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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're on our breeder's list to get our puppy in March or April. She's having one litter that's due on Dec. 31 and another litter that's due in mid January. That's great news because it's a bit earlier than we thought it would happen. The bad news is that we have a trip planned at the end of April. We could have the puppy for a month by that point or just a week or two before we leave on our trip. Our puppy will be 3 months old.

I thought we'd have my parents take care of our puppy but they'll be out of town. Our only other option I think is to find a board and train facility. I hate the thought of boarding our puppy but I'm not sure we have another option. I'm not sure if they strictly follow positive reinforcement training or if they do a "balanced" approach (which I heard could be code for other approaches I'm not a fan of). Plus, it could be quite costly which isn't ideal but we'd do it if necessary.

What has been your experience with board and train facilities?
 

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IMO boarding puppies when they are young is not ideal, but please correct me if I'm wrong!

I'm coming at this with the perspective of someone that currently works at a boarding facility & works as a pet sitter. I find most puppies do very poorly in a boardiny setting. They are too young to understand kenneling and it can be very stressful for them. But really it depends on the program and what kind of boarding situation your puppy would be in.

I think if you have to take the trip, try to look into pet sitters in your area (not like wag or rover) that are willing to stay in your home with the puppy. I had a client with a 3 month old puppy who went on a trip and me and my coworker switched off watching him for practically 24 hrs a day. It worked, and we were able to teach the puppy some crate skills to boot. If you are interested in pet sitting, and can't afford having a sitter at home that long, absolutely practice crate training and playpen training as much as you can in a positive way. That way, you might get away with having the puppy crated for naps while sitter leaves the house for a break. If using a playpen, the puppy can even have indoor toileting access (like a litter box or pee pad) to reduce the need for a sitter's presence 24/7. Done right, you may be able to pull it off, but it is not easy to do this in a 2 month time window.

However, three months old is very young, and still within the critical socialization period (ends around 12-20 weeks depending on who you ask). Some boarding facilities will not allow puppies to board if they haven't been fully vaccinated either - at 3 months old, your puppy likely won't be completely vaccinated. Something to keep in mind if you go that route.

I'm sure board and train programs for young puppies exist but I would be very cautious and do a lot of research. I would at the very least make sure they are certified by an animal behavior/training org like IAABC or APDT to make sure their training and animal behavior knowledge is up to snuff. Ask a lot of questions, too, if you can. I do think depending on how long your trip is and where you are, this may be quite costly.

Alternatively, depending on how long your trip is, would your breeder open to keeping the puppy a little longer until you come home? Have you discussed this trip with them at all and asked their insight?

At the end of the day it might be worthwhile to consider rescheduling your trip if possible, too. Three month olds grow so fast, almost in the blink of an eye. You might not want to miss out on it!

This went all sorts of directions. If I've said something misleading or confusing please let me know! These are just my thoughts, I don't personally have experience boarding my own dogs.
 

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There is no way I could leave a puppy that young at a boarding facility of any kind. I would be a complete nervous wreck. I think this is not only a problem psychologically but is also a huge health risk IMO. I know adult dogs with healthy immune systems who have come home sick from boarding facilities. A three month old! Yikes! I would be scared to death or parvo even if she was fully vaccinated.
 

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I would absolutely NOT leave a puppy of that age at a "board and train" facility. And to be honest, I wouldn't let a puppy of mine go to someone that would be sending puppy of that age to a facility like that at that age. Talk to your breeder, and I would THINK that if it's the younger puppy, they might be willing to keep the puppy for a few more weeks (you may need to pay them) and take the puppy when you get home. THAT would be the best choice.

If it is the three month old puppy, I would try VERY hard to find someone who can do in-home boarding for you, hopefully with one or two small dogs in their home. I was able to arrange this kind of "boarding" for Kodi when I travelled when he was an "only dog", and he LOVED the people he stayed with. I dropped him off, and he said the equivalent of "See ya, Mom!" and went to play with his dog-friends! I felt so comfortable knowing he was happy and well cared for In the home of a very experienced dog people. Now we have a great person who stays here in our house with them, now that there are four!!!
 

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I would wait for a later litter, unless the puppy can go back to the breeder while you're gone. Waiting for later would be better. We have kept young dogs in such situations, but I don't remember one that soon after leaving. It's a critical time for bonding with the family, and a critical time for training in their new home.
 

