Expert Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Reinforce training on the road.Traveling offers a terrific opportunity for your dog to practice using his manners, dog trainer Mikkel Becker says. “The open road creates real-life training scenarios that can constantly be practiced, such as meeting a new person without jumping or learning not to pull on the leash even in intensely excitable situations, like when walking through a crowd or toward another dog,” she explains. However, Becker cautions, the extreme exposure to unfamiliar people and new situations that comes with traveling may intensify stress in undersocialized and anxious dogs, and may exacerbate unwanted reactions. Proceed with caution, just as you would at home, when putting your dog into new situations.

Be Consistent and Polite

Be a considerate traveler — and pet owner.Traveling isn’t just about you and your dog. Burkert advises practicing good canine ownership when traveling with your dog. Be respectful of pet policies and aware of those around you, so you can be a good ambassador for people traveling with pets. Moustaki also suggests that you bathe your dog or have him groomed before you embark on your journey. “For your sake and the sake of others, you want to travel with a clean dog!”

Maintain your routine on the road.Traveling can be unpredictable, but try to stick to a routine as much as possible, Burkert says. This means taking walks at the same times as when you’re at home, feeding your dogs on a regular schedule and following the schedule you typically keep while you’re at home, such as snacks at certain times or snuggle time at night.

Be prepared to leave your dog alone.Sometimes, despite your best efforts to find dog-friendly activities and places to go, you may have to leave your dog alone for a while. Becker says it’s important for your dog to be able to be crated or left unsupervised for a brief time if needed. Becker advises that you train your dog to remain relaxed when alone in an unfamiliar hotel room or — ideally — in his crate. For many dogs, Becker explains, “The crate... becomes their personal den area of safety." In fact, she adds, a crate is really just a "portable comfort zone” for your dog. If your dog dislikes the crate (or if you’re opposed to crating), Becker recommends that you teach your dog to relax in a specific area, like on a mat or bed. That spot can be used to create a safe haven for your dog in any new place.

Whether you're taking a quick weekend jaunt or a six-week excursion, keep safety and comfort top of mind for both you and your pet and you’ll have a great time making travel memories with your best buddy.

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