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Old 06-03-2016, 03:37 PM
 
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So in several months I am going to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip that will have me away from home for 2-3 weeks. The last time I went away for a week, my kelpie mix lost his ever-loving mind. He was barking all the time, destroying things and just generally miserable. My roommate was at the end of her rope. I don't want to put him in a kennel, but I will if there's no other option.

The Catahoula will be sad, but he adapts. The kelpie is an older dog (and is now allowed to remain uncrated inside the house, finally! Yay!), but he is very puppylike. I don't know much about his first months, but he did spend a good chunk of his first year very ill from paarvo (they were actually shocked he survived) and quarantined at a foster home. I suspect this has a lot to do with his attachment issues.

As it is, I work from home and he is constantly beside me. He's such a snuggly little love! Everyone he meets is his best friend. (He's very un-kelpielike in some ways - very very soft.)

Is there any way I can prepare him for my absence?
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:17 PM
 
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I wonder - but it might actually be easier for your kelpie to be boarded. He will have an entirely different dynamic with someone he doesn't know in a new environment, and that might make it easier for him.

I would look for a good boarding kennel where they get lots of social group play time or have a good day care. Start leaving him there for short periods of time- maybe an hour at first- during a time when he can play with other dogs. Stay with him at first and then slowly fade out of the picture as he starts to play. Try it a couple of times, see what happens and how he reacts. If you work on it slowly he will ideally get excited about going and won't notice when you leave him for longer periods. The key is to go slowly and not push too fast. Make the transition to the kennel/day care a natural part of the day that he looks forward to.

My hunch is that part of the reason he is having trouble at home when you are away is that he is always looking for you (because you are always together)- so switching up that dynamic and putting him in a good kennel where he has a different association (play and fun, but not YOU) may be easier for him.

Just take plenty of his favorite chews, toys, bed, and a sweatshirt or tshirt of yours for him to sleep with
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:00 PM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,436 posts, read 31,483,930 times
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WEAN him! Start 1st with leaving him without you for couple hours & Work up to over nite. While you are at it switch out time. for a few days leave for say 6 hours then leave for just a couple of hours. Don't get into an routine.
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Old 06-05-2016, 05:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvepaw View Post
I wonder - but it might actually be easier for your kelpie to be boarded. He will have an entirely different dynamic with someone he doesn't know in a new environment, and that might make it easier for him.

I would look for a good boarding kennel where they get lots of social group play time or have a good day care. Start leaving him there for short periods of time- maybe an hour at first- during a time when he can play with other dogs. Stay with him at first and then slowly fade out of the picture as he starts to play. Try it a couple of times, see what happens and how he reacts. If you work on it slowly he will ideally get excited about going and won't notice when you leave him for longer periods. The key is to go slowly and not push too fast. Make the transition to the kennel/day care a natural part of the day that he looks forward to.

My hunch is that part of the reason he is having trouble at home when you are away is that he is always looking for you (because you are always together)- so switching up that dynamic and putting him in a good kennel where he has a different association (play and fun, but not YOU) may be easier for him.

Just take plenty of his favorite chews, toys, bed, and a sweatshirt or tshirt of yours for him to sleep with
I had thought this might be a good idea. The Catahoula LOVES being boarded. There is an excellent boarding kennel in my general area, and the only reason I don't use it more is that it's in a very inconvenient location (literally the middle of nowhere). But yes, I could get the little guy used to the idea with some doggie daycare days. I don't mind the expense - like I said, once in a lifetime trip.

That said, I'm dreading the separation from my dogs. My own separation anxiety is pretty intense, except I won't be chewing a towel into little square inch pieces. LOL
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:26 AM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,436 posts, read 31,483,930 times
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No not a towel Just your finger nails BTW Dogs Can pick up on your separation anxiety. Can you leave theom over nite? I mean like before your trip see how they do?
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Canada
219 posts, read 110,471 times
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I leave my dog with a dog sitter who will take her into his home while I'm gone. He has a great way with dogs and I've left her with him while I'm gone for long weekends. Coincidentally I'm flying out to Europe tonight for 2 weeks and the sitter just picked up my girl about 2 hrs. ago. I miss her already!!! While I'm away he will text me updates on her. He takes her for daily walks to the park and tells me she sleeps with him on his bed!
I hope you can find a similar arrangement because I feel staying in a house would be less stressful than being cooped up in a kennel. Best of luck and enjoy your trip!

Edit: Just wanted to add that I agree with Katie1's suggestion to wean him in the meantime and get him used to being without you for short periods, then longer periods etc.

Last edited by Ceira; 06-05-2016 at 01:53 PM..
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:41 AM
 
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He does fine in the house without me right now for long periods, but yesterday we had a rather terrifying incident. I didn't latch his soft crate properly, and he shoved the zipper open at a flyball trial while I was running my other dog. He took off looking for me, becoming more and more panicked as he ran around the fairground until he eventually flung himself into a random crate and refused to come out, not even for my roommate or for super high-value treats.

I meanwhile, fearing the absolute worst, left my Catahoula with a teammate and took off running towards the main road, figuring that I would work my way back from there to try and head the kelpie off from that scenario. I've posted on here about how I am obsessed with teaching my dogs excellent recall. Well, the Catahoula ran fine for one race without me and then apparently heard me shrieking for the kelpie and totally lost his mind in the flyball lanes running all over the place looking for me in the venue, probably becoming more and more freaked out because the acoustics meant he couldn't tell where I was calling from. He was eventually caught, thankfully.

