This holiday season - and through out the year - dogs go visiting. They visit friends, family and sometimes their Care Associate. Since we make flying very uncomfortable for most dogs (to say nothing of very expensive for their owners) often these home-away-from-home visits are solo. There is always some aprehension in a new surrounding and we would like to see pup's vacation as lovely as his parents'.
Some thoughts for a Barker or any pup going to visit:
If possible, really tire pup out before he goes on his visit. The less nervous energy, the better.
If pup still uses a crate either wean him from it before the visit or bring it along. Your goal is to provide as much "familiarity" as possible.
To make pup’s vacation as comfortable as possible, pack (and label w/pup’s name if there is going to be more than one dog in the household sufficient dog food (no reason to chance an upset stomach with unfamiliar stuff in pup’s gut)
Special treats if you would like. We have lots of treats, but if pup has a preference, please send those
Doggie bed if pup has one
Doggie toys (most important to label these so they come home to you). Most doggie households have lots of tennis balls, chew bones, tug-of-war ropes, but if your pup has a fave, send it.
T-shirt you have recently worn (and not laundered). This is the equivalent of a photo for us
Also, let the host know what your policy is on
Feeding (what time, how much, does pup have to sit or otherwise earn dinner?)
Policy on people food scraps
Treats (how liberal are you? Does pup have to sit or otherwise earn treat? May pup have any treat in our pantry or just what you send?)
Going on the furniture. This is not permitted in our home but we want to know how strongly to make this an issue if pup is allowed to sleep on furniture in your home.
Sleeping in bed. Likewise, we don’t allow this in our home but it is a losing battle with dogs who are used to sharing their master’s bed (they wait until we are asleep and take what they consider is their rightful place)
And most important – is pup trustworthy to walk off lead? Many out of NYC experiences are leash-free and within the City off-leash hours are very popular. Discuss your expectations with your pup's host.
You should help your pup's host provide consistency and rules to give your pup a comfortable structure. This makes the vacation smoother for pup and easier for you when you are reunited.
And most important, be sure you have your pup's host's contact information and he has all yours. Discuss expectations about reaching one another. Will you be accessible by email or not? By cellular or not? Would you like periodic pictures and updates if your pup's host is able?
And face it, human separation anxiety is as real as the canine form.