Traveling with dogs can be a seemingly daunting task. Recently, I had the pleasure of taking my KeenDog Puppy Prodigy, Ava, to Buffalo with me to see my family. I was a bit nervous about how she would do in the car for the 12 hour ride each way, how she would do meeting my 91-year-old Great Grandmother, and staying in a house that wasn’t familiar to her. When we got to Buffalo I realized that dogs can surprise you, even ones who haven’t been trained to their full potential (yet).
I learned a few things on the trip up to Buffalo that made the ride home much easier – both on Ava and myself!
Tip #1: Take lots of breaks
Nobody likes sitting in a car for 12 hours straight. A fun thing to do to pass the time with your pup is to stop every couple of hours and stretch your legs – luckily, this often coincides with when you’re coming up on state lines! Take a break at a Welcome Center for each state and use the opportunity to play with your pup, and snap a pic with them in front of welcome signs. It makes for an awesome photo album on Facebook after the trip! Memories are the best and you will reminisce on your road trip with good feelings vs a long ride.
Tip #2: Give your dog some space
On the way back from Buffalo, I decided to let Ava stretch her legs a bit more in the car. The crate is the safest place for your dog to be in the car, but if you feel comfortable with it, let your dog have a little extra room. I configured her crate so it opened to the back seat area, and left the seats down. This way, she had the option to hang out and look out the windows or go chill in her crate (which is where she spent most of the time anyways!). BONUS TIP: Invest in a soft crate for your pup – it will help you keep your sanity on long car rides so you don’t have to listen to the metal crate rattling for 12 hours.
Tip #3: Use every opportunity as a training opportunity
When you are visiting your relatives or friends on your trip, bring your place board in their house with you. Do some place work with your pup so they aren’t invading everyone’s space. Using their place board also helps them feel more comfortable in a new environment because it is a familiar texture and has the familiar smells of home. Your dog will love the structured time and be able to relax enough to take a nap amidst all the chaos.
Traveling with dogs can be a lot of fun, and with the three tips mentioned above, it can be a lot of fun for your pup as well! Remember to include your pups during this year’s holiday season, and check out our most recent Three Bullet Thursday for more tips on how to make your dog a part of the festivities this year. Remember it’s a lifestyle.
-Ellie Porter, KeenDog Assistant Trainer