Dog owners who do you do it?

My wife and I always thought we’d get a dog, when one of us is retired and we have the time to devote to giving him the attention and training he deserves. Well, COVID hit and we’re home all the time! So we got a Pandemic Puppy! Yay! (Who’s now 7 months old).

We also love to travel, and plan to do as much of it as resources and health allow. So now we have our first post-pandemic trips on the calendar…2 weeks in Europe in August (fingers crossed, candles lit, and sacrifices made to the vaccine gods) and 1 week domestic in September.

And we’re starting to freak out a bit. I know in theory that are many solutions: house sitters, boarding kennels…but for those of you out there who have gone through this, how did it go? Any tips?

With a 7 month soon to be 10-11 month old puppy, I would suggest that if you have friends that would take the pup while you are gone, or a kennel that can give him/her the attention they need. Puppies are a bit more needy than full grown dogs, such as pee/poop breaks, playing etc. If you do use a kennel, make sure that your dog is properly vaccinated for all their shots. Also don’t be surprised that when you get back they might have a common ailment called kennel cough.

Good luck.

We do have a leg up in that regard – there’s a doggy day-care facility near us that takes dogs for the day, or boards them for longer durations. We’ve taken our guy there a couple of times just to get him some socialization and exercise (or on days where it’s really nice to not have a puppy underfoot). And he’s had all his shots.

We used a kennel when we had just one dog. Now we have four, plus some pasture animals, and we haven’t quite figured out what to do! We went away for one night a couple of weeks ago and my husband’s adult son managed to keep everyone alive until we got back, but I’d hate to depend on the kid over any longer period.
It’s been suggested that we hire a pet-sitter to live at the house, but even an experienced pet-sitter might have a hard time wrangling four big dogs they just met.

While my dog isn’t a puppy anymore, we do a lot of road trips in our state (Montana) and from a very young age I made sure he was was comfortable for long hours in a car. He’s a relatively small dog (PRT) so it’s not like I am hauling a Great Dane in a Volkswagen.

Some dogs don’t like riding in cars and get nauseous, but most dogs can tolerate car rides as long as you provide periodic potty stops and food or water breaks. Some dogs will just sleep in the car which makes it very easy to travel with them.

If your your dog is crate trained you can just put them in a crate and they feel right at home. Make sure wherever they are in the car there is adequate heating/cooling/fresh air.

Some large national hotel chains (e.g. La Quinta) allow pets, but make sure to have advanced reservations so you don’t have to look for a place to stay that will take dogs. We use Airbnb mostly for a variety of reasons and there are many rentals out there that accept dogs, although expect an up-charge.

I don’t recommend leaving a pet locked up in a hotel room or Airbnb all day, as a barking dog would be considered a nuisance, and if you’re not going to take your dog around with you during the day what’s the point of bringing it with you in the first place.

For a puppy I think an established kennel would be fine as long as the puppy is NOT locked up all the time and has a chance to socialize with other dogs. If fact it may a good place for your puppy to learn those kinds of socialization skills assuming you don’t have other pets.

Although I feel somewhat guilty boarding my dog, I have - several times. Truth is, he seems to quite enjoy it. Longest time was 12 or 13 days I think.
It’s extremely important to check out the kennel. I checked out a few before boarding the first time. Some are way too expensive. Others add charges for little details that no decent kennel should be charging for in the first place - like walks & socializing with the other dogs there. One place charged extra to give your dog a 15 minute daily walk. WTF!!
When I board my dog - a Lab/Border Collie, here’s the standard included in the cost features:

  • His own large area for sleeping or private time. It’s inside, heated/air conditioned and has access to a small outside area where he can go & pee or whatever he wants. There is a low platform bed and they are cleaned daily or as needed. I also bring my dogs big pillow & favourite blanket, chew toy . . .
  • He can play all day long with the other dogs if he chooses (he does). The outdoor play area is always supervised and photos are uploaded to the kennels’ Facebook page several times a day. If you’re vacationing in Spain you can log in and see what your dog is up to that day. There’s also a pretty large indoor play area for use on miserable weather days or just as additional.
  • If a dog is unwell or not social, or for any reason cannot mingle, there are separate outdoor areas they can be. Or they can stay in their crate/cage, which are pretty roomy. I’d guess about 4 x 7 ft plus outside area.
  • Up to date vaccinations are a must, including Bordetella (for kennel cough).
  • Bedding I’ve supplied has nearly always been returned washed - time permitting.
    This place is probably around mid-range as far as prices in the area. You need to visit before hand and get a tour of the complete facility and just important, a feel for the people working there. Depending on your dog breed & its personality, priorities can vary.

Ours is the same experience as @Keith1, nearly to the letter.

The one thing I will recommend if you are considering boarding your dog is having him/her stay there overnight while you are NOT traveling, mainly to see how it goes in a stress-free situation (your stress, not the dog’s).

We determined for our prior dog early on that he would need to get used to the idea of going to a place while we went on trips he could not participate (Hawaii, for example). He loved it and often when we picked him up on the way home from the airport, after the excited greetings, he would pass-out for a few days just to recover. We just got a new dog and after her settling-in period we will take the same approach - she needs to be OK with boarding.

Have any of your dogs “acted out” when you come home? I used to have a cat who, whenever I left him home for a few days, would invariably crap on a bedroom floor when I got back.

