All home boarders (and boarding kennels) should be licensed by the local authority. Why not ring them up and ask for the list of licensed premises? You can also (under FOI request) require to see inspection reports which is very helpful too. I really don't understand why more Councils publish these lists on their websites - it would be helpful for dog owners.
We very occasionally (about once a year) put ours in to kennels - a good kennel will take care of your dog well. Many kennels offer a free "day stay" as a taster and to help your dog familiarise - this could be worth thinking about? These days lots of kennels will send you texts, photos and even video updates about your dog too while you are away, which is nice if (like me) you are frettting.
I would also Google your shortlist of premises, and see if you can find any reviews. It can be very interesting what this throws up.
I have had no problems with kennels and feel that my dog has been well cared for. But I would prefer not to send an older dog to kennels who had previously had only home boarding. Might be a bit of a shock for them. I think it's a good idea to introduce a young dog to the idea of kennels so that they see it as normal.
I have to go away for 5 nights and can't take him. Only friend who could have had him is also away. I'm looking at other local home boarders but put off by one that says 'We also provide basic training based on Cesar Milan's methods'. Others want them to be 'good with cats'. Well, I have a cat but I wouldn't say he is 'good' with her, she just stays away from him.
Anyone have experience of kennels? He's used to a crate, but I'm a bit wary.