Traveling and dogs: two of life’s greatest pleasures. Putting them together, though? That can definitely create some challenges. Fully grown dogs who are trained and responsive to their owners can be awesome travel companions, but getting past the restless puppy phase can definitely be a hassle, even for seasoned dog-lovers.
Luckily, though, you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. There are steps you can take to teach your puppy how to become an expert traveler, no matter where your next adventure takes you!
Be Sure to Bring Along the Right Harness
It’s no secret: puppies love to wander. Whether it’s a tasty smelling sandwich shop, a playful squirrel, or a friendly group of strangers, your puppy is likely to get distracted. That’s why it’s important to find the right leash and harness for your pup, especially while it’s first learning how to be out and about in public in unfamiliar spaces.
The perfect puppy harness should fit snugly, but not too tightly. You don’t want your dog slipping out, but you also don’t want it to feel trapped or constricted. The right harness should fit like a glove while providing reliable control for the owner holding the leash.
Look for Ways to Keep Your Pup Calm
Travel can be exciting and also a little scary for smaller puppies, especially if they’re not used to going out and about quite yet – or going far from home, if you’re traveling further away. That makes it important to keep your dog calm. Here’s what you can do:
- Invest in dog-friendly supplements: Guess what? They make CBD oil for dogs!
- Bring along pillows and blankets: It’s also important that your dog’s comfy stuff comes from home. The familiar smell will help keep it calm on longer journeys.
- Offer plenty of love: Be sure to pull over every once and a while to show your dog some affection.
Be Sure to Reward Good Gehavior
Some dogs struggle with being a little too hyper in new situations, being aggressive toward unfamiliar people and animals, or barking loudly when confronted with something they don’t like. It’s important that, while you travel, you also coach your dog in keeping up good behavior!
One of the most effective ways to do this is to reinforce good behaviors with positive rewards. That means offering your dog love, pets, and treats whenever they react to a new situation in a good way – and not giving them a reward when they react in a way that you don’t approve of.
Pay Close Attention to Dog-Friendliness Rules
Different destinations may have different dog-friendliness guidelines. For instance, some restaurants – particularly more informal, modern, and outdoor places – are totally dog friendly, and may even have a fenced-in place for your dogs to play with and meet other dogs!
Some locations, however, limit what your dog can do, or may completely forbid dogs altogether. When driving around the country or traveling abroad with your dog, it’s important to always note whether the place you’re staying allows pets, and whether the places you hope to visit allow pets.
- Pro tip: If you do want to go somewhere that’s not dog-friendly, like a museum or theater, be sure to look into dog daycare that will take care of your pup while you enjoy the sites!
Be Attentive to Your Dog’s Needs
The last thing that you should add to your dog-travel checklist is that you pay close attention to your dog’s needs. Every dog is different. Some dogs love traveling and can’t get enough of it; other dogs become stressed and sad when away from home for too long.
Be sure that you look for signs of distress in your dog, like whining, pacing, restlessness, skittishness, or lethargy. All of these may be signs that your dog needs a little break from travels to regain energy before hitting the road again.
It’s also a good idea to start small traveling with your dog. Take it on a short day trip, for instance, before committing to a week-long road trip, to see how it does when away from home. With the right strategies, and plenty of love for your pup, your dog will be an expert traveler in no time!