Another long weekend is upon us. Are you travelling this weekend? Many people will be heading out to visit friends and family and bringing their dog along for the ride. Being that summer is just around the corner, a time when we all travel somewhere or other; I have decided to do a three part travel blog. Today will cover a day trip with your dog; things to do, not to do and what to be prepared for.
Lets first discuss the car ride itself. Does your dog get car sick? If so, then you have work to do before the full day of travel arrives. Most car sick dogs can be completely rehabilitated with just a bit of work. Creating a positive association to the car can be all that is needed. Most dogs get worse because they start to associate the car itself with the horrible feeling. Many start drooling before they even get into the car; which is a clear sign of negative association. Here is a past blog to help you work through the negative association and turn it into a positive one.
Next, how does your dog behave in the car? If they leap around like a maniac or try to climb onto your lap while you are drive then a crate will be the best and safest way for them to travel. Dogs need to learn to behave and be still when travelling. If you don't want to crate your dog during travel then you need to train them to stay where you put them. A dog who is constantly trying to get up front is a danger to you and themselves.
Preparation is one of the most important factors when traveling with your dog. If your dog has had free access to the whole car and is accustom to going where they please; then slapping a harness on them and strapping them in could cause a big problem. Harnesses are great for traveling with your dog if they are use to them. Many dogs freak out and struggle when strapped in which can cause dangerous situations. So train them to wear a harness and be comfortable and calm while doing it.
What should you bring along for a day trip? Water, bowl, food, snacks/treats, toys, blanket/bed, harness/collar and 2 leashes. I always have extra leashes in my car for those 'incase' moments. Be prepared. What if you get to where you are going and your dog must remain leashed? Having a bit of extra length can save the day. Not all places have water so make sure to have that available. Also bring your dogs food and make sure that others are not feeding your dog who knows what all day. A blanket or bed can give your dog a familiar place to lay their head. There may not be a comfy spot to lay down so you need to bring that with you. Don't forget any daily medications needed. You never know when you'll be held up somewhere overnight so make sure that you have any prescriptions needed. I always have Benadryl with me because of Elsa's allergic reaction to bee stings.
Above all, watch your dog. Watch your dog around other people and other dogs. Watch them closely for signs of stress and if they become stressed, get them out. Even if you have the most well adjusted, social dog; things happen and you do not want to put your dog in a position where something bad might happen. Keep your dog with you. Don't expect more than your dog can handle and do not set them up for failure. Know your dog and what they can handle. If your day will be filled with lots of people in close quarters; make sure your dog is good with that before bringing them along.
Have fun, be careful and watch your dog.