Traveling with a reactive dog can present its own set of challenges, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. In this blog post, we will explore some important things to remember when embarking on a trip with your reactive dog. Our first topic focuses on choosing suitable accommodation, followed by tips for road trips and a checklist of essential items to pack. Let's dive in!
Choose Isolated Accommodation:
When booking accommodation for your pet friendly holiday, look for places that offer isolation and ample space for your dog to explore without encountering other people or dogs. Utilize platforms like Airbnb and pay close attention to the provided photos to ensure you find a hidden gem that suits your needs. Remember that many accommodations may charge an extra fee for accommodating your dog, so factor this into your budget. Additionally, ask important questions to the host, such as whether there are other dogs on the property, the proximity of neighboring chalets/cottages, and the rules regarding dogs on furniture.
Prepare Your Dog for the Road Trip:
Long car rides can make some dogs uncomfortable or anxious. To make the journey more enjoyable for your furry friend, set up the back seat as their designated area. Divide it into two halves with a bed on one side and their blanket on the other, providing them with a cozy spot to relax and sleep. Take your dog for a walk and encourage them to relieve themselves before getting into the car. For particularly anxious dogs, consider packing a Lickimat to keep them occupied during the drive.
Plan Frequent Stops:
If your road trip exceeds two hours, it's essential to plan for regular stops along the way. Your dog will appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. Look for suitable rest areas or pet-friendly locations where your dog can roam safely. Finding places like farm stalls, where the owners respect your dog's need for space, can be a refreshing and positive experience for everyone. During our stay in Ceres, we came across a wonderful farm stall where the owners were respectful of Blue's need for space. They allowed her to explore both inside and outside the farm stall, and it was a truly enjoyable experience for all. Plus, they had the best sourdough bread we had ever tried!
Packing Enrichment Meals:
Instead of packing raw food or pre-packaged meals, consider preparing enrichment items for your dog's breakfast and dinner. Pre-fill Kongs, Lickimats, and Wobbles with frozen treats and pack them into ziplock bags. These enrichments will not only keep your dog entertained but also serve as a practical way to transport their meals while keeping other perishable items cold. As your dog enjoys their meal, it gives you time to focus on your own food or relax at the cottage.
Essential Gear to Pack for your Pet Friendly Holiday:
When traveling with a reactive dog, certain equipment can greatly enhance the experience. Here are some must-have items:
- Long lead: A long lead provides control and freedom for your dog. Choose a double-ended long lead with an o-ring to tether your dog while ensuring they can't wander too far. It's particularly useful if your dog has poor recall abilities. Please enquire about ordering yours.
- Flashing collar: A flashing collar improves visibility during evenings or in low-light situations, ensuring your dog's safety.
- Tick and flea prevention: If you're traveling to an area known for ticks, pack a tick and flea collar and use a preventive treatment before the trip. Additionally, carry a tick and flea be gone spray to protect your dog, clothes, and belongings.
- Collapsible water bowl and fold-out bottle: Keep your dog hydrated during hikes by packing both a collapsible water bowl and a fold-out bottle. The bottle can also double as a spray bottle for rinsing your dog's eyes or paws if needed.
- Nervous Dog collar and harness with a handle: Opt for specialized gear like a Nervous Dog collar to signal to others that your dog requires space. A harness with a handle provides additional control in close areas. I also packed her Diesels Delights 30cm traffic leash for holding her close.
- Treats: Pack plenty of treats for positive reinforcement training. Reward calm behaviors to reinforce positive experiences during the trip.
One thing I wished I had packed, was her booties. There were so many thorns. But thanks to her cooperative care training, she communicated well and I was able to remove them easily.
Traveling with reactive or anxious dogs can be challenging, but with the right preparation, it can be made easier. During our stay in Ceres, Blue had a wonderful time. We hiked with her off-leash on a deserted mountain, went swimming with her at an empty dam, and allowed her to run off-leash around our cottage. She was happier than ever, wagging her tail the entire time. However, it's important to remember that incidents can still occur - during key collection, we encountered farm dogs that triggered Blue's reactivity. To avoid such situations, remember to communicate with the hosts and ask them to put their dogs away during key collection.
Additionally, always be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to ensure your dog's safety. With these tips in mind, you can create a memorable and enjoyable trip for both you and your reactive dog.
Tag us in your next pet friendly holiday, we would like to explore more exciting places!