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Are these the only litters your breeder has planned in the foreseeable future? Do you live near enough to your breeder that the puppy could stay there for the week? Have you talked about the timing issue with your breeder? They might be able to help problem solve, even if it means giving you a referral for someone else.

I really liked the daycare my Havanese started going to 1-2 days a week as an older puppy, but I would never send him that young for health reasons. I don’t even think they take puppies that young. At that age they aren’t fully vaccinated and their immune systems are immature. My puppy’s first and worst case of giardia was around 12-14 weeks, and sometimes puppies have minor illnesses around that age when they’re adjusting to new food, etc.

Finding someone to stay in your home is a good option in theory, but I’m not sure it’s realistic. I’ve been really fortunate finding sitters who take dogs in their own homes. However I’d be concerned about a puppy adjusting to two different homes in such a short period of time. If you can find someone willing to really work with the puppy, on potty training and socialization, you might be able to get by for a short trip, but I’m not sure I’d trust some of my closest friends to do this. I love them, but we have different ideas about dogs in our homes and different priorities in training. Anyone who has enough knowledge and flexibility to really manage someone else’s puppy in someone else’s home is going to be some kind of semi professional, difficult to find, hard to schedule with (especially around spring break time I’m guessing), and really expensive. Unless it’s that one in a million close friend or pricey private professional, I’d honestly be worried anyone else willing to do it doesn’t objectively remember the first few weeks with a new puppy ;)

As a side note on potty training, two of my favorite sitters are stay at home moms who would probably love the chance to snuggle with a Havanese puppy for a week, but neither of them would have any idea about how to manage indoor potty training. It’s an incredibly useful tool i wouldn’t want to risk losing at an age when they still need to go potty so frequently and potty training can spin out of control really fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all. I've been agonizing over this since finding out that the litters would be born much sooner than I thought. We'd feel terrible leaving so soon after getting the puppy so I think we'll need to cancel our trip. It's for a week and while we might not be able to recoup the cost, it's worth it to be there for the puppy. We have our pet sitter lined up for our cats, and while she does do overnights, she'd also charge us for 4 daily visits for the puppy. Understandably so, but it would be a fortune.

I hesitated posting this at all because it seems like we'd be irresponsible new owners to go away so soon after getting our puppy. We're not irresponsible at all though and I was hoping a board and train situation, while not ideal, would be ok. Thank you for telling me what I knew deep down. We want what's best and that's cancelling our trip.

Our breeder is across the country from us. She's going to fly the puppy to us. She doesn't know about our trip. We're not keeping anything from her- we just found out about the timing. I suppose I could ask her to keep the puppy a while longer but I'm not sure I want to do that. I'm not sure if she has another litter planned after this. I vaguely remember her saying that she was going to wait until next year to give her females a break. While we could postpone and wait til then, we'd prefer not to.

Thanks again for not judging too harshly. We really want to do the right thing.
 

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Thank you all. I've been agonizing over this since finding out that the litters would be born much sooner than I thought. We'd feel terrible leaving so soon after getting the puppy so I think we'll need to cancel our trip. It's for a week and while we might not be able to recoup the cost, it's worth it to be there for the puppy. We have our pet sitter lined up for our cats, and while she does do overnights, she'd also charge us for 4 daily visits for the puppy. Understandably so, but it would be a fortune.

I hesitated posting this at all because it seems like we'd be irresponsible new owners to go away so soon after getting our puppy. We're not irresponsible at all though and I was hoping a board and train situation, while not ideal, would be ok. Thank you for telling me what I knew deep down. We want what's best and that's cancelling our trip.

Our breeder is across the country from us. She's going to fly the puppy to us. She doesn't know about our trip. We're not keeping anything from her- we just found out about the timing. I suppose I could ask her to keep the puppy a while longer but I'm not sure I want to do that. I'm not sure if she has another litter planned after this. I vaguely remember her saying that she was going to wait until next year to give her females a break. While we could postpone and wait til then, we'd prefer not to.

Thanks again for not judging too harshly. We really want to do the right thing.
I applaud your frankness and concern, and find your willingness to cancel a long-planned trip to get the puppy you dearly want very admirable. Even if you decided to postpone the puppy, that too is very admirable. You’re going to be a wonderful home for this puppy!
 

