What can these families do to make sure man’s best friend has a happy and healthy vacation? The in-house dog behavioral experts from OneMind Dogs shared their top five tips for summer travel:
--TIP 1: Establish trust by taking a joy ride: If Fido’s last “road trip” was to the vet, then chances are he’s going to go running for the hills when he hears your keys jingling. Before embarking on your full-length trip, take him out for a joy ride to ensure that he can trust you and feel comfortable in the car.
--TIP 2: Turn crate time into fun time: Many travelers choose to crate their dogs while driving for long distances. If you go down this route, make sure to create a happy and safe place for them within the crate. This can be done by feeding them or giving them a bone to chew in the crate. Make sure to leave the door open so that they can come out when they want.
--TIP 3: Body language says a lot: If your dog seems restless, try to act as normal as possible. It can be hard, but extremely important to resist the urge to react to your dog’s nervousness. Show them that everything is okay through your own actions. If you convey a calm attitude, so will your dog.
--TIP 4: Bring ‘home’ with you: Dogs thrive off of familiarity, so make sure to bring along your dog’s favorite blanket and toys. Once you arrive at your destination, make sure to set up your dog’s crate and food bowls and be sure to keep up your normal feeding and walking routine.
--TIP 5: Reward positive behavior: Being in a car for a long period of time can be stressful for anyone, especially a dog – so stop often to walk or play with your dog. Not only does this relax them, but it’s easier for them to remain calm when they are tired. When your dog does cooperate in the car, make sure to reward them by giving them a treat or praising them in a calm and happy voice.
— Samantha Smith