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Dogs enjoy vacationing in kennels: canines can find short stays 'exciting'

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A recent study by British researchers, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, indicates that dogs really do enjoy short vacations; and kennel stays with the change of scenery and new smells and experiences can be enjoyed by dogs reported The Daily Mail.

A research experiment involving 29 privately owned dogs suggest that dogs enjoy short vacations away from their homes as much as we humans do when we take a week off to relax in Cape Cod. The study contradicts earlier research which stated that dogs become extremely stressed when kenneled or boarded while their families are absent.

The study rated a range of stress symptoms including skin dryness, nose temperature, body temperatures, and the amount of food eaten. It also observed the dogs' behaviors related to stress habits; lip licking, paw lifting, yawning, shaking, and restlessness.

Accompanying the obvious symptoms, stress hormones, corticosteroids, and adrenaline levels were also monitored.

So how did the dogs score? Amazingly, the dogs were more active at kennels in venues where they can interact with other dogs; dogs were less stressed, and overall were quite aroused and excited. In other words, dogs just like to have fun.

According to Dr Lisa Collins, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK:

"Many owners find leaving their dog at a boarding kennels a stressful experience. However, this study suggests that although dogs appeared to have a higher level of overall arousal or excitement in kennels compared with their state at home, this arousal is not necessarily due to dogs experiencing kennels as negatively stressful.

The emotional reasons for the behavioural and physiological responses of the dogs were ambiguous and no definitive evidence was found to suggest that dogs were negatively stressed by kennelling."

The studies did indicate the dogs involved in the short term kenneling experiences were supervised and provided with stimulating and fun activities where the dogs interacted with humans and other dogs. Doggy playgrounds and enrichment programs were provided. The dogs were not just left in a kennel cage for the duration of their stay.

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