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Thank you all. I've been agonizing over this since finding out that the litters would be born much sooner than I thought. We'd feel terrible leaving so soon after getting the puppy so I think we'll need to cancel our trip. It's for a week and while we might not be able to recoup the cost, it's worth it to be there for the puppy. We have our pet sitter lined up for our cats, and while she does do overnights, she'd also charge us for 4 daily visits for the puppy. Understandably so, but it would be a fortune.

I hesitated posting this at all because it seems like we'd be irresponsible new owners to go away so soon after getting our puppy. We're not irresponsible at all though and I was hoping a board and train situation, while not ideal, would be ok. Thank you for telling me what I knew deep down. We want what's best and that's cancelling our trip.

Our breeder is across the country from us. She's going to fly the puppy to us. She doesn't know about our trip. We're not keeping anything from her- we just found out about the timing. I suppose I could ask her to keep the puppy a while longer but I'm not sure I want to do that. I'm not sure if she has another litter planned after this. I vaguely remember her saying that she was going to wait until next year to give her females a break. While we could postpone and wait til then, we'd prefer not to.

Thanks again for not judging too harshly. We really want to do the right thing.
LOTS of people find themselves in your position… waiting for a long time for a beloved puppy, then scrambling to figure out the timing When it happens! You can’t put your life on hold for the whole time you are waiting for a “someday” puppy… then all of a sudden, it is real! :) We have another person on the forum (who is also a personal friend of mine) who had this exact same thing happen. They were thinking about a puppy next spring, and planned a winter get-away to a condo in Florida that does not allow dogs. Then, because of an unexpected turn of events, “Miss Right” became available to them this fall! It didn’t take them long to make the same decision you did! They cancelled the Florida trip, and after getting the puppy, took the puppy WITH them on a lovely “threesome” anniversary weekend!:)

There will be other vacations, both with and, without your puppy. But you really don’t want to miss those brief, formative weeks with him or her!
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you, HavaneseMe and Karen. If we were getting our puppy in May or June as we thought, this trip wouldn't have been an issue. When we learned about the new timeframe, we tried to figure out a way to make the trip work. Like I said earlier though, canceling is the best decision. My husband agrees that palm trees and the beach will have to wait. On to shop for puppy gear! 😂
 

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I think you've made the right decision unless your breeder could keep your puppy just a bit longer to cover your trip or if you could reschedule your trip to a time that would work.
My Shadow who will be 6 in March was a dog who was returned to the breeder more than once. Once after a few days. He was boarded alot with the next owners, probably most of his life was spent being boarded until I got him at 10 months. I think those early months in a new home are really important to a new puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, Tere. How sad that Shadow was returned to the breeder and boarded a lot before you found him. We have two cats and they've only been boarded once in their 16 years. After that, we hired a pet sitter when we went away. The place we had brought them to was nice but we learned that we much preferred to keep the cats comfy in their own home. I'm so glad we decided to cancel our trip.
 

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Shadow has not been away from me for more than 3 hours at a time. At first, he needed a lot and I didn't want him to feel abandoned again so no travel for his first year with me. Then came the dreaded P******ic. Now I haven't seen my family in 3 years and I would love to go this spring. I need to find somewhere to leave him and I am hating it. There are a couple friends that would look after him but their dogs often escape and get into things in the house or they are away for long periods during the day.
It's tough finding the ideal situation.
 

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IMO having a good, professional pet sitter is extremely valuable for many animals. I do both professional pet sitting and kennel/daycare work and I can say without a doubt that most dogs fair better when they have a chance to stay home. There are ways to tell if pet sitters are qualified pros, including certification with pet sitters international and pet cpr/first aid training. Many also are insured which is a plus.

Another option is if you can find a professional that boards out of their own home instead of at a facility. Kennels can be fine for a lot of dogs, and don't usually pose a major health risk for healthy adult animals. Unfortunately for some dogs, the stress of boarding can put a lot of strain on their well-being and even their immune system. I will also add that many boarding facilities do not compensate their workers well and very frequently hire people with little to no experience with animals. I'm not saying that to scare anyone. Just to make people aware. Most kennel techs care about animals and love the animals they work with, so IMO most issues that arise are due to mistakes or ignorance (and often times it's the employees that are injured, not the animals!).