When found, the kelpie was shaking, would not accept treats and basically glued himself to me. I took him back to our staging area and sat in my chair to catch my breath and he basically crawled into my lap and would have crawled into my chest cavity if he could have. (Frankly, I would have carved out a spot for him there at that point - I was really freaked out and proceeded to stress-eat most of a bag of Doritos. I was not happy with the scale this morning.)

We will be starting doggie daycare as soon as he gets his bordatella at this point. I don't want him to lose it like that ever again. And we're switching back to a wire crate for travel.

I've never had a dog like this before. He literally LOVES EVERYONE. He has never met a person or dog he didn't instantly love, but if I'm not around, he is basically distraught and inconsolable. I've had one-person dogs during my life, but he doesn't act like that. My Catahoula and my border collies are/were always just sad when I was gone. The border collies spent the first 48 hours of one of my business trips laying on my bed except for walks and meals, and the Catahoula just hangs out in my room when I'm traveling or mopes. They've always still been reasonably RATIONAL.

We're also going to start his therapy dog training this summer for sure. He needs to get some confidence and independence.

Thanks for the suggestions here - I'm going to implement a bunch of them.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Lake Country
1,961 posts, read 1,572,118 times
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I feel for you. Consider a premium boarding facility and board both dogs in a private room together...that may reduce the separation anxiety. These types of facilities have become popular and thus more available.

When we left for a week's vacation in the PNW...uncharacteristic as we normally go up north to our cabin and the dogs come along...we boarded all three of our dogs (two with minor separation anxiety) in the same private room at an excellent local boarding facility that offers both typical kennel run and private room boarding. It was about an 8 x 8 foot solid walled room with it's own private privacy fenced outdoor 20 foot run for pottying. We had their dog beds in the room and the facility played music during the day. The staff took the dogs out twice a day into a large fenced enclosure for 15 minutes each to fetch or sniff or just hang out in the sun. They could've had group playtime with other boarders if we wished but I decided against that. The staff fed our dogs their raw food (which I had individually bagged for each meal) and supplements and gave them each a peanut butter filled Kong each night.

The facility owner encouraged me to call her for updates which I did, of course. One of our guys had a little loose stool but otherwise they did great. We chose some on-site underwater treadmill work for our most active guy and he enjoyed that. The woman who runs that aspect of their services let him hang out with her in the treadmill room at times while she did paperwork. I know her from agility class so that was cool.

The cost was $68 per day back in 2014. It was worth every penny and then some.

I agree with those who suggested acclimating your boy with some short stays. I had every intention of doing that but time got away from me. Our dogs were fine without. Since your boy is fairly serious about his separation from you I think acclimation would be pretty important for him. But again, I would take both dogs for acclimation to make the adjustment easier on your nutcase. :-)

Last edited by Jumpindogs; 06-06-2016 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:28 PM
 
1,706 posts, read 1,222,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
He does fine in the house without me right now for long periods, but yesterday we had a rather terrifying incident. I didn't latch his soft crate properly, and he shoved the zipper open at a flyball trial while I was running my other dog. He took off looking for me, becoming more and more panicked as he ran around the fairground until he eventually flung himself into a random crate and refused to come out, not even for my roommate or for super high-value treats.

When found, the kelpie was shaking, would not accept treats and basically glued himself to me. I took him back to our staging area and sat in my chair to catch my breath and he basically crawled into my lap and would have crawled into my chest cavity if he could have. (Frankly, I would have carved out a spot for him there at that point - I was really freaked out and proceeded to stress-eat most of a bag of Doritos. I was not happy with the scale this morning.)

We will be starting doggie daycare as soon as he gets his bordatella at this point. I don't want him to lose it like that ever again. And we're switching back to a wire crate for travel.

I've never had a dog like this before. He literally LOVES EVERYONE. He has never met a person or dog he didn't instantly love, but if I'm not around, he is basically distraught and inconsolable. I've had one-person dogs during my life, but he doesn't act like that. My Catahoula and my border collies are/were always just sad when I was gone. The border collies spent the first 48 hours of one of my business trips laying on my bed except for walks and meals, and the Catahoula just hangs out in my room when I'm traveling or mopes. They've always still been reasonably RATIONAL.

We're also going to start his therapy dog training this summer for sure. He needs to get some confidence and independence.
Oh my- that is scary. I am glad it all ended well.

You his human keep him anchored in thinking brain; he needs a "bridge" to help him stay in thinking brain/ understand that life won't end if you aren't there.

I would be sure the boarding kennel keeps him in an entirely enclosed area with a top.

If you are inclined to share, I would love to know where you are going on your trip
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:27 AM
 
13,677 posts, read 13,579,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvepaw View Post
Oh my- that is scary. I am glad it all ended well.

You his human keep him anchored in thinking brain; he needs a "bridge" to help him stay in thinking brain/ understand that life won't end if you aren't there.

I would be sure the boarding kennel keeps him in an entirely enclosed area with a top.

If you are inclined to share, I would love to know where you are going on your trip
Ireland with my two best friends, and then a short jaunt to Wales. I'm excited! But I'm gonna miss my dogs.

Roommate is saying she wants me to leave them with her because she wants to get the kelpie over his separation anxiety and some of his obsessive behaviors. I feel like 4 high-energy dogs for 2 weeks might just be too much for one person. Maybe I'll board the Houla and leave the kelpie with her. I don't know. The options are a little overwhelming right now.

But yeah, I think me disappearing short-circuits the kelpie's brain.
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