traveling without your dog

A little wisdom relating to the topic of going on vacation without your dog.

  1. Dogs don’t forget their owners. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  

  2. Don’t let your dog see his pack walk away from him.  Say goodbye in the car and with confidence before you actually drop your dog off.  Let the people at the boarding service ‘dog nap’ your dog and take him from you so he enters a new pack.  

  3. Expect the rhythm of the digestion and exercise to be different while you are away.  A new environment will throw off your dog’s internal clock. If the duration is shorter than 48 hours this might mean that he comes home with a little diarrhea, which will typically clear within a day of getting back to his schedule.

  4. If you crated your dog as a puppy, you gave them a gift that will give them peace while you are away…even if they haven’t been in a crate for 10 years. Without it, a new house is very big, the boundaries aren’t set and the lack of perceived structure could create anxiety.

  5. Leave your dog with a stinky t-shirt of yours and suggest he spend the first 20 minutes in his new ‘home’ immediately upon arriving.

  6. Friends and family are often inexperienced dog sitters. They will ‘love your puppy’ but don’t expect them provide the structure necessary for a successful stay. Explore boarding arrangements as early as you can and look for a place that makes sense for YOUR dog.  Younger more energetic and social dogs will benefit from a pack… with an off leash run, or dog walking services included.  Older, less social dogs would  benefit from a quieter environment.  Use a quality boarding service so you don’t have to worry while you are away.

  7. Don’t let your dog see you pack your bags or see your packed bags.  This could become a future trigger for separation anxiety.  

  8. Leave toys, beds and material objects at home.  Dog’s don’t own objects outside of the present moment.  Toys and beds from home might become objects he has to defend if they look appealing to other dogs, and that sets him up for potential conflict.

Going away on vacation is supposed to charge your battery and inject you with joy and vitality. But it’s very common to have a heavy heart and worry filled mind when leaving your furry friend.  If this sounds like you, then you know the worry will act as a slow leak on your overall happiness while you are away… and that defeats the purpose of a vacation!