My Advice for Traveling with your Dog

 

dog-with-suitcase2

For those of us who consider dogs full fledged members of the family, it seems only logical they would accompany us on vacation.  It’s an adventure!  A change of scene! A slower pace!  All the things we crazy humans love about “getting away” can potentially be frightening for our pets…but with a little pre-planning and a lot of patience, an enjoyable time can be had by all.

Pre-planning needs to be so much more than packing a favorite toy and buying extra yummy treats.  Crates can be vacation-savers, and I encourage almost all of my clients to use them when they travel.  Even free roaming dogs will appreciate a quiet, familiar area they can escape to if the human fun gets to be too much. The key to utilizing a crate is making sure your pooch is comfortable in it long before the vacation.  An unfamiliar hotel room is not the place to introduce a foreign pen!  The process should start months before. (Here is where that pre-planning comes in!)  In fact, there should be NOTHING new introduced while you are away from home.  This means no new crates, new treats, or even something as simple as a new collar or leash.  For pups: familiarity breeds calm…and isn’t calm what your vacation is all about?

Patience is another key to getting to that calm, happy place faster. (And when I say patience – I mean YOUR patience!)  There are hundreds books written about dog behavior and what goes on in the canine brain.  All you need to know while you’re on holiday: you don’t know what your dog is really thinking.  Take a breath…and try to put yourself in their shoes.  Stay calm and allow your dog an extra moment to get comfortable.  This might mean waiting for your dog jump out of the car before you resort to pulling him out for a quick potty break…or might mean letting your dog bark at unfamiliar things without immediately becoming frustrated and yelling for him to stop.  Just give him a moment to adjust.

But maybe the most important tip I have for those dog-lovin’ world travelers is this: NEVER force your dog to do something they don’t want too. This can apply to forcing a dog onto a boat because you know “they will love it if they just tried it!”….but more likely will pertain to interaction with well-intentioned people. The general public assumes it is OK to enter your dog’s personal space and talk crazy baby talk to them. While some dogs genuinely love this and will eat up the extra attention, many dog will not appreciate a stranger in their face after a 6 hour car ride. (Honestly, I wouldn’t either!) Whether it be the chirpy front desk clerk at your hotel or your sweet Aunt Mabel – dogs should never be forced to be on the receiving end of unwanted affection. Have a response at the ready – “Oh my gosh! Buffy was just in the car for HOURS. Better give her some space!” or “I bet Buffy would like to walk around this place. We are going to go explore. See you later!” Not forcing your dog into potentially sticky situations will guarantee a drama free trip (at least when it comes to your pooch!)

With a little thinking ahead and a lot of deep breaths a vacation with your dog can can strengthen your bond, help your dog learn to adapt to new situations, and…who am I kidding?! Dog-filled vacations are better because everything is better with a dog.

 

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Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#24)

Happy middle-of-August (and my first Wednesday back from vacation!)

Ah, vacations.  Who doesn’t love them?  This one that I just returned from was especially wonderful – not only did I get to see lots of old friends, I got to see one of my oldest, dearest, SWEETEST friends in the whole world get married.  (I’m a sucker for weddings – especially when I get to be a bridesmaid.)  The vacation was the perfect mix of sightseeing, gossiping, and letting loose.

Ah, but then reality hits.  Back home – back to work – back to laundry and grocery shopping and taking out the trash.  I always get a little bummed.

And I WAS bummed….until Buffy came bounding in the door.  I will never feel as loved as I do the moment Buffy sees me after being away for a week.  It is unbridled, unapologetic JOY!  Little whimpers escaping as she runs from me to my husband…tail going 90-to-nothing.  I can almost hear her saying “You’re home!!!  YOU’RE HOME!!!!”  She doesn’t care where I went…she doesn’t care how long I was gone…I’m home now.  That’s all that matters.  (And that’s reason #1,349,847 why I LOVE dogs.)

But you aren’t visiting this blog to hear about my happy reunion.  You are here, no doubt, to look at adorable pictures of pooches.  (What else is the internet for?!?)  So, let’s do this!

