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I'd like some advice on what everyone else does with their dogs when they have to leave town for a few days.

Mac & Tasha are our male/female GSDs. They are 15 months old, but will be about 19 months old when our vacation comes up. They've both been spayed/neutered.

My mom wants to rent a house on the lake for Thanksgiving. My parents, my three sisters and their husbands, my two nieces, and my husband will all be there. My husband and I don't have family nearby who we trust to take care of Mac & Tasha while we're gone, which is sad, but that's how it is. My husband is also leery of having a dog sitter (stranger) come into the house. He's particular about his personal space, I can understand that. And I really don't want to board them. They aren't used to being in a kennel all day, and that's what a lot of boarding facilities will do, right? They also aren't great with strangers. Once they get to know them, of course, they're fine. But the initial meeting with a stranger can be difficult.

Anyway, all that to say, that really doesn't leave us with many options, right? We either bring them with us, or we do the least of the two evils, either board them or have a pet sitter come and take care of them for a few days.

I don't know whether bringing them with us is a good idea. My sister has two girls, ages 6 and 4. Mac hasn't been great around the 6-year-old girl in the past, but he was only 7 months old when he was around them last. Tasha has been OK with them. I don't want to risk something happening while we're there.

Anyway, any creative advice? Maybe ease both my husband's and my mind about either boarding them or having somebody come over? Maybe we can bring them with us and plan to keep them away from the kids? I really don't know what to do. Thanks in advance!
 

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I would interview some pet sitters and see if you meet one your husband is comfortable with. I would also visit some boarding kennels. Some are quite good.
 

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The wife and I have taken Pepper all over the west. 11 nights through Wyo, Utah, Idaho, Montana. 7 nights in Reno at a convention with 5000+ people and casino time. 9 nights through Colorado and New Mexico. She is calm cool and collected. I have found as she is introduced to more novel situations the better she gets.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
@truckola - It sounds like you've done great with Pepper! It brings up a good point. Are there ways we can introduce Mac & Tasha to "novel situations" before this trip to prepare them? Any advice you can give will be appreciated.
 

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I've always brought my dogs but they were always perfect with kids, cats, dogs , traveling. They were not destructive and they were quiet. My guys gotta earn their traveling privileges. I brought the crate with just in case they got scared in an unfamiliar place that way they would have their little "home away from home". I really wouldn't consider bringing a dog bad with children to be around two little kids, especially if those little kids aren't my own.. and especially if those dogs aren't good with strangers. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, it would probably be less stressful for them to stay home with a pet sitter or be boarded.
 

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If I'm going then they are as well. I have had to leave the dogs a few times over the years when I travelled on business and I don't like it. I also don't sleep well without them.
When I travel with them I take crates, their dishes, water from home and a favorite toy. My truck is also my bedroom. Drove about 3300 kms with Shadow last year and she was fine. Hitch hiked 180 kms shortly before that and was fascinated by how well she did. (not a choice). Just took her on a 3 day back country trip and she was fine.
Do invest in some long lines if you haven't already to facilitate exercise and play in strange locations.
 

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When we couldn't bring our boy our trainer had an open kennel and our pup stayed with him. We have an RV so if we can we use that. In your position with all those people, you and your dogs will need a way to have them secured and quiet. Those kinds of get together can be tiring and overwhelming for people, just imagine how young dogs might handle it.
 

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Even though I don't like to, I board most of the time. You can go check out some before you decide, that's what I did! Ours has indoor/outdoor runs, that's important to me, they also have a small fenced area they take him to for "free time" since I don't have him join the doggy day care while there, but you can have him do doggy day care if you want. Our vet also has boarding facility on his property, it is separate from the office, I have used that too! The lake cabins we do meet ups with the grandkids is dog friendly (no extra charge) has fenced yard or run attached to the cabins, and as long as on leash you can walk all over the property! So depends where and how we're going, driving, flying! I checked out the kennels in person before boarding, they walked us thru all areas, that's what I would do if you end up boarding! Moo is good with kids, and whether they come to my house or their house or cabin, I always give him his quite time away from everyone and keep watch while he's with us!
 

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My sister has a 5 year old and a 2 year old, my brother has a 2 year old. They have no pets, so my adorable little nieces are TERRIBLE with animals. I have seen them grab a cat by its face... and chase a cat trying to pet it, until the poor thing was sitting in the sink...there is no way I would trust them with a large dog. So Rumo does not come when we visit my family...

Pet sitter no good. If we are not there and someone enters the house, he will probably be hostile towards them.

So we chose boarding. They have playtime with other dogs morning and afternoon...he was screened and placed in a small group with other older dogs. I bring him for “daycare” occasionally so that he is used to it and the longer stays are not too stressful. We miss him a lot, but until my nieces are older, it is not safe! They would be overly excited to have a dog around, would do things that would annoy the dog, and I would wind up having to shut Rumo away all the time or watch every interaction like a hawk ( not relaxing! )

For outdoorsy vacations with just our family ( we like to hike ), he will be wonderful to bring along! We are planning one for this fall and will look for a pet friendly cabin.
 

