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When we had Dottie, and up until recently with Schatzi, my girl friend's daughter, Addie, (college grad with a degree in wildlife) would stay at our house and watch our dog. Now she has a boyfriend (how dare she :eek:) and although I do not care about both of them staying here, they now do things on the weekend that is more fun than watching my dog (can you imagine :eek:). Anyway, now I must find someone who can watch her. Family is not an option so I must look for someone else. We have no immediate plans but I do like to be prepared and have something lined up just in case.

My options are having someone stay at our house or having her stay at someone else's house, I personally would never have her stay at a vet's or a boarding facility. Here are my thoughts and concerns -

If someone stays by us, they obviously will not be in our house 24/7 so I worry about how much exercise/stimulation she would get. Normally, Schatzi is excellent in the house (she is not crated) but when she gets super bored, anything in range is fair game for chewing. Once when our regular pet sitter could not stay, another friend's daughter (Nicole) stayed with Schatzi and we came home to a pillow that was destroyed as well as a huge hole in the guest room comforter. Nothing horrendous but still I prefer no damage. I have received recommendations for another person (Victoria) to stay by us (my neighbor used her with her 2 pits). More mature, takes care of dogs for a living, has 5 of her own (2 pits, 2 boxers and a pug - her boyfriend watches their dogs when she sleeps out). She would be in my house from 5pm to 8am and them come back in for a midday walk. She charges $75 (currently I pay $65, but my friends daughter has been with me for a long time and never raised my rates, although for others I know she charges more), which I think is a bit high but I might be out of touch with prices. This lady came over yesterday and met Schatzi and Schatzi loved her and she was very good with Schatzi

My other option is to have her stay at someone else's house of which I have many people and lots of recommendations of who to use. I have a bunch of concerns about Schatzi sleeping out. The first, and probably biggest concern, is that Schatzi is particular about where she poops and pees and I am concerned that if she sleeps out she will not make outside and will have accidents. My second concern is most people that watch dogs in their homes watch more than 1 at a time and while I know Schatzi is excellent with other dogs, I do not know the other dogs and also different groups of dogs have different dynamics. What I like about a few of the people that do watch dogs in their house is that they are home just about the whole time with the dogs so I believe that she will get plenty of exercise. The rates for her to sleep out are more reasonable but truly that is secondary.

What do you do? How do you pick the right person. Can I just go by gut instinct and how it appears that Schatzi does? Again, we have no immediate plans but I am trying to be prepared. Thank you in advance
 

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My husband and I didn't take a vacation together for years as this was such a dilemma for us. Finally the day came that I was gifted a Hawaiian vacation from my employer that we just could not pass up :) It was in the planning for a year and I was a wreck the whole time trying to decide what to do. Family was out as we do not have children and I didn't want to burden others with the BIG job. I spoke to our well respected veterinary and she gave me a list of contacts of girls that either presently or previously worked at the vets office. (It is a large office with many doctors) and also told me which she felt would be the best fit for Ruby. The girls on the list were mostly overnighters like one of your options. And then one day out in front of our house I see someone walking my neighbors dog so I started a conversation with her. She was a professional pet sitter with insurance, references, etc. and she lived fairly close by.

After talking to both ladies I decided to go with the professional pet sitter. Ruby is 8 and is the queen of the house, no worries of her getting into anything, she loves to sleep! I had the sitter come by 4 times per day, 2 of the times she would walk Ruby and the other 2 times were to provide social contact and love. I also set up 2 nest cam cameras to be able to log on and check on Ruby and the house (and the sitter). The entire experience was awesome. Ruby was happy that she got to stay in her comfortable surroundings and still got to go out for walks. The camera and the many pictures that the sitter texted to me definitely eased our minds and we enjoyed our vacation together!!

Now we are considering getting a puppy so it looks like a couples vacation may not be in our future for awhile :D
 

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After talking to both ladies I decided to go with the professional pet sitter. Ruby is 8 and is the queen of the house, no worries of her getting into anything, she loves to sleep! I had the sitter come by 4 times per day, 2 of the times she would walk Ruby and the other 2 times were to provide social contact and love. I also set up 2 nest cam cameras to be able to log on and check on Ruby and the house (and the sitter). The entire experience was awesome. Ruby was happy that she got to stay in her comfortable surroundings and still got to go out for walks. The camera and the many pictures that the sitter texted to me definitely eased our minds and we enjoyed our vacation together!! :D
Does the pet sitter stay over or just visit 4 times a day? I would be very afraid to leave Schatzi alone over night.
 

