Greetings to our Canine Einstein community! Are you yearning to hit the road with your furry sidekick but uncertain about managing their needs on the go? Worry not! Drawing inspiration from our owners recent adventure traveling across the country with her husband and Dash, we bring you invaluable dog training and travel tips to ensure a smooth and joyful journey for you and your pup! A little preparation and management will go a long way towards creating a trip full of memories and fun times for you and your furry sidekick!
Establish Consistency: Just as with any solid dog training routine, consistency is crucial when traveling. Creating a consistent environment for your pup will ease their transition into new surroundings. Trying to keep your dogs schedule as consistent as possible provides them with much needed predictability while travleing.
- Crate Comfort: Much like Dawns experience with Dash, consider bringing your dog’s crate. It acts as a safe and familiar haven, ensuring their comfort and safety during the ride. Another bonus is that your dog will be safe in the event of a car accident. Many dogs each year run off, frightened, after car accidents; having your dog in a crate ensures they are safe and cannot run off, frightened and far from home!
- Stick to their Diet: Maintain your dog’s regular diet to avoid any gastrointestinal issues. Plan ahead, especially if your pet is on a special diet, to ensure their meals stay consistent. Dash eats a fresh food diet from Farmers Dog, so extra care was taken to have some of his food shipped to a hotel ahead of time. Dawn and her husband also carried a cooler with ice and several days worth of Dash's food to keep his diet consistent.
- Bring Familiar Items: Carry familiar objects like your dog’s mat or favorite toy, which can offer comfort in unfamiliar places. Dash had his mat used for mat training on the trip, in addition to his favorite toys, chews and the blanket he loves to sleep with.
- Explore Dog-Friendly Spots: Identify dog-friendly parks, hotels, and attractions along your route. This proactive approach will make your trip enjoyable and stress-free. Consider using Sniffspot if your dog will need time to run off leash, also become familiar with the various stores that are dog friendly! Our owner shared that she had a blast visiting dog friendly bars and patios in the various states!
- Training is Key: Prioritize dog training by reinforcing essential cues like recall and basic commands ( a list of our current classes can be found here). A well-trained dog is a joy to travel with! Dash was trained with an emergency recall prior to going- good thing! While he was exploring a river, not too far from a highway, Dash's leash unclipped and he began running for the road- his emergency recall saved him and his family from great heartache! Also, being trained to relax on a mat at outdoor patios helped Dash feel secure at different places while the family was able to enjoy a drink or dinner.
Stay Flexible and Patient: Even with the best dog training, remember that flexibility is your friend. Adapt your plans to your dog’s needs and mood for a harmonious trip. Dogs are sentient beings, as such they will have days where they may be energetic, more tired, grumpy, more or less social. Help your dog out by being flexible if needed.
- Adjust your Plans: If your dog seems tired or overwhelmed, be willing to alter your plans. Patience and understanding will ensure a pleasant experience for both you and your pup. Try to remember, your dogs routine is being disrupted. Some dogs may struggle with this, others may not.
- Give Your Dog Choices: Allow your dog some agency in their activities, whether it’s choosing a spot to explore or deciding when it’s time to rest. Agency is key to your dogs happiness and confidence- read this post by Milwaukee Paws Pet Care for more information on why agency is so important for dogs! Dash was allowed to do sniffy walks everyday, he was given choices for his enrichment and he was allowed to decide when and if he wanted to try something new.
Enrichment is the Gateway to Happiness: Enrichment activities are essential in both dog training and travel. They cater to your dog’s natural instincts and needs, making the trip more engaging. While the above picture may look like a bunch of trash on the floor, it is the result of an enrichment session at one of the hotels on Dash's trip!
- Pack Engaging Toys: Bring along a variety of toys and treats to keep your dog entertained and stimulated. Even simple cardboard tubes, filled with a treat and some paper, or cardboard boxes provide wonderful enrichment and allow your dog to sniff, problem solve and shred after a long day of traveling!
- Encourage Exploration: Allow your dog to explore and experience new environments. It’s a great way for them to express their natural doggy behaviors! Dash loves to carry items in his mouth, often while hiking, he would carry a stick. Once, in Seattle, he carried a plastic water bottle through downtown!
Traveling with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you! It takes planning, some training, being flexible and utilizing enrichment, but the extra effort is worth it. Have fun and happy travels!