Summer Travel With Your Dog: Part 1

The school year is ending and summer vacation planning is in the works. Taking a trip that includes your dog can be a great fun adventure for the whole family. Before setting out, here are a few training tips to make sure the trip goes smoothly.

Crate Training
Whether you are driving or flying, having a crate trained dog will be very important for the traveling portion of the trip and when staying in a hotel or family or friends’ homes. If you are flying, your dog will need to be in a crate during the trip. A dog that sees his crate as a happy safe place will be less stressed on the trip. If you are traveling by car and have enough space, putting your dog in a securely fastened crate will be the safest place for him.

When you arrive at your destination, crating your dog when unsupervised will keep him safe as well as the home or hotel you are staying in. In addition, many hotels require dogs to be crated in the rooms.

Polite Greetings
A well-mannered dog will be much easier to take on vacation and is more likely to be invited back. Practice polite greetings (four feet on the floor or sitting) with everyone your dog meets for a few weeks before heading out on your trip as a refresher on the proper way to greet new people.

Go to Your Mat
When on outings with your dog, you’ll likely stop for lunch or dinner at a nice outdoor cafe. If you have trained your dog to go to her mat, she can hang out on the mat next to your chair while you enjoy your meal.

If you will be exercising your dog off leash while on your trip, a Reliable Recall will be critical in order to do so safely. I always recommend attaching your dog to a long line when visiting new off leash locations so you can see how your dog reacts and check to see if there are any unsafe areas or activities there. A good prep for this is to attend one of our Reliable Recall classes to learn how to build a rock solid come.

Plan Ahead
Airlines will only allow pets to travel in cargo if the temperature is below a certain level at both the origin and destination cities. Try to travel early in the morning or late at night to make sure your trip isn’t interrupted due to the hot weather.

If you will be staying in a hotel, make your reservations early and be sure to ask about their pet policies. Some have pet fees, others have size and/or number limits.

Be Prepared
Take time to research important services at your destination, such as:

  • veterinarians
  • emergency vet hospitals
  • pet stores (make sure they carry your dog’s brand of food)
  • dog parks or other dog friendly exercise locations
  • groomers

The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be on your trip. Traveling with your dog can be such a great adventure with a little preparation and planning.

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