Taking our dogs on trips can be fun and a great bonding experience. It stimulates their minds and senses when they get to explore new environments and we don’t have to worry that they are sad or confused in a boarding facility. But, your dog should know a few basic commands and be well-mannered when visiting new places. The last thing you want to do is annoy other travelers or be asked to leave the place you’re staying.
6 Things To Train Your Dog To Do Before You Travel
Crate and Car Rides
If your dog isn’t used to being confined, begin now before you head out. Keep the energy positive and reward your dog for being patient and quiet. Crate for a few minutes a day working up to a few hours. Take short car rides and consider getting a doggie seat belt for safety’s sake.
Brush Up On Basic Commands
Sit, Stay, Come, and Off should be reinforced to make sure your dog listens to you as you walk around new streets or hike through a forest. Your dog may listen perfectly at home, but might ignore you on walks. Start refinforcing these commands when out and about before your trip.
Walking On a Leash
A lot of my friends have backyards and their dogs don’t go on walks everyday. This sometimes means their pup drags and pulls every which way on walks to sniff things, jog to the next interesting smell, or want to chase a squirrel. On a vacation, your dog will need to be leashed as you walk through the hotels, rest stops, and through some nature trails. If you haven’t gone for walks in a while, start now. Reinforce the commands to Wait, Heel, and Sit. Reward good behavior and make the walks fun. Remember to walk with confidence so your dog falls in line with you as the leader.
Getting Accustomed to New Places
Get your dog used to checking out new places before you travel. A walk through a new park, different block, and trips to friends’ houses will help you be able to know what to expect when you two hit the road. You can reinforce commands, praise great behavior, and maybe even discover a place you hadn’t know was there, like a dog park or dog-friendly coffee shop in that part of town you don’t hang out in often.
New Items to Use
You may planning on camping for a few days with your pup. Instead of bringing the dog bed from the bedroom and big plastic or metal bowls, you may have travel ones ready to use. Your dog might not understand that they are for him/her. A few days before you go away, feed your pup in the travel bowls, place the new portable pet bed somewhere where your dog can inspect it and get used to it.
Stop Barking and Settle Down
Dogs are verbal creatures from their little whines to barks and growls, they express themselves with tail wags, head tilts, and their voice. Your dog may not bark much at home but may be very talkative when at the dog park or in the yard. Teach the command, QUIET, so that your dog knows when it’s ok to bark and not ok. Also if your dog is upset, redirect attention back to you so s/he knows that they don’t need to worry, you got this!
Have a great trip!
Image from Best Dog Training Guide