(Don’t forget – you can submit your own pup picture!!  Don’t you want to show all your friends how amazingly awesome your dog is?  Read our submission guidelines here and then get to emailin’!) 

First up, Faith! This Great Dane/Lab mix is just too cute for words. Look at those eyebrows!!! Thanks to Lauren for the pic (be sure to follow her on Twitter – @laurenjaceny – for more adorable pictures and puppy tweets!)

Blog reader Jessica sent us this shot of Celia. If you can’t tell…she LOVES her toy! She is definitely keeping her eyes on the prize. (I think all of us lab mommies & daddies can relate.)

As soon as I saw these last two pictures from Jill (@LuvAndEmma), all I could think of was SLEEPING BEAUTY! Meet Emma…who has one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen.

Ok…just one more of Emma.  Emma’s use to being photographed – she is a model for her own line of amazing dog towels!  Check out Luv & Emma.

Back from London Town!

I’m back!

Sorry for the lack of fabulous pup posts over the past two weeks, but I was enjoying a much needed vacation.  London was amazing!!  I think I saw just about everything there was to see – Buckingham Palace, Tower of London…and of course many, many pubs.  My friend Thidaa, who lives in London, even planned a surprise trip to Paris!  (She is super cool and even has a blog of her own.  You can also check out some of her artwork on her website.)

Of course, though, I was on the constant lookout for local dogs.  I was surprised that I didn’t see too many of them!  Of the few pups that I did see living in the city, I would say the majority of them were French Bulldogs….followed by one of my favorite breeds, the Dachshund.  Some of London’s many parks were filled with dogs on the sunny afternoons we enjoyed during our trip, and all of them were off leash.  It was quite a sight to see – literally hundreds of dogs running, sniffing, playing fetch – and all behaving themselves perfectly.

(Do British dogs have better etiquette than dogs in the States??)

Each time I saw a dog – whether it was a Weimaraner or a Pug – I couldn’t help but think of my Buffy back home.  Oh, I missed her so!  My mom was kind enough to take her in (and I think she secretly wanted to keep her even after we returned.)  It was weird being on the other side of things…I’m usually the one who stays at home with the four-legged kiddos while the parents are away.  The pictures of Buffy that my mom while I was “across the pond” meant the world to me.  It definitely made me realize that I should send more pictures to my clients while they are away so they can see just how happy, healthy, and relaxed their pets are while they are enjoying their holiday.

It was amazing how much I missed my clients too.  Just like you are with co-workers and friends, I get use to seeing “my” dogs everyday.  I would wonder if they were missing me too.  (I saw a few of them on Friday…and by the amount of tail waggin’ and kissing that went on, I would say they did!!)

But now back to real life…

How perfect is this for me! I picked this up at a Sunday street market in London. Chatted with the artist (it is an original.) His girlfriend is a dog walker in London! I love this!!

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#11)

Happy last Wednesday before I go on vacation!

Ah, vacations! Who doesn’t like to go on them? While I love to get away and do a little sight-seeing (my husband and I are jetting off to London next week), getting all my ducks in a row can be quite a chore. Before, it was just a matter of making sure I had my ID and enough insulin. Now with the extra responsibility of owning my own business, things get a little harrier. And then, of course, there is Buffy.

I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful mom who has no problem letting Buffy bunk with her. (Her dog Scarlett is surely the only one who objects. She is the center of my mom’s world and doesn’t like sharing her palace with the likes of Buffy.) I know Buffy will be well fed and looked after. She will have a big backyard and lots of treats. It’s not rational, but I’m already getting sad about leaving her. These 9 days will be the longest we have ever been apart. I don’t doubt I will have an amazing trip…but I am most definitely leaving a piece of my heart here at home with Buff.

And so, I’m sorry, but this week’s Wags & Whiskers Wednesday is dedicated to the cutest dog in the world, Buffy. (Ok, ok. I might be bias, but I think you’ll agree she’s a good lookin’ pup!)

 

Just a pup!

 

With her BFF, Scarlett