A Rambling Canine
Bon voyage les Toutous!
It is easier than expected to travel with a dog. I was not sure how Arlo, my 2 year old, sometimes wild Parson Terrier would do on a weekend away. There would be getting from New York to D.C., the hotel and at a march, where thousands of people were expected, complete with loud music and plenty of noise. In general, he is well behaved, for the most part, but there are moments of random, weird behavior patterns he sometimes reverts to when: A) he is bored or B) he becomes over excited. Let's start with bored. Just when you think things are quiet around the house and he is lying in his foam couch looking relaxed and comfy, he suddenly springs up and decides to get my attention. He'll follow me very closely and if I don't notice him, he will rub against me. If I push him away, he'll walk away then turn on his hind legs and run back, slamming against me. This is one of his favorite game strategies because it gets my attention alright, it startles me for one and annoys me to no end. I'll continue to push him away to his delight and the body slamming continues until that becomes old news. I'll settle at my desk to work and next thing you know, he's back again! This time he curls himself over my legs and furiously starts to HUMP. At first, I rationalized it's because he isn't neutered, but after witnessing a few of his tricks, I realized it is just part of one of his attention getting tactics. There is no amount of pushing away so it usually ends with me prescribing a "time-out" and plopping him in his sleeping crate for a few minutes. I read somewhere that you should never associate sleeping quarters with a punishment, but failing all other options, it works for us and he definitely gets the picture. After about five minutes left to reflect on his failed battle strategies, he is let out and he'll settle for a pat or a scratch on the head, then return to his favorite foam couch. Some say "he lacks exercise", but I know that just isn't true, he gets plenty of exercise and fresh air. He just craves attention, and he makes this very clear. Now for the "over excited" part. Grooming is usually pleasurable and Arlo is no exception when it comes to having a nice scalp massage with the nubby brushes. But he gets very excited, so much so he'll roll on his back and nip at the brush, rolling back and forth making grooming impossible. If I get frustrated, he'll resort to puppy biting, or jump up and run in circles, snapping at the air like a mad turtle. From there he jumps all over the room, trying to engage me in a game of catch. From jumping to humping, snapping and rolling, it must be his way of just letting off steam, after all he is a young teenager as far as dog years go. I sometimes feel I am the last person to know him, which I guess is the same with any parent of a teenager. It must be hormones shooting up to the stratosphere and back, leaving me on earth, just holding the leash.
Just how would he fare on a trip away from home and his habits? I dreaded he would put his silliness on display for all to see. Nonetheless, I decided to brave the great pet unknown and bring him along. Life is short and what's the worst that could happen? (I'm sure a lot of things but I chose not to think about them). The train seemed a better choice than to navigate route 95 in a car with its unpredictable traffic and other problems. At least I knew departure and arrival times, not that they were dependable, but still pretty much within a given time frame. I decided to put him in his black travel bag for the train ride. Made by Good2Go, it is a bit low for his height, but it has this nifty mesh expandable side, which allows them to turn around or burrow about, all while meeting height restrictions (Ht 12"). All went so well, someone tried to stack a bag on top of his case, not knowing there was someone home!
He can almost stand but certainly lounge about in his "Good2Go" carrier
What and how to pack?
The traveling bag is good for just that, but if there is an overnight stay at a hotel, it is too small for a good night's rest. I found a foldable crate (available at Amazon): 2PET foldable Dog Crate which really does the trick. It is a bit large but I still managed to find a case for it at The Container Store. The case is supposed to be used to store blankets, but it fits perfectly over it. Arlo loved the crate so much the minute I set it up, he raced inside! Most dogs don't use a crate at night, but I find it keeps them quiet and less "en garde", than left to roam freely.
Here it is folded in a case where it fits perfectly This 2PET foldable crate comes with a furry liner as well
For meals: pack every meal in individual ziplock bags. Best to have dry food only, if you give supplemements, add them in each bag.
Toys: bring a chew toy and a small ball to play with if possible.
Grooming: I use an empty airline toiletry bag and fill it with a dog brush, comb and dental product.
Leashes: Bring one heavy and one lightweight
Belly Bands: Say what? Actually, they are bonafide diapers but for males who like to mark their territory - and you don't want to risk this in a hotel - so best be prepared. My faves are "Pet Parents washable Belly Bands" , available at Amazon.
Belly Bands, wrap around and velcro shut!
Bowls: They will need to eat out of something. These handy rubber bowls fold flat and don't weigh much at all. At first, Arlo thought they were chew toys and he promptly spilled his water to nibble at one, but like anything else, they get the hang of it!
Vest: If your pet is anxious, you may consider a "Thundervest", they work for some and traveling is stressful enough. Also, if it is winter weather, don't forget a warm vest or sweater. Arlo was so happy, he never wore his vest but it was good to have it.
THUNDERVEST (Note the chew marks top left, those days are thankfully gone)!
Barking: This is a tricky one, but it may be necessary, when faced with noise in hallways and guests arriving or leaving. They will most likely want to alert you to these strangers, so be prepared! I like the "First Alert Barking Genie" which is a device, not a collar and supposedly does not harm their ears. It's not something I ever want to use, but sometimes Fido really needs to put a lid on it if you don't want people complaining!
Treats: If there is one thing not to forget, it's the treats. Dogs need to know they are behaving well and be rewarded for it. If he is happy, so will everyone who sees him prancing at your side. I kept some in my purse for him and surprised him throughout the trip.
Bags: Won't you be the cat's miaow when you pull out a biodegradable, cool, earth colored poo bag when the urge to crouch comes? I like them because they are so slim and do not take up any room in your pockets (bring plenty).
As far as having the dog come along at mealtimes, if the hotel accepts dogs, then you can usually sit in the lobby bar/lounge and order light fare while furry snoozes at your feet. Arlo was so good, they let me sneak him into the breakfast room and go under the table. Nobody knew I even had a dog with me and I enjoyed a great leisurely breakfast with my family, thanks Arlo! Last but not least: I had a wonderful helper with me: my daughter. We took turns taking him out and played with him, making the trip special for him every step of the way!
Also, just about every city has a dog friendly website, so do your homework and check out the hot dogspots before you get there! Keep in mind outdoor restaurants fill up quickly in the warmer weather so if you can reserve, call ahead.
Questions students? Feel free to fill out "Fill your comment" below. Don't be shy! No question will go unanswered! Woof! Woof!
Bon voyage les toutous!