Answered- Is it ok to leave my dog with friends when I travel?
When ever I travel, I take Benni to doggy daycare so somebody can take care of him. It's a lot cheaper to just leave him with friends but then he doesn't interact with other dogs. Which is better?
Vanessa Woods, Author of The Genius of Dogs, answered this months question. Enjoy!
That’s a fantastic question, and lucky for us, there is research that may be able to shed some light on it! In a study by Dr. David Tuber at Ohio State University, researchers looked at the expression of stress hormones when dogs were placed in a strange new context, in this case an unfamiliar room.
What they found was that when dogs were alone, their stress level went up significantly. The scientists were able to detect this due to a spike in stress hormones. Furthermore, the researchers found that even when dogs were with a familiar dog in the unfamiliar room, their stress hormones still spiked up. However, when placed in the unfamiliar room with a familiar human the dog had little to no increase in stress hormones. Throughout the time in the room, the dog stayed close to the human and sought out interaction frequently. The researchers believe that it was this interaction between the dog and human (not seen between the two dogs) that kept the dog calm and relaxed.
This research shows just how special our relationship with dogs is; when they’re somewhere strange and new, dogs prefer the company of humans to other dogs! So don’t feel guilty about leaving Benni with friends for the vacation, as long as these friends will take care of him, with lots of hugs and daily walks, Benni will probably be just as happy with humans as he would be at doggy daycare.
I am glad for this answer as I was sure that dog will be happier with familiar humans.I was always taking care of my parents dogs and vice versa. They have been happy with humans they knew. I somehow think that leaving dog in dog day care is similar as leaving child in hospital. They will be protected and care for but stress will significantly rise up.
You made a good point about dog-human relationship. A friend of mine got the second dog to keep company to his first dog when he is not at home. However, he figured out that the two dogs do not communicate/play together at all when they are alone. Their mood changes significantly when my friend is around.
Thank you for the guidance. I have one more question; my friend will leave her dog to me for a couple of days and I will need to leave the dog alone at home, as I have to go to work. How does the dog react, how does it feel afterwards?