6 Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Aug 06, 2012    /    luna the traveling pooch, travel how-tos

Luna in Freiburg

Today I’ve got a guest post up about couchsurfing with your dog over at DogJaunt – one of my absolute favorite dog blogs. If you are interested in finding a couch to crash with your fuzzy friend, go take a look.

And since some of you will be visiting from the Dog Jaunt blog (hello! Welcome!), I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about how I successfully move from house to house with Luna in tow.

So, without further ado, my tips for keeping your dog happy and safe in a new home:

1. Start training early. If possible, get your dog comfortable with change from an early age. This means asking your friends if you can bring your pup with you to dinners, parties, BBQs, etc. Introduce your dog to other people’s homes early and he or she will feel less uncomfortable when you travel later.

2. Before you settle in, do a sweep of the new house/flat/room to make sure it is dog-proof with your particular pooch in mind. Some dogs get into the garbage. Others (Luna) don’t. Some dogs will leave stuffed toys alone, others (again, Luna) will sneak them away to be chewed. Know your dog’s strengths and weaknesses and do a sweep of any new house, hotel room, or camp site for anything your particular dog might get into, destroy, or be unsettled by.

3. Bring a safe space for your dog. For some dogs, this might mean taking a carrier. For others, perhaps a favorite blanket. For still others, a dog play pen. For Luna, I bought a really nice air carrier for our travels about six months before we left. I replaced her old sleeping crate with the carrier and kept putting treats in it. She quickly realized it was hers and slept in it, hid in it, etc. Now, wherever we go, one of the first things I do is open up her carrier. If she’s stressed, she can go inside where there are familiar smells and a familiar space.

4. Take it slow. When you get to a new place, always assess how your dog is feeling before heading out into town. If she or he is feeling stressed, take some time (be it a day, two days, or a few hours, depending on your dog’s anxiety level) to stay in the new place, unpack, have a cup of tea or glass of wine, and relax. And then take the dog to do something he or she loves (for Luna, this means going to a nearby park or on a short hike) not far from where you’re staying.

I may leave Luna in the apartment while I run errands during travel, but I try not to do it on my first day in a new place. And if I do, I leave for the shortest possible time (if I go for a grocery run, I just grab the essentials and go back for everything else the next day).

5. Make sure your dog knows where everything is. This means pointing out where you’ve put the water and food, as well as the carrier/blanket/safe place and any toys you’ve brought with you.

6. Be aware of your dog’s needs. When you book a place, think about whether your dog will do well there. For us, this means trying to book places that are not on main roads, as heavy traffic makes Luna really nervous.

Any other questions about helping your dog settle into a new place (whether traveling or moving)? I’d love to try and help, so leave them in the comments!

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4 Comments
  • Emily
    August 7, 2012

    Hi, I just wanted to say thanks for all the great tips! I just stumbled on your blog the other day and am now living vicariously through you :) I am a single young(ish) woman who loves her mini poodle like crazy and take her everywhere. It’s so much fun to read about your exploits!

  • gigigriffis
    August 7, 2012

    Thanks! :)

  • Michele
    August 11, 2012

    Hi Gigi,

    I followed you here via Wandering Earl. I’m Michele, my husband and son and I are planning a trip. For my son, leaving his beloved long-haired dachshund, Sophie, has been a heartbreaking thought. This blog post has shone an entirely new light on our plans.

    Thank you (and you too Luna!)

    Michele

  • gigigriffis
    August 11, 2012

    Hi Michele,

    I’m so glad! Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you ever have any dog travel questions. I’d be happy to help in any way I can!

    Gigi

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