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Dog Sitter Dilemma!

(17 Posts)
MidnightAura Wed 04-Jan-17 15:59:45

DH and I are due to go our honeymoon very soon. We have an 11 month old puppy that we need looking after. Our local kennels isn't very good so I didn't want to put her in there, we thought we found a great solution in a home boarder who is very local to us. The carer also has a dog, same breed but a lot older, we had to go and meet them and our pup got on fine with the dog and was well behaved during the meeting, just a little excited at being in a new place with a new person to get attention from.

I work from home so the pup loves attention and is used to me being around. That's again another reason why I like the idea of a home boarder over a kennel. When we did research on the kennels in our area and they are cheaper than home boarding which is coming in at £365 for 17 days. The carer says she will keep the dog in the same routine which sounds good. Our pup hasn't ever been away from us overnight away from the house. The carer I'm told is experienced and she seems nice enough. The only thing that worries me is at night time our pup sleeps in the upstairs hall. At the carers house she will have to sleep in the living room with her dog. I'm hoping the presence of another dog will calm our dog down at night, I would be mortified if she didn't settle or scratched her door down.

We haven't booked the pup in with this carer for the duration of the honeymoon as we have put down a deposit for the pup to go for a trial over night stay this weekend and we pay an extra 25 quid when we drop her off so over all the trial is £63

When I was speaking to my friend about the situation, she was shocked at how expensive home boarding is and she very kindly offered to look after the pup while we go away. I trust my friend totally with dogs, we grew up together and her family bred dogs for years. She also has a dog but its a small breed not a large breed like the pup.

Our pup is slightly scared of small breeds as she was bitten by a cocker spaniel. My friends dog is a Bichon Frise and the pup has met her dog and they seem to get on okay in the house. My friends dog constantly sniffs my dog and my friend was laughing saying her dog could mount the pup. Our pup is extremely friendly, shes a Labrador but the last dog that tried to mount her was a boxer and she very firmly told it off, I worry that if she did that to a bichon frise it could really hurt her just because of the difference in size.

That being said the two get on so far, they have had a lot of time together. The only thing my pup wont do is walk with her as shes scared so the two dogs need to be walked separately. I feel incredibly guilty about that because my friend is 12 weeks pregnant, has an 8 year old DD and because they stay in a flat it will be a right pain to have to walk the dogs separately.

I don't doubt for a second our dog will get lots of attention at my friends house, it wont be her "routine" at all though as its a very different house to ours. DH and I don't have any children yet and we have a big garden for the pup to play in.

DH and I both agree we have to do whats best for the dog. Personally I think hes leaning towards my friend and if it were up to him she would be going there. My concern with my friend is simply is it fair to put the puppy into a house that's completely different to hers with a different routine when it could stress her out? Especially when theres a child and a pregnant woman in that house? Is it fair to them?

I have discussed this with my friend. She says its fine and she can handle it, she has just assumed the pup is coming to her and her and her DD are really looking forward to it. Her house is a lot more relaxed which is a plus.Maybe I am over thinking it. I know I probably am.

The pup is meant to go for a trial this weekend at the boarders home. If we chose not to send her there we would lose the deposit. DH I think (but won't admit it) thinks we should cancel the trial as its a waste of money if we are just going to cancel the boarder anyhow. If the pup gets on there ok tomorrow when we collect her on Friday we are just going to be in the same position we are in now. The bottom line is it better for the pup to go to a local boarder in her familiar neighbourhood with a house that is similar to ours with similar walk times or would she prefer to be in an environment where she will have a child that adores her and will give her attention all the time but theres a dog there that she feels a bit nervous of in an outdoor setting? Is that fair?

DH thinks we are crazy for turning down someone offering to take the pup into their house for two weeks especially when they have a dog and child. And hes right I guess on paper. Opinions welcome!

Florin Wed 04-Jan-17 16:11:14

We need to leave our dogs for the first time this summer so I understand the worry. However personally I don't think a flat is a suitable place for a Labrador puppy. I also don't think someone who is pregnant and not used to a lab is a suitable person to look after them especially as they will have to be taken out separately. What if the pup pulled her over?

