It’s the time of year many of us start planning a trip. I recently took a trip with my dog, Geo. I was shocked at all the baggage Geo had while I had a tiny suitcase and my computer bag. I brought everything he might need—several different types of leashes, bowls, food, treats, bed, crate, first aid kit and many, many toys,. We were ready for anything. Along with packing these necessities, there are some other considerations, basic canine manners.
Your dog is used to the routine in his territory, his house and yard, but being in different surroundings may be quite unsettling. In my last article, I spoke to you about the importance of socialization. Spot will be a much better traveling companion if he has daily car rides to the store, park, bank or coffee drive thru.
He will also be much more comfortable during a long car ride and then expected to settle into a hotel room or camp site if he has some real world skills. If he knows some basics:
- Recall-your dog with come back to you in every situation—particularly useful if camping
- Wait at doors-useful getting in/out of hotel rooms, tents, cars
- Watch me-able to get your dog’s attention when there are distractions
- Settle- your dog can lie down and relax in new situations
- Sit-your dog will stay in one place
- Crate training-safety in the car, hotel, camp site
You want to work on these a month to three months in advance.
Teaching your dog to look at you in the presence of distractions, settle on a mat, and sit or down/stay is fairly easy to teach—those are the basics you would work on in a Good Manners dog class. Settle on a mat is particularly good because it gives your dog his own territory, a constant when he is traveling. Another good practice to have your dog automatically wait at doors until you tell him its ok to go through, it’s great when you have visitors or are a visitor, needing to get bags through a door at home or in a hotel. There would be nothing worse than having Spot blow through your tent flap or camper door in chase after a squirrel or deer. This is when a solid recall would come in handy! You might want to have Spot can sleep in a crate if you are still working on that solid recall. Crate training can be easy but you want to have time before your trip to have your dog adapt to settling down in a crate. Crate training has a practical everyday use, if he goes to the Veterinarian for surgery, he will be in a kennel. These are basic manners every dog should have whether for everyday or visiting Grandma in the next town.
I’ve always traveled with my dogs and we had a lot of fun and adventure. Someday I’ll tell you about Rocky and Nestle, my first dogs, getting a bath at a truck stop in Indiana. Yes, we all make mistakes.
I still think it’s worth packing all the extra bags and equipment.