19 Oct | Posted by Carmelina Tortorelli | no comments |
While taking your dog along can make the family vacation more fun for everyone, if you plan carefully. Here are some trip tips to make traveling with your dog enjoyable and fun for the whole family.
A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car and is required for airline travel. It can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Look for these features when purchasing:
The same can be done for any new situation your puppy or young dog may encounter over their lives. Gannon recommends slowly introducing dogs to new situations like being in the car, going on a train, or staying over at a friend’s house or hotel. Start by practicing in short sessions and then gradually increasing the time from there.
If you have time before your next vacation, practice ahead of your trip by taking your dog and a crate to a friend’s home. From there you can leave your pet in another room, listen in, and even set up a tablet to Skype in and see how things are going. If they’re sitting there quietly, you can say over Skype, “quiet, good quiet,” so that, even though they can’t see you physically in the room, they know you’re there watching.
“Now when you go on a trip, your dog has already practiced. “I do it as often as I can. Mix it up when possible as well.”
The goal of this exercise is to have the dog accomplish the task while maintaining a calm, even demeanor. Once your pup graduates from this activity, you can have a friend practice driving you and your dog around, with the two of you seated in the back seat.
To us, the things our dogs are doing may not seem like a big deal, but something as small as sitting in a new house or hotel lobby may feel like a big accomplishment.
“The best thing you can do when traveling is letting your dog know, ‘you’ve got this. “The more praise we can give them, the more confident they become.”
When traveling with dogs, we think we want to give them a great vacation. But, we often think about trips through the lens of the human experience. Some people may think that, because they don’t like rules on vacation, their dog doesn’t need them either. That’s a mistake, as routines help dogs thrive.
Even dogs that act calm and obedient at home may be startled or act differently in situations that frighten or stress them out. Things like crowds and loud noises may be problematic.
Instead of correcting, it’s best to walk away or redirect when your dog begins having challenges. If needed, put your dog in a crate or keep them on a leash to maintain control over the situation.
Your dog may just need to blow off a little steam or focus on something different other than all the new stimuli involved with traveling. Having a few toys around can help give your pup something else to look at and focus on.
For instance, while you’re traveling in the car, it may seem like a good idea to sit next to your dog and pet them. But doing so early on may establish a routine wherein dogs think they’ll get petted every time. This may lead to issues when you’re unable to fulfill that expectation every time.
Every moment you spend with your dog, you’re teaching them something. Some of that includes the things you may not want to be teaching. If you allow or encourage things like panting at the window or circling in the backseat of the car, you’re letting your dog think those things are acceptable.
One of the biggest mistakes owners can make is to vocally give dogs sympathy and empathy in a way that comes across as praising a negative behavior. Saying things like, “it’s OK, it’s OK” can be harmful. While you may think you’re calming your dog down with a voice, it actually may translate to them as praise for fearful behavior. Instead, try saying “leave it” when a dog is anxious or giving them a command they can be praised for, such as “sit.”
Traveling with your dog can be one of the best things about a vacation. As with any aspect of travel, good preparation is key, however, so make sure you establish good behavior from your dog from the start to maximize enjoyment.