MidnightAura Wed 04-Jan-17 16:21:27

I agree with the walking and the pregnancy concern. I've raised it with my friend. She looked at my like I was crazy. She can walk the puppy as she has looked after her for the day before and because she stays in a flat, her dog gets a lot of exercise. The pup is actually very good on the lead, mostly walks to heel and only pulls if she sees a dog she knows so she can say hello. If its a dog she doesn't know or a situation she isn't sure of she lies down until the scary thing has passed. But its still a concern of course because whilst so far her pregnancy has been easy so far that could change I guess.

My friend is used to big dogs to be fair. Her family bred St Bernards and her parents still have two so theres nothing I think that our puppy can do that she hasn't seen before. She has no problem walking the puppy. The boarder tried walking her and she was a little excited because the boarder stays next to the dog park and the pup thought she was going there to play. The boarder has said she just wont walk her in that direction to avoid her getting excited.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 04-Jan-17 16:24:13

Can your friend move into your house for the duration of the holiday? House sitting and dog care in one go.

Whitney168 Wed 04-Jan-17 16:27:02

Well personally, neither sound ideal to me.

Have I misunderstood, or have you said that the home boarder is going to leave your dog loose in her house with a strange dog overnight without immediate supervision? Are you happy that the boarder's premises - garden, access to doors - are 100% secure - double gates to any exit point?

As an aside, as an 11 month old bitch, has your puppy had a season yet? If not, bear in mind that it is very likely she will come in to season as soon as she hits a strange environment. Are either of the other dogs in question male and entire? Are you 110% confident that if she had a season they would be careful enough (and tell you if by any chance there was a mismating)?

I've been very fortunate that I have never had to board my dogs, having always had family or known and trusted friends to step in. Unfortunately, I suspect that if/when I do have to consider it (and that is not far away, due to advancing ages of said friends and family), I will probably have to find the most palatable boarding kennel unless I can find a highly recommended tried and tested by people I know sitter. Most people I wouldn't leave a guinea pig with. sad

MidnightAura Wed 04-Jan-17 16:27:20

I wouldn't want to ask her too -that wouldn't be fair on her DP and DD. Her DD would have school and it would be too far away for her to get there, my friend and her DP don't drive so it couldn't happen for that reason alone.

drinkingchanelno5 Wed 04-Jan-17 16:29:56

I'm assuming the carer has insurance? If something happens to your dog while in your friend's care, who will foot the vet's bill? I would be inclined to go with the professional for this reason alone. Particularly with a child in the house and a dog that wants to hump him.

If you go with the professional, your dog will most likely be joining in with the sitter's existing routine. If she also runs a dog-walking business it will means lots of walkies (probably more than half a day out and about), lots of company of other dogs. He will be tired and happy, and in an environment set up to keep him safe. The professional will also be experienced in how to deal with any problems. If your friend is unwell/disinclined to exercise the dog properly/lax at dealing with bad behaviour he will be at an impressionable age to pick up bad habits quickly.

MidnightAura Wed 04-Jan-17 16:32:51

Whitney- The home boarder says that the dogs will sleep downstairs in the living room as that's where her older female Labrador sleeps. If the puppy gets upset and won't settle she will bring her upstairs.

We have been to her house, its a 5 minute walk from our house, the garden is 100% secure as is the doors which is a good thing as the pup has learned how to open doors.

She has had a season in November 5th. It was her first season.

My friend's dog is also a female.

There are pros and cons to both house, I just cant kennel the pup, she likes her company too much and our local kennel is not a nice place, having boarded a previous dog there we swore never again.

buckyou Wed 04-Jan-17 16:36:51

Could you have someone come and stay at your house? That's what we do when we go away. But I think you need to accept that there will be some differences to your dogs routine no matter what option you choose.

MidnightAura Wed 04-Jan-17 17:06:32

I agree there will be a change in her routine, I'm just wondering if I'm over thinking how the pup will cope with it.

We can't have someone coming to stay, I wouldn't like a total stranger in my house for a fortnight.

