TIPS from some EXPERTS
Kalli Flecker Ramon has been training dogs for over 30 years. She is the owner of Mind of a K9, located in Richmond, VA. She focuses on helping dogs to be well-mannered family pets. She is an Evaluator for Canine Good Citizen and offers the following advice:
Tips for Traveling with Pets
- You and your travel advisor should do the appropriate research before making your reservations to makes sure you are choosing pet-friendly destinations. Nowadays there are many places to stay that cater to your furry family member. Planning ahead will make the trip a smooth & enjoyable one for you & your dog. Be sure to investigate the town or city where you are going to see where you can take you dog, what patios, shops, stores, hiking trails, beaches are dog friendly. Make it a vacation that your dog can enjoy as much as you!Make sure you’re staying in accommodations that welcome pets.
- Make sure your dog is crate trained. When dogs are happy in a crate, they will be fine when you have to leave them behind. Often times a dog who is fine being in his own home alone will become anxious in an unfamiliar environment. Your pet could eliminate indoors or damage property in places where he is unaccustomed; so being able to leave a dog in a crate will help you relax while you are away from him.
- Be sure to bring all the accessories you need to travel with your dog. Put waste bags, leashes, travel crates, collapsible water bowls, training collars, seatbelts, all into one easy to carry pet bag that will make traveling easier. You might even train your dog to carry his or her own saddle bag for fun!
- Working with a professional trainer throughout your dog’s life will make traveling with your pet easy. Dogs who can follow basic commands around all types of distractions will make flying, walking through the airport, sitting on a patio for lunch, hanging out on a beach, hiking through the woods or shopping through busy city streets, an easy & enjoyable experience instead of a stressful one! So start early!! Train your dogs from the day you get them to prepare them for many adventures together!
Tips for Traveling without Pets
Caroline Fagan has been training breeding, and working in the dog grooming and boarding industry for 40 years and offers the following tips:
How to find the BEST place to board your pet:
- Ask for a tour before you book. Does the facility look and smell clean? Smelling “doggy” is one thing. Smelling like urine or feces is not ok. Both cleaning procedures and ventilation matter.
- Can the dogs access the outdoors on their own during the day (ideal) or will they be moved outdoors on a schedule? How many hours from their last nightly time outside to their first in the morning? Most dogs will urinate in a kennel room if they can’t hold it. But many hate to do it.
- Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring? Is there a veterinarian on premises or on call? This is especially important for geriatric dogs.
- What are the vaccination requirements?
- Are crates or kennel rooms used? The larger the space available, the better.
- Do you provide bedding or do they? Never bring bedding that cannot easily be washed in a standard sized washing machine. Sometimes food gets spilled or dogs relieve themselves in the kennel.
- Can you bring your own food? Is there an extra charge either with your food or the kennel’s food? How often do they feed the dogs?
- Is there an extra charge to give medications? Can they administer shots?
- Will the dogs be exercised individually or in groups? How are dogs placed in groups?
- Are intact dogs accepted and if not, what is the age that a puppy of your breed must be spayed/neutered?
- Are there video cams or do they text photos of the dogs every day? This is more about making the owners feel good.
- It’s a good idea to get your dog accustomed to the boarding facility with a couple of daycare visits or an overnight stay before your trip. It reinforces the “I will come back for you” concept in a no-fuss way.
- Be very matter-of-fact with your dog at drop off. Shelve your feelings of anxiety or guilt because the more fuss you make, the more anxious your dog will be.
- Can they bathe or groom the dog before pick up? This is almost always a good idea after a week’s stay (see above about the number of overnight hours). After a trip, you’ll want to come back and cuddle with your friend. If he stinks, you’ll turn away and wouldn’t that be sad when he is so happy to be back with his best person?