Friends can be hit or miss especially if they hold different standards for their dogs than you or aren't particularly skilled with animals. If you are able to write clear care instructions and can ask for updates it might be ok, but even I struggle to trust most people with my dog 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We love our pet sitters. We hired one years ago and then she brought on someone to work with her. Now her coworker is usually the one who takes care of our cats when we're away. When our puppy is older, we'll bring him or her to my parents' house. My parents are both retired so they're home most days. Our pet sitters will still drop by twice a day to care for the cats. I wouldn't want to burden my parents with three animals. 😊
 

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IMO having a good, professional pet sitter is extremely valuable for many animals. I do both professional pet sitting and kennel/daycare work and I can say without a doubt that most dogs fair better when they have a chance to stay home. There are ways to tell if pet sitters are qualified pros, including certification with pet sitters international and pet cpr/first aid training. Many also are insured which is a plus.

Another option is if you can find a professional that boards out of their own home instead of at a facility. Kennels can be fine for a lot of dogs, and don't usually pose a major health risk for healthy adult animals. Unfortunately for some dogs, the stress of boarding can put a lot of strain on their well-being and even their immune system. I will also add that many boarding facilities do not compensate their workers well and very frequently hire people with little to no experience with animals. I'm not saying that to scare anyone. Just to make people aware. Most kennel techs care about animals and love the animals they work with, so IMO most issues that arise are due to mistakes or ignorance (and often times it's the employees that are injured, not the animals!).

Friends can be hit or miss especially if they hold different standards for their dogs than you or aren't particularly skilled with animals. If you are able to write clear care instructions and can ask for updates it might be ok, but even I struggle to trust most people with my dog 😅
IMO, Havanese are RARELY suited, temperamentally, to boarding kennel situations. Too much barking, too much kennel time, "play time", when offered, too often with inappropriate dogs. Staff RARELY able to handle their coats unless they re in SHORT puppy cuts, so be ready to come home to a matted mess.

In home boarding can work very well WITH THE RIGHT PERSON. Both of the situations I used were with very experienced positive based trainers, well known to me, and also well known to Kodi before he boarded with them. He loved both people before he stayed with them, and ALSO got along with at least one small dog in each home, and was kept STRICTLY away from the large dogs in the home. His demeanor when I picked him up made it very clear to me that I had made good choices. Although he was happy to see me, he was not at all stressed to have been there. He LVOED being with their small dogs!!! His coat (he was in full coat then) was a mixed bag. One of them had NO experience with a coated dog, and I DID have quite a mess to deal with when I got him back. But it was still worth it, knowing he was happy and safe with her. The other was also a professional groomer, and he came back BEAUTIFUL and freshly bathed as well as everything else!!!

The person who stays with them now comes from a service in our town that provides dog walking services as well as other dog care services. They sometimes send other people if I just need drop-in care during the day, (if I'm away, but Dave is home, so will be there over night) but when we are both away, they always send the same person, Marilyn, who stays with them. She took the time to come and learn from me how to fully comb my dogs out! So she can even comb out those in coat. I do make it easier for her, by having a professional groomer come in once a week to bathe the dogs in coat and give them a COMPLETE, to the skin comb out, and tell Marilyn to skip anything that seems too difficult or "ouchy". She knows it's better to leave a knot than to touch anything with scissors!!! LOL! She sends me photos of the dogs several times a day, and updates on who has peed and pooped when! LOL! We love her!!!

They have EVEN arranged a "puppy sitter" for me when I've had a litter and needed to be at the hospital for a day. Panda was really quite capable of dealing with the puppies except for giving them much, but I did not feel comfortable leaving them alone for that long. They sent a lovely young girl who spent the day on "puppy watch", just picking poop out of litter boxes, feeding lunch and having fun with puppies. I could see everything on my puppy cam, but it STILL made me feel so much better having someone there, on site, "just in case"! So check around. You might find that you have a dog sitting service in your area too. It is good to try them out for short term assignments and get to know them before you need them for something longer.
 

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The good news is that I really dislike travelling these days. I'd like to go home(not in winter, eh!) to see my family. Vacations, no.
I really need to work on this. Somewhere around me there must be a competent person. One of my dogs I did board at a pet resort after having bad experiences with people. Unless I find someone good, Shadow will probably go there but it is not ideal.
 
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