Meet and Greet does not work for Pet Boarding

You read reviews of a pet hotel or boarding service and want to try them out. Find out why a meet and greet session may not be the best option.

You've come across a pet hotel or boarding service you want to try out after reading reviews or seeing their social media. Some of them require a meet and greet session.

Find out why this is not the best option for you as a pet owner and for your pet.

Meet and greet is the time to physically know the people behind the service, place, and resident pets. It is always recommended to ask questions before setting up an appointment for the meet and greet. But there is only so much that you can ask and understand.

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The limitations of meet and greet

Meet and greet sessions average about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Within this period, you need to understand all you can about:

  • how your pet is in an unfamiliar environment?
  • can your pet mix well with the other pets?
  • what is the staff's behaviour like?
  • does everything match your expectations? etc

That is honestly a lot of things to know if the place or provider is suitable for your pet, especially if you plan to engage their services for a period of time. 

First impressions can be misleading

We all know that first impressions are important and there are so many factors that decide if that place or provider is suitable.

Our pets usually behave well at home but when exposed to a new environment and people, they may not act the same.

Especially dogs as they are naturally protective of their owner. Sometimes these behaviours are not acceptable by the staff as they can cause harm to others.

Even the staff's behaviour during the first encounter shapes our decision and perception of the service. Sometimes it is a turn-off. They may be having a bad day or simply not be at their best, which can create a negative impression.

Inadequate time for bonding

Not all pets become comfortable with a new caretaker immediately or even after an hour. It takes time to build trust. Sometimes that takes a day or two. Other times it takes weeks or months for pets to fully acclimatize.

Our pets need time to adjust and feel secure. Unfortunately, meet and greet sessions do rush this process.

Unnecessary stress and anxiety in meet and greet

During the meet and greet session, our pets may feel overwhelmed and not at ease. The new environment with unfamiliar smells and noises can increase the stress levels of a pet.

If there are other pets around, the pressure to socialize might trigger some anxiety. This tends to be the case for pets who are rarely exposed to other pets and people as they are socially awkward, shy, or skittish. 

Our pets also may start to show signs such as being protective, pacing, panting, or even hiding.

Alternatives to meet and greet

Meet and greet sessions while useful, are not the best. Here are some ways to have a less stressful and more pleasant experience to know if the provider and place are suitable for our pet.

Daycare session

As meet and greet sessions are too short and boarding is too long a period, daycare sits perfectly in the middle. This arrangement is more flexible and allows for more time for our pets to familiarise themselves with the place and people.

Daycare can be for an hour or two or a full session of 8 hours.

Frequent daycare sessions allow our pets to be more sociable. That helps to reduce their stress and anxiety when meeting new pets and people. 

This also trains our pets to be without us, be with others, and find the confidence to be independent in some form. 

If the outcome of the daycare is good, it's likely that the staff will accept your boarding request.

One-night boarding

To know if your pet is suitable to board at a place for a few days or weeks, sending them for a one-night boarding can be useful.

This can tell how comfortable are they with the place when the sky turns dark and the world becomes quieter.

Can they sleep comfortably in the wee hours of the morning or make a lot of noise and disturb the peace?

Some providers are not so worried about this as they're located in industrial areas where residences or other shops are not affected.

If the outcome of the daycare is good, it's likely that the staff will accept your boarding request.


Meet and greet sessions might be a popular option for service providers but you need to understand their limitations.
The short timeframe and unfamiliar environment can create unnecessary stress and anxiety for our pets. It can lead to misleading first impressions.
Consider alternatives such as daycare sessions or one-night boarding to allow your pet more time to adjust and build trust.

What works for one pet doesn't necessarily work for another, choose a provider that is understanding and takes the time with your pet. After all, they are our furbabies.

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