Last year our daughter and son-in-law, their four kids and their dog, Rosie, spent Christmas with us. Since our son in-law-is serving in the military and they move often, we haven’t had a chance to spend many holidays with them, so we treasured that holiday. We weren’t used to the energy levels of four pre-teen girls, so that was quite a shock! But we had lots of activities planned and we kept them occupied. We did, however, run into a few issues with Rosie. Rosie is a good dog, but she wasn’t used to our household, isn’t trained as well as our dogs, and her owners weren’t conscious of how to make sure she was a good canine guest.

Before the Trip

Most trips, especially those made during the holidays, are planned months ahead of time. When you begin planning your trip, make sure you also spend time brushing up on your dog’s obedience skills. Make sure your dog will walk nicely on the leash, stay when you ask him to, and come when you call him. Teach him to sit when people greet him instead of jumping up on them.

You may not mind if your dog is rowdy and bouncy, but if you ever want to be invited back (with your dog), the chances are much better of that happening if your dog is well behaved.

Supervision Is Important

At our daughter’s home, Rosie has free run of their house and yard, as most dogs do, and she is a good dog. My daughter assumed Rosie would be just as good in our home. Unfortunately, a dog in an unfamiliar place doesn’t know the routine such as where to go in the house when she wants to go outside or where in the yard to relieve herself. Because she was unsure what to do or where to go, Rosie had some housetraining accidents.

When you’re traveling and you get to your destination, you must supervise your dog closely. Keep him on leash, even in the house, to prevent him from wandering and getting into trouble. Take him outside and show him where you would like him to relieve himself.

Close supervision (and a leash on your dog) will also keep your dog from getting lost. An open gate or door is an invitation for a dog to explore, and in a strange place he won’t know where he is or how to get back home.

The Crate Is Great!

When you cannot supervise your dog — and you cannot watch him 24 hours a day — put him in his crate. A crate, often called a kennel or a kennel crate, is a traveler’s best friend. It provides your dog with his own space and a retreat during a trip. It prevents him from getting into trouble.

Once you arrive at your location, the crate can confine your dog when you can’t watch him or when you leave the house. He can also sleep in it at night, either at your host’s house or in your hotel. By confining your dog, you are keeping him safe and secure and preventing potential damage, including housetraining accidents.

If your dog doesn’t have a crate at home, you will want to introduce it before your trip so he’s comfortable with it. See below, “Introducing a Crate.”

Be Prepared

You’ll need to bring your travel supplies with you — even if are visiting someone who also has dogs. Here is a list of essentials for traveling with your dog.

  • Identification tag: Have a tag made up ahead of time with your cell phone number on it.
  • Collar: Make sure your dog is wearing a buckle collar with his identification tag on it.
  • Leash: Have a four- or six-foot leash for walks and supervision at your host’s house, and a longer leash so your dog can get some exercise during your travels.
  • Crate: If your dog doesn’t already have his own crate, make sure you buy one and introduce it before your trip.
  • Food and water bowls: Carry bowls with you. Don’t expect to use your host’s kitchen bowls.
  • Food: Bring a supply of your dog’s regular food.
  • Treats: A good supply of treats will help encourage your dog’s training skills and good behavior.
  • Toys: Bring a couple of your dog’s favorite toys and a few chew toys to keep him occupied.
  • Grooming tools: Depending upon your dog’s coat length and type, you may need to bring a brush, comb, towel and clean-up wipes.
  • What else? I also carry a canine first aid kit, which includes Benadryl (in case of bites, stings or allergic reactions) and Pepto Bismol (in case of digestive upsets).

Once you have traveled a few times with your dog, you may find there are other supplies that will also make your trip easier.

Be Considerate

When visiting with your dog, be considerate of your hosts (even if they are family!). After all, you’re staying (or visiting) in their home. If they prefer that dogs stay off the furniture, keep your dog off the furniture, even if he’s allowed on the couch at home. If your hosts prefer that dogs stay out of the kitchen, don’t allow your dog to wander in and out of there. Again, your dog’s leash can help you enforce the new rules.

Don’t expect your hosts to supervise or care for your dog. Not only is the dog unsure of your hosts, they haven’t trained him. You must supervise your own dog and prevent him from causing trouble.

If your hosts have pets of their own, make sure your dog doesn’t harass them. After all, this is their dog’s home too; your dog is the intruder. If your hosts have a dog, introduce the dogs somewhere away from their house — at a park or even just out on a walk. Don’t force the dogs to play or even get along, just let them get to know each other. Then closely supervise their first interactions at your host’s home, just in case there is a problem. If your hosts have a cat, don’t allow your dog to chase the cat; it’s her house! Keep your dog on the leash or in the crate.

During our daughter’s visit, we enjoyed getting to know Rosie. My daughter’s family (including Rosie) will be welcome at our house any time. However, the next time Rosie visits, we will be asking that Rosie be supervised more closely.

Introducing the Crate

Choose a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and comfortably lie down. At home, prop open the door to the crate and begin tossing treats inside it, one at a time, encouraging your dog to go inside for the treats. After a few days, your dog should be eager to dash in and get the treat. Then begin feeding your dog in the crate. Set his food bowl in the back of the crate. Keep the door open and let your dog go in and out as he wishes while eating. After several days of this routine, close the door after he’s gone in to eat. When he’s done eating, open the door and let him out.

After several days of eating in the crate, your dog should be comfortable with it, so begin confining him for short periods of time. He can also begin spending the night in his crate; just set it in your bedroom so he can be close enough to hear and smell you.

Article written by Author: Liz Palika

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