A reader asked what to do with her rambunctious — okay, she used the words “Tasmanian devil” — Pug while she was out of town. I turned to my friend and colleague, board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lisa Radosta, for help.
Q: I’m hoping to take a three-week trip to Europe next year, but I don’t like leaving my pug in a dog hotel that long, and she’s such a handful — think Tasmanian devil in pug form — that she’s not a great candidate for leaving with friends or family. My sister has my pug’s brother, and I feel bad leaving Lulu with her because together the two pugs are more than most people can handle. We are about to do another round of obedience training, but do you have any other suggestions?
A: For your question, we went to veterinary behavior expert Lisa Radosta, DVM. Her first piece of advice is to buy your sister an amazing present — maybe a fabulous pair of shoes she’s been coveting — drop shoes and Lulu off at her house, and go on your trip. While that might be the simplest and fastest solution, Dr. Radosta offered some other ideas to consider that might be more beneficial long-term.
First, she says, a three-week stay at a great pet hotel is not the worst thing in the world if it’s a place Lulu enjoys. You might consider taking Lulu to day care or for a weekend at a specific place on a regular basis. If you can see she enjoys it and is well cared for, you might feel better about leaving her there for a longer stay. Try to find one with a pet cam so you can check in on her any time of day or night.
A live-in pet sitter is another option. You can find one who will stay in your home 24/7.
Finally, a refresher training class is a good idea. Look for a positive-reinforcement trainer. You might want to try a couple of private classes as well. Good luck.
Read more, including how to honor our canine veterans, in this week’s Pet Connection!