My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

On Vacation: Bring, Board, or Leave at Your Separation Anxiety Dog Home?


This summer, are you planning to take beginner and intermediate surfing lessons in San Diego? If yes, what are your plans for your pet? It is usually hard for many of us to leave our dog and extra hard to leave our separation anxiety dog. Where do you leave him? What is the safest, least potentially damaging option?

Counter-intuitively to many, it is usually boarding your dog. And here’s why: If you leave him at home and hire a pet sitter, you run a big risk of escalating his anxiety whenever you leave the house in the future. Now he knows that sometimes you actually do not return at night and knowing this can skyrocket his symptoms.

Why not bring him along? Sometimes you can if you are, say, camping and he is with you 24/7 (all day, everyday). You might even be able to bring him along if your hotel allows pets. Planes can be a bit trickier though, with most airlines requiring pets to be kept in the hold, which is a recipe for even higher anxiety. You could always hire a private jet with Jettly which will allow him to be with you for the entire journey, but you’ll have to make sure he stays with you at all times when you reach your destination. You can’t leave him in the hotel room whilst you pop out for dinner – being left alone in a new and unknown location is going to be even scarier than being left at home. Instead, you can try renting out a timeshare in the location where you are holidaying. But, keep in mind this option can be risky, and you might want to take a read at this timeshare exit companies review before you make any hasty decisions.

Then, the best choice? Board him. “Why,” you ask, when he will be so frightened and upset? True, he may well be but that fear and upset will be triggered by that location – not by being at home or left in a motel.

If your dog is social and friendly, you can leave him at a facility that offers group play, which might go a long way to releasing any of his tension and letting him have a fine old time. He may actually learn how to accept crating at “camp” when it is done on schedule, in a matter-of-fact way and when he is truly tired.

If the kennel is an indoor/outdoor run set-up, ask for a “covered run” (one with a secure top on it) if your dog has any potential to climb. Better safe than sorry.

Now go – plan a vacation and enjoy. Your dog will survive the experience and may even be better for it. That would be a win/win for all concerned.

by Sarah Wilson

Author of handbooks: My Smart Puppy (book with DVD) and Childproofing Your Dog


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.