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The humans need a vacation

April 8th, 2007, 08:28 PM
I need advice on what to do, and I'll make this as brief as possible. My family and I will be on vacation for 4 days in July. We have three cats and two Labs, and to avoid putting dogs in kennel, I want to get a close friend to come to the house, feed and water pets, let them out and/or walk them, etc.

Under normal circumstances when we three are working, Buddy (6yo) has run of the house and Sam (5yo) is locked in my daughter's bedroom (he is her dog). My husband is very concerned that Buddy may go after someone who is not one of the family, when we are on vacation.

I'm thinking I can have my friend come to the house alot within the next two months so both dogs gets used to her, but we want to be able to test that she would be able to come into the house without any problems. Husband says dogs would know if we were outside, when we test our friend. Does this make sense?

Any hep, suggestions, advice would be appreciated.

PS Cant put dogs in kennel - Buddy had four different owners within two years before we rescued him (I can't understand why but I know he is perfect) and Sam also had a rough time of it before we got him from the same SPCA. I think it would hurt them mentally and emotionally.

April 8th, 2007, 08:42 PM
I would hire a housesitter to be there all the time, the dogs may not react well to being left alone so long. Even if someone comes in a couple of times a day, it's not going to be the same as having someone there all night with them.
You could always make vacation plans that could include the dogs.


April 8th, 2007, 08:44 PM
could your dogs go with you?????

if not....
test your friend on her own with the dogs a couple of times is a great idea. also have her over a few times when you are home and have her feed and walk them so this doesnt seem unnatural to them.

also have her come over and just walk in no knocking or door bells etc and greet her very warmly, so your dogs get the idea she is a welcomed member.

would it be possible to have your friend stay there while you are gone instread of just stopping by.?
if your dogs have had some issues in the past with previous owner being left alone for so long may cause them increased anxiety and to do things they normally wouldnt.
i would be afraid of them getting in to something potentially dangerous... like destructive behaviour, or worse chewing and choking on something or eating something posionous.

I have a dog that i too wouldnt dream of kenneling because of his past and sensitive emotional and phychological state, he stays with my parents when i am gone if i cannot take him with me.

keep many treats and comfort objects available to them while you are gone

when spending time with your friend make all their associations with your friend that is watching them as positive and happy as possible.

also let her know how you deal with the dogs, be very clear of your means of training, disicpline and praise, as well as routines so the dogs have consistancy it will amke it easier for you and them as well as your friend. also any common behaviours your dog may exhibit and how you would like those to be dealt with

also be sure to leave emergency numbers, the vets and how to get a hold of you, the hotel you will be staying at as well as cell phone numbers
leave a credit card number with her or a close family member incase something happens and emergency care is required.
also leave precise details, and license numbers as well as a good photo in case they get loose.

April 8th, 2007, 08:59 PM
Cindy - Thanks for your response but I dont think I housesitter would do - I want someone who I know and trust (friend of the family for 25 years is good for me!!)

We have taken Buddy on vacation before but we are going to FL to celebrate MY grandmothers 100th birthday (daugther and I are flying, and husband is going on motorcycle (he's got a longer vacation!!). We are only going for 4 days so it's not a big thing, but it is big enough.

Our animals are used to being alone for a good part of the day (usually from 7AM to 7PM), and my friend has a dog and cat of her own that she has to be home for, so she really couldnt stay here.

Michelle - thanks for your response too. There are some ideas your wrote I never even thought about.

April 8th, 2007, 09:04 PM
would your friend be able to keep them at her house???? even just over night? and then at your house while she is at work?

April 8th, 2007, 10:26 PM
She has a couple of pets herself that she has to take care of - one is an old cat and the other is a psychotic chiuaua!!! So no, she really can't be here all the time but I might be able to get her to hang around for a while.

Like I said earlier, the dogs are used to being alone for a good amount of the time, so it probably wouldnt be to difficult.

April 8th, 2007, 11:58 PM
Wow! That's a long drive on a motorcycle! Could hubby maybe go by auto instead and take the dogs? The cats would probably do alright with someone looking in on them daily. I know what you mean not wanting to leave the dogs alone. My sister-in-law comes to housesit when we have to be gone. She spends the first night before we take off and our dogs are fine with her being there after we leave. Course our dogs are much smaller than labs. Is the main concern that they might be aggressive when your friend goes into your house? My older brother had 2 black labs many moons ago and they were very protective of his pickup when he went into stores. They wouldn't let anyone, even someone they knew, touch anything in the truck if my brother wasn't around.

April 9th, 2007, 10:45 PM
Nah -- hubby has a long vacation, and we just bought the bike this week. He is so looking forward to riding down there.

It was great to receive so many helpful responses. I posted the same question to my vet, who emailed me back. He even suggested that there are some GOOD kennels - luxury ones with web cameras, etc. And he doesn't believe that 4 days would do harm to the dogs, however hubby refuses to - can't say I blame him.

Other than that, the vet made similar suggestions to many posted here - I appreciate it all.