We had just finished up dog training session with a new Home Dog Training client in Dawsonville and her cute little Pug named Maggie.  Maggie is a puppy and this is her first summer.  My client is going away for a two week vacation in Hawaii and won’t be able to take Maggie.  She had asked several of her friends what would be the best thing to do and has received many conflicting answers.  She asked what I thought would be the best thing for Maggie while she was away.

With the extra security hassles and common delays in flying, taking your dog with you on the plane is not that great an idea.  Leaving your dog home when you leave is often the best thing to do 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.  We have had experience with almost every type of “Pet Sitting” and I decided to explain the options to my client.  That would give her the opportunity to make the best decision for herself and Maggie.

  • THE HELPFUL NEIGHBOR. This is a great solution if you have a neighbor or “not too far away” family member who you can trust and likes your dog.  Your dog is already socialized with the person and in used to seeing them around the house.  They should stop by at least three times a day to let your dog potty and be fed.  They should also make sure that there is a good exercise session when they stop by in the evening.  If you have a neighborhood association security group, make sure that they know that this person has permission to enter your home.
  • PET SITTER HOME VISITS. This option is very similar to THE HELPFUL NEIGHBOR option.  The only difference is that you are paying a Pet Sitter to stop by three 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, if you have a security service, make sure that 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 be sure that they spend several hours during the morning, several hours during the 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 you have informed your security company that they will be 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 they aren’t in the crates, they are taken for walks or sometimes are with a Vet Tech or the Front Receptionist.  Most Vet Boarding facilities do not have a play area where the dog can just run and play.  Some Vet 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.
  • DOGGIE DAY CARE. The “new term” for Dog Kennel Facility is “Doggie Day Care”.  I am not trying to belittle the term, it is just what they are now called.  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.  They 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 Doggie Day Care facilities offer swimming pools, baths, and grooming as part of their services.  Many Doggie Day Care facilities now have Internet 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.  I would suggest that you 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.  We can always give you a hand in this area.

Robin and I hope you will contact us at (770) 718-7704 with all your dog training questions. We love to “talk dog”.  We have a lot of wonderful dog training essays at Best Dog Trainers Dawsonville Georgia.  All of the ways to contact us can be found at Dog Training Help Center Dawsonville Georgia.