My friend is more than capable of dealing with a pup. My concern is she is pregnant and has a little dog I think my pup is scared of outside the house anyhow. Is it fair to put her in a situation where she may be frightened of my friends dog? Particularly when there is an eight year old child in the house?

So far indoors together the dogs have been fine. Outdoors my dog is scared of her due to a bad experience with a small dog attacking her.

The boarder has a dog, but its a big, placid Lab who didn't show any real interest in the puppy other than a brief hello. I don't worry about her trying to mount my dog. The boarder I'm told is very experienced and her dog is used to all sorts coming and going.

The boarder has insurance and is licenced by the council. I think I'm going to have to let the pup go for her trial there and see how she gets on there.
Depending on how that goes will determine what happens next, but if it goes well I know I'm going to be back in the same position.

Thanks everyone

LadyWhoLikesLunch Wed 04-Jan-17 17:09:27

I would go with your friend if she's willing and knows what she's letting herself in for.

Our 2 dogs stayed with a relative whilst we were on holiday this summer and they're routine is completely different from ours but dogs are very adaptable and once we were home the dogs only took a day or so to settle back into our routine.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 04-Jan-17 17:14:46

I'd keep it on a professional basis with the sitter.

You'll need her in the future for holidays/weekends away. Just build it into the cost of the holiday.

drinkingchanelno5 Wed 04-Jan-17 17:59:45

Something else to think about if you leave her with your friend - are you prepared to return the favour at some point?

buckyou Wed 04-Jan-17 18:01:05

I'm 35 weeks pregnant and manage to cope with my mental pointer pup. I'm sure if your friend is a dog person she will be fine. And I wouldn't worry about the little dog, they will sort themselves out.

MidnightAura Wed 04-Jan-17 19:13:05

Oh I would offer to have her wee dog absolutely. I do like her dog, its very cute but so tiny next to my dog and I'm worried my dog could hurt it accidentally in play or worse case scenario if her dog mounts my dog.

As weird as this sounds for a puppy she doesn't really annoy other dogs, like constant sniffing and licking. Shes used to dogs and she knows a lot of puppies but they are big breeds. My friends dog sniffs her backside constantly and doesn't tend to leave her alone, I just worry that could go wrong if the pup gets tired of it. Worse case scenario I know. I'm a worrier!

I do like the idea of the trial at the boarders house but I know as well its pointless if we are going to go with the other option.

FishChipsAndBeans Wed 04-Jan-17 20:10:55

I'd go with the professional boarder. Then you have someone you can use throughout the dog's life for future holidays, weekends away, emergencies, days out, etc. It's not a favour from a friend - it's a paid service to a professional dog sitter. This way you don't need to worry about 'putting on them' or anything. A good professional dog sitter is worth their weight in gold.

arbrighton Fri 06-Jan-17 14:47:26

I've used two different home boarders and friends when that wasn't an option.

One home boarder/ day care, I trust absolutely and dog has been going there since 16 weeks. She was happy as larry there while we were away for several weeks in Australia (and I paid over 400 quid for that stay, but for my peace of mind, worth it!) . Gets on well with other dogs there and will always stop at their gate to be let in when we walk past. They are fully licensed and insured. I get on well with them but I know and trust them as they know dogs. Dogs staying over sleep downstairs, all fed / walked/ played with/ cuddled as they like. They don't take dogs that don't 'fit in' with the group.

When we got married, normal boarders were away and I used someone they suggested. Much smaller set up but I was a bit stuck. We went and met their dog, all seemed ok. Came back to find out she'd allowed our dog in bed with her. Not really ok as a professional set up. If I see them out in parks on walks, I say hello but I wouldn't pay to use them again- it's not day in, day out, all they do each day like preferred one.

Friends who have had dogs in the past have cared for her for the odd weekend too. She's been spoilt rotten and allowed in their bed, but that's their choice and she seems happy there too but really it's a last resort- it's a family and unfair to put upon them (other stuff going on)

I wouldn't want to put upon a pregnant friend, plus I'd be concerned if your pup isn't used to being around children and, if she doesn't get on with their dog, you'll spend your honeymoon worried....

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