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MidnightOil-Two 11-13-2012 11:55 PM

"Alert/Nervous GSD 4 1/2 yr old GSD" ! Kennel or New Petsitter? Advice please
Our GSD is very well behaved at home where there are no other dogs or children. He of course loves and protects his family and those he knows who are regular visitors. Strangers are just that - STRANGERS.

We have had the same petsitter since he was a puppy but she has moved away and we are planning a 2 week sun vacation in late Jan-Feb.

The most compatabile pet sitter I have found has absolutely no experience with GSD's and I am afraid my dog - who is a bit on the reactive/nervous side - will scare the liver out of her. There do not seem to be any in home GSD Caregivers around. She is used to boarding golden retrievers and labs with the odd ****su thrown in.

Our other option is a kennel. We had an extremely bad experience with a different kennel and our last dog, so it is still difficult to see this as a viable option - but this one looks much nicer - they even have theme suites and video cameras in the suites. The dogs are not put out together but are exercised individually daily. All have good sized individual indoor spaces and outdoor runs (we are touring it Sat am). It looks great, but I worry that he will be lonely or that he won't "take" to the staff and will treat them as strangers and be very defensive with them.

Another plus for the kennel would be that if we are having people to the lake in the summer who have children (he is frightened of children and reacts badly), it would possibly be more readily available that perhaps this sitter who only ever takes one dog at a time.

With the home situation I know he would be loved and cuddled, but I worry that he won't be in the kennel - particularly if he is showing his gruff exterior side and not his "i'm really a suck" side. Also, if he gets a new person every day - that will be difficult

Any advice? Has anyone else had these concerns? What would you choose?


codmaster 11-14-2012 01:32 AM

Have you thought about bringing your dog to the kennel a few times beforehand to meet and greet the staff there and maybe even stay for a while without you so he gets used to the place and people and them to him?

MidnightOil-Two 11-14-2012 03:43 AM

Yes, I have. We are taking him there on Saturday. The problem with a kennel of course is that the staff changes. But, even with that, I am leaning towards the kennel / "pet hotel" vs the sitter who has no experience with any GSD's or our dog.

llombardo 11-14-2012 07:16 AM

I had a lab mix that I tried to board at a vet. He knew what it was and who everyone was because I worked there. Well that dog changed in a one could get near him, he started shedding badly, and he wouldn't eat. My mom had to go and walk him. It was awful:(

Jag 11-14-2012 01:35 PM

When I had to board my bitch (who was VERY aggressive and unpredictable), I boarded her where they had indoor/outdoor runs. I informed the staff to shut the door when she was outside to feed/water her. I wanted NO contact between the staff and her. They'd boarded her before she totally lost it, and said "Oh no! She's so sweet!" and I had to really drill it through their head that she was unpredictable, etc. I placed her in the run, and I took her out when we picked her up. It worked out OK. I'm not worried about someone 'loving' on my dog when that dog could potentially hurt someone! I also had one of our other dogs placed in that run with her so that they could intervene if she for some reason had the chance to attack. This is the best scenario, IMO, when you have a reactive dog. There's no way I'd have had someone try to come to our house. That's setting the dog up. Not fair. I also felt, with her, that those places where they have to handle the dog to get it outside was beyond what she could handle. Especially when I wasn't around. You have to go with what the dog can handle and keep other's safety your top priority. When you choose to keep unstable dogs, you have to realize that others aren't responsible for your choices.

kiya 11-14-2012 01:45 PM

If I only had 1 dog, I'd go with a good kennel or doggie hotel. It took me quite a while to find my petsitter. I've always been told my dogs behave much better when I am not there. Apache is a bit fearful and will bark a lot when I am home, when she comes by herself he's her best buddy.

lostangl 11-14-2012 04:35 PM

I have a fear aggressive male and had to board him one time. I told the staff about it and told them not to corner him or he woujld bite. It was an indoor/outdoor kennel. They were able to let him in and out with no problems. No way I would let someone come to my house to take care of him as he is very protective of his property.

RowdyDogs 11-14-2012 05:32 PM

I think it depends. I feel a lot more comfortable with my fear-aggressive dog at home, as he's much less likely to bite. I also was a professional pet sitter for 3 years. I've done both with my pets and from video evidence (I only board at kennels with webcams; and have set up ones of my own if they're at home) I think they're much more comfortable at home, all things considered.

I would probably try to get this pet sitter over for a visit to see how she interacts with your dogs. I'll say that when I was a pet sitter, I had no dog experience except a couple of seriously elderly Labs I grew up with (so old they hardly count) and one 30-pound border collie/ACD cross. Yet I had no problem with reactive GSDs, Mals, Husky/Malamutes, etc. because I knew dog behavior and body language and knew how to handle it. Size isn't an issue; I don't want to be bit by anything. But in real life I can read a dog and keep myself safe.

If this pet sitter is like I was, her lack of experience with GSDs is irrelevant. I personally would probably have her come over once or twice (depending on your dog) to introduce them, then one night get a hotel room nearby and do a trial run. If the dog is fine, then I'd just have her stop by briefly shortly before you leave in January to make sure everything is still good, but not worry too much.

If you are more comfortable with kenneling, no problem there. The cameras speak well of them; I've seen a lot of terrible kennels but none have webcams available. Still, though, I'd leave your dog there for one or two nights prior to your 2-week vacation just to see how she does in that situation.

It comes down to personal preference. I feel it's less stressful for my dogs to be at home, so I hire a pet sitter. I feel more comfortable with even a less-experienced sitter than with random kennel workers. This is certainly an area with room for disagreement, though.

MidnightOil-Two 11-17-2012 03:32 PM

Decision made. We have the kennel booked. They have webcams available in some runs but seeing as we are booking so late (we are leaving late Jan ) the one they had our dog booked into did not have a camera. They were willing to work towards moving him into a kennel with a camera, but just the fact that they were willing to try was very reassuring. It is indoor / outdoor with time each day in the open aerobic area. We also saw the Theme Rooms which are a huge hit with dog owners. My husband did point out to me that these Theme Rooms are really for the owners - the dogs don't appreciate it the way we think they would. We will take his plastic crate toys food etc so he should be fine. If smelled amazingly fresh in there and I did see the bleach in the cleaning supplies - all good. This business is busy year round - a good sign. 80 dogs max. Thanks for listening and all the help. We certainly hope we have found our "forever " kennel.


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