Resolutions for Pet Travelers

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We hope your plans for 2012 include traveling with your dog! Here are a few resolutions for pet travelers to ponder as 2011 draws to a close:

New Years DogBuckle Up – You’d never think of letting a child bounce around in the car unrestrained, but people allow their pets to do it all the time. Using a seat belt harness or secured carrier not only keeps your pet safe in an accident, it keeps them from distracting you while you’re driving. It couldn’t be more important – for both of you.

Invest Time In Training – The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) has dubbed January ” National Train Your Dog Month,” so join the movement and brush up on your dog’s obedience skills. Focus on the behaviors that will be particularly important when you’re traveling, like walking on a loose leash, politely greeting strangers, coming when called, and lying quietly by the table while you eat. Practice in unfamiliar places like the dog park, your local coffee shop, and a friend’s house to get your dog used to these behaviors in varying environments. Getting the help of a good trainer can also help speed your progress along and keep both you and your dog engaged.

Choose Accommodations Wisely – With all the different types of lodging available, you have the ability to choose the one that will be most comfortable for your pet. If your pet is easily disturbed, request a ground floor or corner room to limit unfamiliar noises. Timid pets might prefer a small, quiet B&B with few guests, while an energetic dog might like a private cabin or cottage with plenty of room to run. The goal is for you, your pet, and all the other guests to enjoy their stay!

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Rules Are Rules – Find out in advance what restrictions are in place at the location you will be staying and respect them during your stay. The most common rules are keeping your dog on leash and cleaning up after him/her. Remember, your pets’ poo belongs to you! Be sure that you always pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste appropriately.

Be Considerate – Being able to travel with our pets is a privilege – and one that can be taken away at any time. It’s important to do what you can to minimize any damage or disturbance your pet may cause. So, if your pet is accustomed to lounging on the furniture at home, they’ll want to do it when you are away as well. Bring a couple of old sheets to cover any furniture your pet will be using.

Also, if the rules permit you to leave your pet unattended in the room, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, leave the television or radio on to cover noise in the hallway, and provide the staff at the front desk with your cell phone number in case there is a problem. If your pet is prone to barking, or has separation issues, do not leave them alone in your room – even if the rules permit it. Local pet sitters or a day care facility are a great solution.

Are you planning to travel with your pet in 2012? Please share your own tips and suggestions, and Yappy New Year to everyone!

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