Unless a dog suffers from real separation anxiety, they will cope quite happily when you go out for a while. However, many seem to have a real sixth sense about when you’re away for a while and may react accordingly. One of the best ways to care for them is by employing a sitter so they can enjoy Holiday Care in their own home – but even that needs handling carefully to ensure a settled and happy dog (which in turn helps to make sure you’re settled and content on your travels, too!)
Firstly, a well-socialised and well-trained dog, which is used to a routine, will accept change more readily – particularly when your sitter adheres to your routines. For a socially acceptable dog, there’s no substitute for regular training classes – you may not be interested in winning the Crufts obedience championships or excelling at agility or even flyball – but attending a good club on a regular basis will make certain that he’s used to noise, bustle and lots of people. It should also maintain a reliable recall and stay – essential at all times, especially when being cared for by someone other than yourself.
The best way to guarantee your dog is happy with the sitter is to take a great deal of time and care over choosing your sitter in the first place. Research carefully, and ask for recommendations – but do specify you only want sitters recommended whom your contacts have used – not just friends and family – then check qualifications, references and experience. Ascertain that the sitter will:
- understand your dog and any of his little quirks
- look after your dog like their own
- follow your instructions – and your routines – to the letter
- deal well with any accidents or emergencies
- assess your dog initially and be happy to get to know him
It can help considerably if the sitter is prepared to come and meet your dog in the home a couple of times, so your dog will accept him as a friend and caregiver. Even better, perhaps employ the sitter as a walker a few times over the weeks leading up to your absence – and stipulate that he must have plenty of exercises while you’re away. An under-exercised or hyperactive dog missing his people can become very distressed and destructive.
If he’s happy with his sitter, you can relax knowing he’s safe and well – and enjoy your break.
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