I was in Atlanta at a new Home Dog Training Client last week working with his Golden Retriever named Archie. Archie is a very active one year old who just needed a little reminding that he couldn’t run all over the house and put everything in his mouth. It didn’t take a long time to take care of these behavior problems. We used the Easy Walk Harness to correct his pulling and lack of focus while on neighborhood walks and put him on a very regimented obedience training program. All in all, it was a very successful lesson and our client was very happy with the outcome. As we were finishing up, he mentioned that the family was getting ready to take a Spring Break road trip to his brother’s beach house on Cape Cod. Archie had never been on a road trip for that long a period of time and he wondered if I had any suggestions.
I told our client that traveling with Archie does not have to be difficult and inconvenient. The one thing we forget in this process with our dogs is to prepare and observe. We must prepare what our dogs will need for the trip and observe their needs and their environment while we are traveling. So let’s jump right in with some observations and suggestions on traveling with dogs:
- Your dogs should have secure locations while in the car. This can be a crate, leash/safety belt, or any other place where they will not be shaken from sudden stops or quick “lane changes”.
- Do a “practice pack” of the car ahead of time. This will help you see just how much room you have actually set aside for your dogs. Place your dogs in “their places” to make sure that they actually fit and are comfortable in those places.
- If your dogs aren’t comfortable with car rides in general, start taking them on short rides to positively reinforce the experience.
- Sometimes the trip will involve leaving your dogs at a day care along the way. Make sure that their shots are all up to date and you have copies of all their medical records as well as emergency phone numbers.
- Make sure that your dogs have collars that fit snugly and that their dog tags are strongly attached with the correct information. We also like to take an extra precaution and suggest you chip your dogs.
- Exercise your dogs an hour or two before you start your trip so that they are nice and tired. Feed them early so that they have already pottied before the trip begins.
- Have food, toys, leashes, training leads, goodies, etc. packed and easily accessible as your trip begins.
- When you are on your trip, stop every two or three hours to let your dogs out to go potty and stretch their legs. Also, be sure to properly hydrate them while in the car.
- Always confirm directly with the hotel that they accept dogs and try to get a first floor room. When you reach your hotel, take them out as quickly as possible to allow them exercise and potty. Feed them early so that they have time to potty before it is “lights out” for the evening.
- Keep your dogs in crates if you are not in the hotel room with them. This assures that they can’t open the hotel door and “hit the town”. It also assures if a hotel employee enters the room, there will be no issues. (Some crate socialization may be needed before this can take place.)
- Plan your “away from the room time” so that you aren’t gone longer than they can “hold their potty”. You might have to stagger your “away from the room time” by coming back to the room for a short period of time to handle their needs.
- Be sure to spend as much “non-car” time as possible with your dogs while you are on your trip. This will help to socialize your dogs with unique situations and help build the bond between you and them.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.