Guest post from Alex Merashi
The idea of travelling with your dog is exciting. It is the equivalent of travelling with your best friend: which he probably is. It does not matter what your travel plans are, the hotel you will be sleeping and so on. If you do not take time to train your dog for travel, then you are in for a rude shock. You will not enjoy your trip at all. Your dog will most likely also embarrass you. To avoid that, you should train your dog. Are dogs trained for travel? Yes, they are. If you ask pet parents that have travelled with their dogs, they will emphasize how important it is. If you are having a hard time figuring out where to start, the following are my recommendations to help prepare your dog for your vacation.
1. Teach Your Dog to Respond When Called
It is essential for you to train your dog to come to you when called. Dogs will wander away anytime they come across something exciting. Being able to call him will lower the risk of you lost him. Whatever you do, make him think that you have something better to offer. And remember that being cruel and agitated is not something you should do while calling him. It will drive him away. If your dog is doesn’t reliably return when you call him, consider getting a retractable dog leash.
2. Crate Train Your Dog
This is the one of the first things you should do to prepare your dog for travelling. You might have noticed that dogs boarding a plane are always crated; it is compulsory. If you are traveling by road, it is still no exception. It is advisable that you keep your dog in their crate as you move. Keeping your dog in a crate while driving is a safety measure. You do not want accidents as you are heading to your vacation destination. A dog may get uncomfortable when they are introduced to new shelters. Crate training is there to help your dog get used to the idea of a crate. Whether you like it or not, you cannot avoid it. If you are using a hotel room, your dog may also need to use a crate.
3. Teach Your Dog A Bathroom Command
At some point, your dog will need to go to the bathroom. If you have not given your dog adequate training, you are going to have problems. Remember that it is a foreign place you will be going to. You need to train him on what to do when he needs to relieve himself. Dogs are smart, all you need to do is have a name for going to the bathroom. Introduce it to him before travel day as often as you can, then reward him when he does the right thing. When you travel, he will be able to identify the designated bathroom the moment you mention it to him.
4. Train Your Dog to Not Bark
It is not a surprise that your dog will bark during your travels. He will see new things, and some might frighten him. But while it is natural for a dog to bark, it comes out as being a nuisance. You do not want to make enemies just because your dog cannot stop barking. Also, some people freak out when dogs bark. You need to control his barking to avoid making other people uncomfortable. Just as the case with the bathroom, find a word that cues your dog to be quiet. If he complies, reward him. He will learn, and you can control his barking.
If you are to enjoy your vacation, especially with the company of your dog, there are some things that you cannot afford not to do. That is, preparing your dog to be in a foreign location. That can be done through training. You should also note that the training should take place before the trip. Yes, it can carry on during your travel. However, you can expect some issues as it may take him some time to fully adjust. Instead, start already to incorporate it into your daily training routine.