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Prepping a Shiba for a longer than normal owner absence?
  • BearsDadBearsDad
    Posts: 167
    My girlfriend and I are planning a 10 day trip overseas for the new year, this will be the first time he spends a extended period of time without one of us present.
    We are going to leave him in the care of her brother at his house, which Bear has never spent the night at.
    He gets along great with him, but we are slightly concerned that he is going to have some anxiety issues while we are away.

    I would like to know, what the best way for him to get used to us not being around for a extended period of time? We plan on starting a schedule where he spends a night or two at his house every week, just so he can get used to it. But we are not really sure how he will be without us around for 10 days. If anyone has any insight or ideas they have I would very grateful! Thanks
  • My boyfriend travels overseas for work for months at a time and I visit him on occasion for as long as I can bear to be away from our shiba. In preparation for my first trip away Merritt would spend a few hours at my friends house while I ran errands or whatever. Then a couple nights a week he would have his evening meal at the friends house followed by a walk. Which graduated to him staying a night there. My friend would help with the feeding, walking and such even when I was present. Even now on days I am off from work we will walk over to my friend's and play ball in her backyard.
    Just gradually started to do normal daily routine stuff (feeding, walks, games) and increased duration of time as we went. You have a little over month to prepare your pup for a wonderful, calm, stress free staycation with the brother. I also pack items from home, such as towel/blanket, toys, treats. I don't pack dish because our shiba is used to eating/drinking from dish at friends house.
    *If possible both you and the brother should download smart phone app such as Viber so international communication can be frequent via the internet while you are away. It will help you worry less and the brother can send pics of all the fun your shiba is having on their staycation!
    My trips away have been up to 7 days, I just can't stand to leave my pup for any longer.

    Good luck and have fun!
  • Also I always let the vet know when Merritt will be staying with the friend. Friend has all vet info.
    I also had a tag made with my friends number in addition to Merritt's other information.
    She has a copy of his shots - just in case the boy gets into some kind of trouble while I am away.
    I also have a backup sitter in the event of an emergency with my friend.

    It sounds a little excessive but its better to leave the dog sitter prepared for the worst case scenario.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Is it possible to have the brother stay at your house? That would be the least stressful for Bear. It really depends on how well Bear knows the brother and how much they get along. If the brother spends time with Bear and takes him out for activities, then I'm sure Bear will be distracted and have fun. If he has another dog, that is also fun for Bear.

    When I adopted Taisho, I did so with the intention of giving him to my mom because her elder dog's health was failing and I knew she would need something to comfort her. What I didn't calculate was that my father would pass two months later, leaving mom alone. So after everything calmed down, I started integrating Taisho into mom's life. Every time I went to see mom, Taisho was with me. My soul purpose was to create a bond between them and let mom's house be a happy place so Taisho would not mind staying with her. Taisho, Kaji, mom and I did everything together (long walks, feeding, crating, etc..). Mom and I would leave the house for an hour or so, and crate both Kaji and Taisho. We extended the time as the dogs were doing well. Then it would just be Taisho alone. With Taisho, he didn't like being crated and once he knew we were coming home, he became better about it. We eventually got to trust him unsupervised, so we stopped crating him. He found a favorite spot to lay and got very comfortable. Taisho and I also spent a night or two at my parents' house while my dad was in the hospital, and shortly afterward, I would leave Taisho behind for a night or two. He was used to my mom's house by then and had no anxiety issues by the time I left him there permanently. We got Taisho Dec 30th, 2012. Millie passed away in Jan, my dad in March. Taisho was my mom's baby by late April.

    My mom and I went to Europe for ten days in Sept and had to leave our furries behind. But my husband and son watched both dogs at our house. Regardless, I worried... What I worried about was them getting walks and exercise as well as their food (I feed raw). And of course, my main concern was that they might die from loneliness from not seeing their mommies. Luckily, they survived but boy, were they happy to see us when we got home!
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3485
    How long will you have this schedule in place before you leave for 10 days?

    I would second what amti says and see if the brother can stay over at your house. My husband and I were gone for 7 days and left Bootz with my cousin (whom she known since he was a puppy and adores him and his dog) and she managed to escape. (Although luckily she came back). The chances of your dog to escape is less likely (in my experience) if they are kept in their own home/environment as they have learned their owners/parents will come back if they stay.
  • BearsDadBearsDad
    Posts: 167
    Thanks for the great responses.

    We are not going to be able to have him stay at our house, as much as we would like to.
    He actually goes over to her brothers quite often and they get along great, I think at this point it's just a matter of getting him used to sleeping there.

    That is a great idea about leaving the vet info with him, thanks for sharing that @kerichelle. That never even crossed my mind.

    We have it setup for him to stay there this weekend for a night so we will see how that goes. I am sure that it is going to be tougher for us being away than it will be for him lol.

    Thanks again, gave me some good insight that I will use for sure!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I think Bear will be fine if he's already been to the brother's house a lot. Letting him stay a few nights before you leave is good so he'll know you'll be back for him. I don't know if it is true but I've always heard dogs can't relate to time, so as long as you return, they will be happy. I wonder if there is a place to put a camera to record what he does when everyone is away. That way you can rest assured he will be fine if all he does is sleep while no one is home.
  • BearsDadBearsDad
    Posts: 167
    @amti Hmm that is interesting I have never heard about dogs not being able to relate to time. Her brother has a farm with a few dogs that bear loves playing with so I am hoping that they will keep him occupied lol. Also I will try the camera thing, great idea!

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