We have all experienced it…that twinge of guilt when we leave our dogs behind so we can go on a vacation or business trip. When you pull out your suitcase and start packing, your pup’s whole demeanor may start to droop. Seeing your beloved pet showing signs of mourning before you even leave the house may lead you to wonder what they are thinking while you are gone. Are they miser-able because of your absence, pining away, wilting and waiting for your return?
So much of being a pet parent is wondering what they are thinking and asking the all-important question: am I doing what they deserve? You can put the tools in place to answer that question by focusing on two areas: socialization and dog language.
To better understand and control how your dog will react to a situation, good exposure is key. Taking your dog to multiple environments (a neighbor’s house, the park, your local dog-friendly hardware store) can help them become more well-rounded and able to deal with unfamiliar situations.
Nothing helps more than understanding your dog’s language.
At Meyer’s we infuse speaking your dog’s language into every service available and offer a menu of many adventures for them. We have the unique advantage of watching your dog’s behavior evolve from the moment you leave to the moment you return. Here are the 5 big things we’ve noticed over the years.
1. I’ve Arrived! (Where am I?)
When a dog is staying with us we see a range of behaviors. They are using their senses like smell and hearing to take in a lot of information. Out-going, exuberant dogs pull to find out who is bark-ing or sniff vigorously to take in all the information they can about potential new friends! We often hear customers tell us that the excitement starts when they turn onto Irene Rd. These owners can leave with peace of mind, knowing their dog is going to enjoy themselves.
The more shy or timid dog will often stand right next to their owner or quaking between their feet, glancing at them for reassurance. This reaction tugs at everyone’s heartstrings and the pet parent pictures their dog looking like this for the duration of their stay. We want you to rest assured that this is rarely the case. Once their familiar person is out of the room, some do take more time to adjust, but most owners would be surprised at the positive change in their dog after as little to 2-3 minutes.
2. I’m Telling Others My Story
As you can imagine, the farm is a sensory wonderland for dogs. Unfamiliar cats and dogs provide every sniffer with new information to sort and process. Just like us, dogs have different personality types and they communicate with each other using their senses. We use these personality types to set all dogs up for a great holiday. Here is the structure we use to help your dog have an amazing stay at Meyer’s.
Any time you change your dog’s environment, go for a car ride, go to the park, to the vet or groomer their bodies take a certain amount of time to return to their natural state. We give them about 20 minutes to get used to being at Meyer’s before taking a look at their personality.
All dogs talk to each other speaking their language. Because they are very social creatures, we strive to place dogs next to each other so their personalities complement each other and they have a good time at the farm. Believe it or not, more insecure dogs benefit greatly from being around self-assured dogs. They teach them that it’s OK to relax and have a good time!
3. Is My Owner Coming Back?
I know this one is a tough one to swallow, but dogs do think it. First-time visitors have a harder time dealing with this than frequent guests. Dogs who stay with us often have peace of mind because they understand their family is coming back. We encourage that the first stay with us be a short one so your buddy gets the concept that you are coming back for them. We work incredibly hard to make the farm your dog’s home away from home, but nobody can replace you. Stay tuned for an upcoming email we’ll be sending you about how to help your dog gain confidence and get through this first stage of being away from home.
4. Chow Time!
Food is a big resource for dogs, so they do think about it a lot. It’s their paycheck, and like us, they like it on time. We do offer a good base food that is similar to most brands. We offer feedings multiple times a day to stay as close as possible to their home life schedule. You are always welcome to bring their food and we’ll follow your instructions. Dogs like a time-table and familiarity.
5. Let’s Play!
We encourage people to come out for tours during late morning hours because we can spend more time with them. Sometimes they may ask, why is it so loud? Answer: Because this is when playtimes start and the dogs know it and are clamoring to be first! Dogs do laugh and they are social, so play is a big part of the farm. Play and getting human attention and interaction is constant in their minds. Dogs typically learn in spaces of 2-3 days, but when it’s something they really want it can take as little as one day to figure that desire out. Pups staying with us quickly learn what time we start walks.
Knowing how your dog thinks can help you to help them have a great holiday. It’s these little things that will help you create a plan they’ll love, and you’ll go away with the confidence that they are having amazing experiences.