The OP’s Europe trip will obviously involve boarding the dog in a kennel or with friends, and I don’t have any experience with boarding kennels. I just wanted to add that car trips were a breeze with my Bernese Mountain Dog. We would occasionally rent a summer cottage for a week or two, and other than making sure the renters were OK with dogs – and a surprisingly large number were – it was no problem at all. Bernie was a smart boy and when the whole family was in the car and we were driving a long time, he clued in that we were on a road trip and spent most of the time napping. He was also a big boy – 120 lbs when fully grown – but I had a minivan and most of our luggage was in a rooftop carrier, so he had lots of room in the back. And he seemed to enjoy the cottage vacations as much as we did! He liked to go out on the dock at sunset and gaze out over the lake. :slight_smile:

The brutally obvious is … all dogs are different.

Some couldn’t care less if you leave them somewhere else. Some are prone to separation anxiety.

What I might consider, prior to a somewhat lengthy international trip, is regularly boarding your dog at a kennel that – as was so well described above – you’ve thoroughly checked out and are 100% comfortable with.

For our lab, it was a weekly/every other week thing (while we were in town, just to acclimate him), and grew into an occasional weekend thing.

This not only accustomed him to the place and its operators, it also gave him a total comfort level that he wasn’t being abandoned (he was a rescue).

If we go too long without boarding him there (for no reason), and then we take him there prior to a trip, he’ll get anxious – the ‘tolerance’ wears off.

Generally, though, he likes our choice of kennel well enough that we definitely miss him more than he misses us when we’re away :wink:

Best of luck !

You must have missed seeing that Dope rule of if you mention your pet you have to include a picture. Preferably pictures.

When my anatolian was a puppy (he’s 13 now) I boarded him. It was a great place that actually bent the rules to accommodate him after his first week there. He really likes playing with little dogs and he jumped two 8’ fences to get to the little dog play area every day the week he was there. After that they just put him in the little dog area so he was happy.

He never liked being dropped off and was always happy to be picked up but he was happy and well cared for in his time. Once I moved to Denver and moved in with my now wife we got a mastiff and finding housing for a mastiff is more difficult due to their size. Because of that extra cost we stopped boarding the dogs and normally drop them off with friends or family when we can’t take them or occasionally have had a house sitter

The expense of boarding is one reason we’re going back to one dog once these guys pass.

Luckily, I have family who likes my dog (and who my dog likes) and so she stays with them and gets even more spoiled than she is at home. I’ve not taken a longer than 2 week vacation, though - because anything longer seems to be imposing way too much.

If she couldn’t stay with them, I’d probably go with housesitting or some situation where she stays uncrated most of the time. She’s used to being in a home (not crated) and so, I think it would be easier for her if she had that kind of setup, not kenneled for most of the day.

Not mine. I get the impression he’s had a great time hanging with his homies but is happy to be home. Not much different than when I get home from vacation. He’ll be quite tired and just relax for a couple days.
Cats are quite different.
I also absolutely agree with giving your dog a dry run, so to speak. Most kennels also have play day spots. Some people regularly use this option while they go to work. The kennel where I take my dog offers a free play day prior to booking him/her for a stay. It’s an opportunity for staff to assess the dog and to see how the dog reacts with others.

I really have no idea how to post my own personal pictures, but he looks just like this guy. Pembroke Welsh Corgi Dog Breed Information

He’s adorable! Corgis are are a big favorite of mine. Betcha he’s a well loved puppy.

We watch my daughter’s two dogs when they travel.

We used to have my gf’s parents vacation at our house when we traveled. Three dogs, three horses, chickens, etc were all well cared for. Then my gf’s dad died and so we’ve been hiring live-in sitters.

I don’t have the heart to leave my maltese in a kennel, as I know he’d hate it.

I pack him off to doggy daycare (with a women who only has a few dogs at a time) a couple of times a week, to keep him socialised, and when we go away, he goes to live with her, so he’s with someone familiar. She lets him sleep on her bed, so I think he’s fine.

The first option is to take him with us when we travel to see friends or family. Cranky Dog is good on the road.

The second option is to use the puppy play group network. Cranky Dog had a great puppy play group with about six other dogs he played with daily, sometimes in our back yard They all loved each other and we owners all became pretty good friends. Most of the time, the owner of Cranky Dog’s best friend would stay at our house. If that didn’t work out, Cranky Dog would go live with another of his friends from the puppy play group for a few days. On longer trips, the owners would work out among themselves how to shift Cranky Dog from house to house as needed. In return, we would find ourselves watching some other dog about every six weeks or so. It meant Cranky Dog spent about a third of his time living with another dog, mostly at our house, and he loved it.

Sadly, most of those friends have moved away but one puppy play group friend is still nearby so we haven’t had to use any alternate arrangements yet. The day is coming though so we also found a great boarding facility on a disused farm where Cranky Dog would have a few acres of fenced-in land to run around and chase squirrels. Our friends’ dog loves it.

We also once tried asking our dog walker to keep him for a few days. The dog walker pawned our dog off on one of his friends where it seemed he was crated almost constantly except for occasional walks. We let the dog walker go after that experience.

I think you may be able to find a place that just lets the dogs roam around an enclosed yard all day and play with/interact with the other dogs there (supervised by a human). The place we have used is like that. The only time the dogs are crated is when they misbehave (for a time-out), and overnight and during meals. As an aside, getting a dog comfortable with a crate will further enable this sort of care while you are away.