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In the 11 months I've had my boy I've taken him along on short vacations twice, all were car rides. I went out of the country and out of state a total of 4 times, once left them with a good friend who loves and understands dogs, three times with pet sitters via Rover. All 3 times he was with 'strangers,' always lost weight. Except when he was with my best friend, who unfortunately doesn't live here anymore.

Reading your post, I wouldn't bring your dogs along, esp if it gets YOU, people (the kids) uncomfortable. It can ruin your vacation and ruin the vibe. You'll be worrying about feeding them, walking them, having activities with them seperately. And that doesn't sound fun for anybody.

If they're not used to being in crates for a long period of time, there ARE some boarding/kennels that have a package that includes very little crate time, and the rest just in some kind of spacey area. You can look into it in your local area.
 

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My 85 year old father called today and wants to send me a ticket to Biloxi to come visit him. Sounds great. Then I looked at Scarlet and thought “oh no! I’ve never been away from you for a night!”. Argh. When did I fall in love with this dog?
 

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I have been wanting to take the dogs on vacation - it would have to be a road trip of some sort or to block island it is dog friendly with beautiful hiking trails and beaches. If I was going away I’m staying at a hotel I may be worried about someone letting them loose out of the hotel or something like that so it would most likely be a cabin rental, camper, cottage rental etc. we brought our King Charles to Carolinas once that was a fun trip. There are certain cruises that allow dogs but they must be in a boarding kennel on the ship the entire time. I’m lucky to have a good friends and or my parents who come to the house to feed and let the dogs out when away and it is still hard for me to want to go away but once away all is good lol! Even though the dogs eat and well taken care of they still loose weight during that time.
 

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Thank you, everyone, for your input! It seems that my gut was right, and that I probably shouldn't take them with us. I thought about finding a pet sitter on Rover.com, and maybe a week or so before we leave, I could pay them to come to drop in visits while we're there. That way we can supervise the introduction. If the pet sitter comes every day for a week when we're there, my thought is that hopefully when he/she comes when we're NOT there, Mac & Tasha will be used to them and it won't be a problem. The trick is to convince the husband LOL.

I'll also think about looking at boarding facilities and seeing which ones don't use kennels so much. I'm glad I'm thinking about this early. It takes a lot of prep work.

I do wish I could take them, but something I've learned since having these two is that you work with the dog you've been given, not with the one you WISH you were given. I do wish my dogs were great with all people, all kids, all other animals, but they're just really picky LOL.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the input!
 

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I'd like some advice on what everyone else does with their dogs when they have to leave town for a few days.

Mac & Tasha are our male/female GSDs. They are 15 months old, but will be about 19 months old when our vacation comes up. They've both been spayed/neutered.

My mom wants to rent a house on the lake for Thanksgiving. My parents, my three sisters and their husbands, my two nieces, and my husband will all be there. My husband and I don't have family nearby who we trust to take care of Mac & Tasha while we're gone, which is sad, but that's how it is. My husband is also leery of having a dog sitter (stranger) come into the house. He's particular about his personal space, I can understand that. And I really don't want to board them. They aren't used to being in a kennel all day, and that's what a lot of boarding facilities will do, right? They also aren't great with strangers. Once they get to know them, of course, they're fine. But the initial meeting with a stranger can be difficult.

Anyway, all that to say, that really doesn't leave us with many options, right? We either bring them with us, or we do the least of the two evils, either board them or have a pet sitter come and take care of them for a few days.

I don't know whether bringing them with us is a good idea. My sister has two girls, ages 6 and 4. Mac hasn't been great around the 6-year-old girl in the past, but he was only 7 months old when he was around them last. Tasha has been OK with them. I don't want to risk something happening while we're there.

Anyway, any creative advice? Maybe ease both my husband's and my mind about either boarding them or having somebody come over? Maybe we can bring them with us and plan to keep them away from the kids? I really don't know what to do. Thanks in advance!
Hi! My first GSD Maximus (R.I.P) I always boarded at a trusted kennel....it was a small mom and pop place. We always fly to a island somewhere once a year, do taking our fur baby is not possible. Never had a issue with the kennel. My current GSD Thor is lucky. My mother n law stays at the house for the week while on vacation. So we get a house sitter and a dog sitter in one. Thor loves his grandma and she loves him. I still miss him when I am gone, but the alternative is to not go on vacation.....and that is silly. I looked at renting a dog friendly house on the beach somewhere, but then I thought about it....I know Thor would have a better time in his own house with gma than in a unfamiliar place cooped up all the time. Also that wouldn't be much of a vacation for us eaither.

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