With the extra security hassles and common delays in flying, taking your dog with you on the plane is not always ideal. Leaving your dog home when you go on a trip is often the best thing for both you and your dog. With all the different options, it is sometimes hard to decide what would be the best solution for you.
- THE HELPFUL NEIGHBOR. This is a great solution if you have a neighbor or “not too far away” family member, who you can trust, likes your dog and your dog likes them. They should stop by at least three times a day to let your dog out to potty and be fed. They should also make sure that there is a good exercise session when they stop by in the evening. You may want to let close by neighbors know you are going out of town, and someone will be stopping by to check on your pooch.
- PET SITTER HOME VISITS. This option is very similar to the helpful neighbor/family member option. The only difference is that you are paying a Pet Sitter to stop by multiple times a day to feed and care for your dog. Most Pet Sitters who perform home visits are also dog walkers. If possible, first hire this person as a dog walker for a month or so to see how they handle your dog and if they are reliable. As mentioned earlier, you may want to let close by neighbors know you are going out of town, so they are aware of this person’s comings and goings.
- IN HOME PET SITTER. Dogs are most comfortable in their own surroundings. They have all their “stuff” and have already built up a “safe zone” being your home. Many Pet Sitters will come and stay at your home while you are away. They normally don’t spend the entire day at your home, but will spend several hours during the morning, and afternoon, and stay over at night. This will assure that your pet receives the same care and attention that they normally would receive if you were actually there. It is important that the Pet Sitter has visited at least two times prior to your vacation. This assures that your dog becomes acclimated to this “new person” and they see that you have given them the “seal of approval”. Make sure that you have received references for this person and once again let close by neighbors know you are going out of town, and someone will be staying at your home.
- VET OFFICE BOARDING. Many Veterinary Clinics will also board pets. They have the medical facilities if anything goes wrong, have the crates for the dogs, and plenty of vet tech staff to watch them. When the dogs aren’t in the crates, they are taken for walks or sometimes are with a vet tech or the front reception area. Most vet boarding facilities do not have a play area where the dog can just run and play. Some veterinary offices are not staffed 24 hours so your dog will be left alone for periods during the night. If your dog loves going to the vet hospital and everyone loves him, this could be a good option.
- KENNEL/DOGGIE DAY CARE. These facilities will often give you multiple options regarding the housing of your dog. You can have anything from a simple crate to a room with a doggie bed and a TV. They have play areas (inside and/or outside) where they allow the dogs to run, play, and interact. The facility staff normally will assess your dog to make sure that he is placed in the right play group. If he is antisocial, he will have a private play time. Many facilities offer swimming pools, baths, and grooming as part of their services. Many facilities also now have web cameras where you can watch the dogs in the kennels and at play. I suggest that you watch the live video feeds for a few days to see if the handlers are treating the dogs in the way you would want your dog treated.
- PRIVATE HOME DOGGIE DAY CAR. This is where a pet sitter takes your dog into their home. They normally have one or two dogs of their own, so your dog becomes “one of the pack”. They normally don’t have more than one or two “client dogs” at any one time. Your dog simply moves in and takes part in the activities of the pet sitter’s human and canine family. It is best to have some “day visits” with your dog and the private home doggie day care before you leave him for an extended length of time.
Picking the right dog sitting option when you are away is important to maintain your dog’s sense of safety and continuity of your leadership.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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