Will your pooch be going over the river and through the woods with you this holiday season? The first time I brought Eddy traveling with me, I did a whole lot of research. I wanted to make the first trip a positive experience because I knew he’d be traveling with me a good bit. He is now a wonderful co-pilot!
Here are some tips and tricks I learned through my research, or the hard way.
- Bring your dog’s blanket
- It’s best if the blanket isn’t freshly laundered too. That way your dog has something that smells like him and his home. This blanket can serve double duty in case there is a mess made on it. Now the mess is on your blanket, and not on your car seat, or a blanket belonging to your host.
- New friends = treats!
- I was so nervous the first time I brought Eddy home to meet my grandparents. They aren’t dog people, so the pressure was really on to impress them. When I pulled in their driveway, I left Eddy in the car for a minute while I brought a bag of treats inside. I instructed my grandparents to have treats in hand for their first encounter. After our quick post-carride walk, I brought Eddy inside, and he met the new humans who had such tasty treats for him!
- Post-carride walk
- One of the dog behavioral things I read was that dogs don’t necessarily understand that being in the car gets them to a new place. They need the action of walking with their pack to understand that they’ve truly traveled. And let’s be real, the humans can always use a walk after being cooped up in the car. Eddy is old and small, so we usually just circle the block. If your dog is larger or has more energy, a longer walk might be in order. But you know your dog best!
- Let him explore, but keep the leash on at first
- When we get to a new place, I always make sure to walk Eddy around on the leash before unclipping him. It’s a good way to make sure nothing spooks him, and that he doesn’t get into mischief right off the bat. He’s usually not a marker, but I’ve seen him lift his leg in places where other dogs marked previously. Eddy isn’t destructive, so after a quick lap he can usually be trusted off leash. He’s also clingy, which means I don’t have to look far to find him (he’s snuggled up to me as I write this).
- Dog-friendly hotels
- Eddy stayed with me in a hotel a couple of times, and boy was THAT an experience! Hotels have a lot of unusual smells because so many people pass through. It can also be a little crazy if there’s a big crowd checking in at the same time you are. For one trip, I had a lot of luggage (because heaven knows neither of us travels light haha), and Eddy and I were traveling alone. The first week I took him, I tried to lead him on his leash while I pushed the luggage trolley. Nope. Apparently those things are absolutely terrifying from Eddy’s perspective. I learned from my mistake, and the second week, I left Eddy in the car for the couple minutes it took me to check in and bring the luggage to our room. Then, I was able to give him all my attention and just the two of us walked to the room.
- Keep the collar on at all times
- This may sound like an obvious one. But your dog is in an unfamiliar place, so it is absolutely essential that his collar stay on, just in case. We hate to think about getting separated from our dogs, but things happen and you’ll be able to take comfort in knowing your pooch has your name and contact info attached to him. Eddy only got loose once, and I thought I was going to lose my mind. We found him in only a minute and a half or so, but it was the longest minute and a half of my LIFE! And of course it was shortly after we moved, so he wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood from walks yet. Since then I’ve been extra vigilant; the collar only comes off at bedtime.
- Have fun!
- Hopefully by the time you’re traveling with your pooch, you are comfortable with his level of training. This is your furry friend. The two of you (or more) should be able to relax and enjoy the excitement of travel. Change is stressful for dogs, and they are very sensitive to your energy. If you’re freaking out, Fido will pick up on that and be on edge. So enjoy your time away from home!
Be sure to share your own doggy travel tips in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @finickypooch.
Happy travels! <3 Caitlyn and Eddy