I have two lab puppies that will be 6 months old next month. My husband and I live in Germany and are going on vacation to the states for 2 weeks in July. The pups have never been without us- we got them at 5 weeks- and we're really nervous about leaving them! We found a great kennel here that a lot of people have said they trust, but we want to know if there is anything we can do to abate their separation anxiety? We both work so they're alone during the day already, but any advice on other things we can do to make it easier for them? Thanks!!
Hopefully the pups will room together? That should help.
Below is a copy of a post I've made; it has some ideas you can use:
Unlike many others on this forum, I'm not opposed to using a kennel as long as it's a good one. They can vary from being a small cage from which the dog is allowed out to pee & poop a couple times a day to those that are essentially recreational resorts for dogs.
Just carefully look over the facilities and the schedule your dog would follow.
Since each dog has different personalities and needs, what works best for one when separated from you would not work well for another.
I'd far prefer a kennel for Puff than a pet sitter or boarding in someone's home. Puff is so closely attached to me, I'd be in continual fear that she'd run off and try to find me if she was in any place not totally secured against that.
I've had both bad and good experiences with kennels.
When Char and I married, we'd had Bess for about 2 years without ever leaving her. Then while we were honeymooning for 10-14 days, Bess went in a kennel. On our return, Bess -- this most affectionate and people-oriented of all Labs -- acted as if she didn't know or want to know either of us. She was almost psychotic around us and everything that seemed to previously interest her lost value -- food, being petted, etc. Finally (DUH!) after a couple days of this I took her out with her Training Dummies to play fetch. That snapped her out of it and she returned to her normal self.
In time, my job and marital status changed and I made frequent in-state and out-of-state trips. On some, I could take Bess, on others, not. I found another kennel, "Holly Lane," operated by a woman who breeds and raises championship Boxers. Maybe 10 of its 40 kennels are occupied by her dogs while the remainder are available for boarders. Their indoor rooms are large (4x8 ft/1.22 x 2.44m), temperature controlled, and attendants can raise a sliding door that gives each dog access to an individual concrete run (4x24 ft/1.22 x 7.3m). Runs are divided by chainlink fence walls and covered with the same material. Dogs are allowed out for long periods through the day which gives them the opportunity to sniff & run next to neighbor dogs. I left Bess there many times with never the hint of a problem such as we first had.
When I took Puff to be spayed at the KSU-CVM Teaching Hospital at 6 months age, since it was so far away, I booked her in at 5 PM the night before the spaying. Their procedure is to keep the animal overnight for observation. It was noon the day after surgery before I could pick her up which meant we were separated for the first time -- about 43 hours. After the experience with Bess, I wondered what Puff's would be.
Another family with 2 preteen daughters was also waiting when they brought Puff out for me. Puff ignored me but schmoozed the girls. I paid the bill and led her to the van. She ignored me totally and I let her keep her distance and her miff for the 50 mile trip home. About half way home, she warmed up, and began nuzzling me and licking my hand. So she rapidly forgave me.
IF you do decide to use a kennel, and after investigating, find one that seems adequate, I suggest it may be worthwhile for all of you to arrange at least one overnight stay for your Lab so it experiences that a separation doesn't mean forever; maybe even do that a couple times.
Since those experiences with Bess and Puff, I've occasionally kennelled Puff -- and I use Holly Lane. To avoid any change of diet, I package each of her meals individually and label the days, including some extra days, just in case. I take along her bed (a plastic shell 28"x22" which has a pillow inside a pillowcase on its bottom). I slip a sweaty T-shirt I've worn inside the pillowcase so she'll have a reminder of my scent, and also bring her stuffed Teddy Bear so she'll have some familiar things with her. When we drive in to Holly Lane, she's always happy to be going there as well as happy to see me when I pick her up.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 07-04-2009 at 11:33 AM. Reason: addition of more information
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":