The Must Do's For Traveling With Your Dog

The Must Do's For Traveling With Your Dog

If you're planning to travel during the holidays, here are a few quick tips on traveling with your dog before the season gets here.

● Secure your dog with a car harness or crash tested crate. Regular crates fall apart like a cracker in a toddler's hand in an accident. This can allow a dog to get free during the event of an accident and be lost. This happens more frequently than you think. Always use a crash tested crate, or better yet, a harness.

● You could bring your water and food bowls from home. But ceramic breaks easily and stainless steel ones rattle and are heavy. The best way to travel is to pick up a pair of collapsible bowls. Plenty of companies make them, but these Ray Allen collapsible bowls simply cannot be beat. And they're cheaper than the stainless bowls I've used for years for home use which was a big surprise for me.

● Sanitary wipes that are dog safe are another thing you'll want to bring along. When you make a pit stop to get food and let your dog out to relieve themself, you can't quite control the conditions. Muddy paws, and even worse, a little poo or pee on their coat are not things you want in your car. Cleaning wipes can take care of that in no time. You can also use them to clean up drool or any other small messes.

Dental wipes are great for traveling vs bringing a toothbrush and doggy toothpaste. It's much less messy and more convenient when you're visiting family. These aren't meant to replace brushing, but for a holiday trip, they're just what the doctor ordered ... or canine dentist, rather. 

● If your dog takes medication or supplements for joints etc, don't forget to pack them. The best way is to get your dog their own bag and store their medicine in a zip lock bag. Sometimes we as humans forget to pack our own medicine, so be extra vigilant this year about your dog's medicine. A good addition would be calming chews. They can help dogs who get anxious in the car to relax, and help dogs who may feel a little overwhelmed by all the festivities once you arrive at your location.

● Don't forget to bring bags to pick up after your dog. The fast food place on the way to your family's house will appreciate it, and so will the family members you're visiting this holiday season. I also recommend bringing treats and a treat bag to praise your dog when you're walking him/her. I recommend the 3-in-1 treat, bag, and key holding treat bag.

I've went over the positives of using a dedicated treat bag before, but if you haven't read those articles I'll just say a few things about them. If you're using the bag the treats came in, your rewards are coming too slow and it's hurting your training. A treat bag prevents you from walking around with treats and crumbs in your pockets. And most importantly ... just get a treat bag. You will notice the difference when you're training and it's so much more convenient. I've never met a person who bought one and went back to the package or using their pockets.

● Bring chew toys and preferably at least 1 treat dispenser. Bored dogs are destructive dogs. You'll be quite busy with family and friends, so make sure you keep your dog busy as well with chews, toys and treat dispensers. Of course you want to include them as much as possible, but you will be quite busy. 

● Don't forget your leash, flat collar (preferably with a name tag with your phone number), and whichever training collar/s you use. Taking your dog out of their typical environment can be a great way to proof behaviors. And a name tag with your phone number on it can be vital during an accident or if your dog slips out of the house.

● Along with treats and training collars, if you use a ball or tug as a reward, pack that as well. Like I mentioned before, there are a lot of things you can teach a dog in new environments. Capitalize on this. See it as an opportunity for growth and learning for yourself and your dog. You will see your dog do things that you need to work on, and you'll also see things that you'll be downright proud of. Now if you don't use a ball on a rope or a tug, and your dog has enough prey drive that you think they would enjoy a game of tug, pick one of each up. Dogs with high prey drive often prefer a short 3-5 second game of tug as a reward than food. I always say that food is to teach and shape new behaviors and as a reward when you don't want your dog to get too excited. The ball and the tug are for reinforcing behaviors that have begun to take shape.

● You must take into account the safety of others. If you have a sharp, reactive dog and there might be an issue with family and friends your dog doesn't know, you should probably bring along a crate and use it. Also remember to coach children on proper etiquette when interacting with dogs. You don't want to be the person to ruin what's supposed to be a happy day by sending your uncle or niece to the hospital. You know your dog. Listen to yourself and your instincts. If you think your dog might be a risk, play it safe.

Thank you all, and travel safely this holiday season. If you enjoyed the article, leave a like and share. It means more to us than you know!

You may also like: Safety Concerns For Fall And Winter

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