you do want to ensure you are comfortable with the answer given.  
  • Dive into online reviews and be suspicious of any without a single negative review but wary of those with a lot! 
  • Consider your dog – whilst marketed as a one size fits all, boarding kennels are not suitable for highly anxious dogs. If this is your pet, please consider another option. 
  • Book early – the best kennels begin to fill up 3 -6 months ahead of holiday period so get in quick! 

As a Victorian Dog Trainer, I would recommend Rothwell Run and Homestead Pet Retreat.

Pet Sitters

A gig economy style of dog boarding

Apps such as Madpaws and Pawshake have become increasingly popular in the last few years and can be a good option for dogs with high needs or if you would prefer them in a home environment. As mentioned earlier, not all dogs will thrive in a boaring kennel environment. 

When selecting a pet sitter 

  • If possible choose a family member, colleague or friend. Someone your dog is familiar with will assist in a smooth handover and stay for both parties! 
  • If selecting an unknown sitter, arrange a pre-stay meet and greet and ensure any other pets they will have at the time of your dog’s stay are also available to meet. 

Board & Train

Often referred to as a doggy boot camp, this option is similar to a pet sitter but will offer the bonus of a qualified trainer addressing your dog’s behaviors whilst you lie poolside on holiday! Each provider operates differently but Focus On Dog Training’s Board & Train service offers multiple training sessions a day, follow-up support, and detailed handover. More info here. 

Some things to consider with board and train programs are: 

  • Price – due to the in-depth nature of training and the level of behavioural issues of some dogs, a board and train will often be the most expensive accommodation option for your dog. However, if you are time-poor and are going on holiday regardless bundling training and accommodation together could prove more effective than doing each separately. 
  • Time – Board and trains are recommended for extended periods to ensure the best results. 


Whatever choice you make for your dog this holiday period, we hope both you and your dog enjoy a well-deserved break.

And if you do decide to bring your dog on your next holiday, check out our post on camping with your dog.

Looking for more dog training tips? 

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