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My husband and I work conventions for our businesses quite a bit. Mine are usually for 4-5 days usually 3-5x twice a year (for a total of 7-10 conventions a year). My husband's conventions are more often, but since he goes without me those aren't a problem. We have an employee who was taking our dogs into the office so they could spend the day in our offices where they were happy... but he got tired of taking them after one was throwing up in the office. (Pansy!) So now he will feed 2x a day and spend a little (very little) time with them. At least they are at home in their own surroundings, (have a dog door so they can go in and out and the yard is quite large) but because neighbors were complaining about barking we had to put citrus or the shock collars on them to prevent barking.... I hate it, but we try to be good neighbors...and we learned that the Boxer and Rott mix would be barking all night when we were gone and that is unacceptable. The Chi goes to another employee to live with her 24/7 while we are gone...or we take him (smuggling him into some places - conventions don't allow dogs, but he sleeps under the table in a little bed and I take him outside to potty in a dog carrier that looks like a purse and no one is the wiser. (Bill is a seasoned traveler, not a bit of trembling on air plane rides). I don't like leaving my dogs.. they are used to being with us 24/7 at home and in the office, but you do what you have to do... and yes, we do get retaliatory chewing (as well as the bored/nervous barking)... recently the Chi petsitter didn't realize Bill hates to be left alone and he tore up her door in the room she locked him in and caught a toenail that ripped off... but he was OK... the toenail is growing back... and I think she didn't realize what a baby he is. He loves her little girl, when her little girl comes to the office he gets excited and dances around...so I know he is good going to her house.

We have never had someone living at our house except once when an employee was working a convention in town while we were working another one in Seattle... and she just was there at night. They are OK to be alone... it's not preferable, but it's doable. They are not fragile china. If you have good fences and a comfortable situation they are OK.

We haven't taken a vacation in probably 6 or 7 years... it would be nice...the conventions are hard work but necessary to our lives. I think the dogs understand...

Years ago we didn't have anyone, so we got a professional pet sitter who had good references...but we got a message when we were in Memphis TN (we live in Cali) from the sitter very upset and nervous "I can't get your dog out of your bedroom, he keeps growling at me. I will never pet sit for you again." (after that was there a chance of it? what were we to do miles and miles away!) That was Haus, our very difficult Rottie that acted like he was going to bite you but never did... ugh... he was such a pill... as owners we knew him well...but for a stranger he was a knucklehead! The neighbor from across the street ended up coming to help the pet sitter with a bit of turkey to lure Haus out of our bedroom.... But the moral of that story is even pet sitters with good references might have a problem with your dog if you are not there and they do not know the dog that well. She did come to meet the dogs beforehand and everyone got along, but it's another story when you are not there and this person is a stranger in your house. At least currently our dogs know our employees and they are all comfortable with them.

In other sets of dogs we've had we never had a barking problem... just this bunch.... I notice Fiona the Rottie is not that big of a nervous barker, (it has to be an obvious thing for her to bark at it) but the others are/were. (Boxer now deceased.) Before this we usually had mostly Rotties and the nervous barking thing is not necessarily in their wheelhouse.
 

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We just went through the hurricane and were thinking of going to west fl. but it's not easy finding a pet friendly hotel/motel that doesn't have a breed restriction - so we rode it out 12hrs no power but everyone was safe. My best friend used house sit my Chow for me but told me flat out as much as she loves Tank she's too intimidated by him. And I don't really trust anyone else. I'm not a fan of boarding so I think if we ever get to go on vacation it would have to be camping so we could take them with us.
 

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Every time me and my family go for some out of country and vacation we consider the situation of my dog I want them to join on our vacation trip because I treat them as a important member of my family too.
 

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Sorry I didn't reply sooner..........I haven't check back in awhile. No the pet sitter did not stay overnight. Ruby is perfectly fine free in the house. A lot of that has to do with her age, she's one month shy of 9 years. The pet sitter did come 1st thing in the morning to let her out and came at bedtime to tuck in her for the night.
 

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If I go away for even a day and can't bring the dog(s). I leave them with a qualified babysitter. Even though I live in a rural setting. I'm not a fan of leaving dogs outside unsupervised. Ok they are outside by themselves but I always know their location in the yard. They are never alone outside more then a few minutes at a time! I have farm gates and farm style fencing. They can easily get out of my yard because they can easily go under the fencing and gates. I'm more worried about them going after a Coyote, they sometimes come out in the field beside my house during the day. I'm also a little worried they'll bother the neighbors horses and get kicked or worse. Net if I'm going to be tied up longer then their bladder control they have a person who knows how to handle them.
 
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