Here are a few things to do before you jet off on holiday, to make sure that your dog has a seamless transition.
Familiarise your dog with schedules
Before you go away, get your pet used to the walking and eating schedules that you are going to give to your sitter. Even though they will be missing you, mealtimes will be a welcome constant for your dog. You should integrate the eating and walking schedules into daily life up to four weeks before you go away, but it will make your life easier to get your dog in a routine as soon as possible!
To get your dog (adult or puppy) to eat on a schedule, follow these steps:
- When you feed them, leave the bowl down for five minutes.
- After that five minutes is up, pick the bowl up whether it is empty or not.
- The next time it comes to feeding time, repeat the first two steps.
- Your dog will slowly learn to eat its food when you are putting down the bowl, rather than snacking throughout the day, potentially letting a lot of food go stale – or causing your pooch to overeat!
(For adults, feed them twice a day, and puppies younger than five months should be fed three times a day)
For more on training your dog’s eating behaviour, head on over to PetFinder.
When it comes to walking, just provide consistency. Make sure that you set alarms for a regular walking time – let’s say 7:00am. You’ll find your pooch has an uncanny sense of timekeeping, sooner or later they’ll become the alarm for you.
It just goes to show how well dogs adapt to a routine!
As a quick guide to what other dog owners do, have a look at the most common times people walk their dogs:
Meet & Greet
To make the transition as easy as possible for your dog, you should introduce your dog with their sitter face-to-face before the time of care so:
- You can see if the care provider is a good match for your dog
- You can find out about their experience with dogs
- You can discuss schedules
Most importantly, it means your dog will be looked after by a familiar face!
Here are DogBuddy’s tips for the perfect meet and greet:
Meet in public, if possible meet at a neutral location
This prevents any potential resident dog from becoming territorial. A neutral location also allows the guest dog to find their natural place in the pack, which is especially important if other dogs will be present in the sitter’s home.
A meet and greet is the perfect time to learn more about a guest dog’s health, diet, behavioral history and other needs. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss what the dog sitter and the dog owner will provide (e.g. tags, leash and collar) for the duration of the stay. Remember to get each other’s contact details and veterinary information (especially if you’ll be travelling during the booking).
Confirm the booking
If the booking has not been paid for yet, remember to pay online through DogBuddy to make sure your booking is covered by our insurance policy.
If you have any more questions about meet and greets, check out our dedicated FAQs site, help.dogbuddy.com
Consider Walking Or Day Care First
Even if your meet and greet went well, it’s worth testing how your dog will be in a sitter’s care by using a walking or day care service before you book boarding.
Your sitter will get used to the behaviour of your dog when on a walk, giving them (and you) a sense of how your dog will act around others on walks. For instance, while 79% of dog owners say that their dog is well behaved, 54% of those owners admitted that their dogs pull on the lead and 64% say their dog runs after the local park wildlife!
If you’ve already tried walking services, it’s time to move onto doggy day care to be sure your pooch is going to be at ease in the sitter’s home. Another advantage of doing day care after walking is that your sitter will already be used to your dog’s routine. Even if it is not the same sitter, your dog will have had a soft introduction to new people with the dog walker.
After a few day care experiences, your dog should be more adaptable for boarding when your on holiday. Potentially you could wave goodbye to separation anxiety in your dog. Not to mention the lasting friendship you’ve forged with your sitter, and created a doggy’s home from home!
Here’s some help to get started
To help you on your DogBuddy journey, use the link below to get your £10 credit. Feel free to use this on any of our boarding, walking or day care services!
For even more on holiday dog care options, head on over to our full guide.