Dog Friendly Vacation
Just as vacations with children are different from adults-only trips, traveling with your dog works out better if you plan the journey with and eye to finding places where dogs are not only welcome but also able to enjoy the surroundings.
In general, that means an emphasis on the outdoors. But as you’ll soon find in traveling with your dog, all parks and beaches are not the same. In some cities and towns, dogs aren’t even allowed in municipal facilities; in other open areas, human popularity may make things tough for dogs.
Even camping can be a disappointment. The U.S.’s national parks aren’t much fun for dogs, but national forests are. The difference: The crowded national parks, such as Yosemite, have strict leash laws and require dogs to stay off most trails. National forests, on the other hand, have wide open spaces with few people and fewer leashing requirements-although that doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility for your dog’s poor behavior. The requirements in other parks vary, so check them out in advance.
I prefer to head for a generally pet-friendly are and stay in lodgings where dogs aren’t just tolerated, they’re welcomed. The owners of dog-friendly inns and motels are often dog lovers, and they’re happy to give your clues on the best things to do in the area. A less popular resort area is almost always more laid back and tolerant where dogs are concerned.
Don’t forget to make the most of online resources. Posting note a bulletin board may net you all kinds of suggestions for lodgings and activities.
Whatever you do: because of a car problem, perhaps- and you’re going to be trying to find a place to stay all ahead! Even the most dog friendly places may have only a couple of rooms available for dog lovers, and if these are in popular resorts areas, they can booked months in advance for prime vacation weekends. Better still, plan for an of season vacation (and still call ahead).
It’s no longer the only, but it’s probably the first, certainly the best-known, and possibly the best ever. Camp Gone To The Dogs is a celebration of all things dog on leases-optional piece of heaven in Vermont. Honey Loving puts the camp together every year, offering sessions on dog sports, guest speakers on training and health, and games and contests to keep human and animal guests delioursly happy. For information write to Loring RR1 Box 958, putney Vt 05346.
Getting Past “No Dogs”: It’s Possible
If you travel with your dog a lot, a time will com when you’re going to be stranded somewhere you weren’t counting on-because of a car problem, perhaps, and you;re going to be trying to find a place stay. This has happened to me more than once, and although I’ve gotten plenty of definitive “no’s at registration desks, I’ve also managed to convince some motels to let the rules slide.
Offer a deposit: If your confident your dog isn’t going to cause any damage, and if you aren’t, you shouldn’t be traveling with her, put your money where your mouth is and offer guarantee your pet’s good behavior.
Show off your dog’s good manners and well-groomed appearance: Obviously not a plan for someone with a muddy, out of control, 125 pound shedding machine. But if your dog is clean and well-behaved, show him off!
Show the manager a crate: A dog who’s going to sleep in a crate and not be left to his own devices is a much better risk.
I would never, never, encourage anyone to sneak a dog into a motel room, but I’ve heard doing so works better if you room is far from the office and you’re prepared to sleep in your car, just in case. If you’re planning to have your dog sleep in your car, you’s better be with him. Leaving your pet unattended is never a good idea.
Even a casual reader of this chapter will get the idea that crates are a very useful item, and indeed, they are. They’re good for training, good for travel, and indispensable in disasters.
Some people spend their vacation not in some fancy resort, but in the great outdoors-and they want to take their dogs with them. Fortunately, sturdy, well-designed packs are on the market designed to let your dog carry his share of the load, and even some of yours. An adult dog in top condition can carry up to a quarter of his weight, evenly distributed in a properly fitting pack. Get your dog used to the feel of the pack on short walks and trips and gradually build up the weight an distance.
Dogs aren’t welcome everywhere, and the biggest danger to the future of canine backpacking is other hikers more than wild beasts. Don’t give the dog haters any ammunition: Keep your dog under control, and that means on-leash in areas with other people or animals. Take something to bury waste, or supplies to pack it back out.
You won’t take much into the back country, food and water are the basics, but will need a few extra things. Grooming tools, a brush or comb, and tweezers or a tick remover-keep your pet healthy and comfortable. Basic first aid supplies for human and canine packers should be included, as should a light rope for tethering your dog when necessary.
To Leash, Or Not To Leash
Probably about 3/4 of dog owners break the leash rules at some places, I know I have. I am very careful about where and when they’re allowed off leash. Early in the morning or late at night, far from people, traffic, and wildlife. They are under voice control, and leashed at the first sign of trouble.
Should you let your dog off-leash? I’m not going to tell you to break the law. Just be careful out there, and be considerate.
One of the best things for us habitual offenders is the creation of dog parks, special areas, often fenced, where dogs can legally run free and play with other dogs. The first dog parks were in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they’re scattered across the U.S. and Canada now. They’re great places to visit if you’re on the road and to lobby for in your own home town. The most winning argument: people with dogs have recreational needs that should be addressed just as those of tennis players, boaters, and soccer teams are. My recreation is throwing a ball for my Sheltie until my arm gets tired, and I need a place to do so.
Dog parks are a way to keep dog lovers and dog haters safely out of each others’ way. Support them!
I hope you have learned some does and don’ts about dog friendly vacation. That way you’ll have no bad interactions with other people, and he won’t get lost while you’re enjoying yourself. And remember, it’s easier than it used to be to take you pets with you where you are vacation; it’s all in the approach!
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