Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog in Summer - A Collaboration with Kendra Thornton

Photo of Coach in the car looking serious.

Puppy Raiser Travel Advice

A week or two ago, I received an email asking if I wanted to collaborate on some summer travel tips for traveling with your dog.  Since, Fred and I travel with Dewey and Jam all the time and we are connected to a huge network of puppy raisers who have a wealth of knowledge to share, I said, "Of course!"

Then, I went to the well and asked the puppy raisers for their best advice on traveling with dogs.  Here are our best travel tips.  I think you will find some real gems here!

1. Tag Your Dog:

Make sure that your dog has a collar with identification tags on them. The tags should have your cell phone number on them as you won't be at your home phone. Petsmart has very inexpensive tags you can make for your loved one just for the journey.  You can also make a tag that has the info of where you are going to be staying. And don't forget to put the area code!

2. Water, Water, Water:

Yes, you need to have water on hand for your dog, but have you considered that your dog is used to your tap water?  He or she may not be used to bottled water.  They definitely won't be used to the weird tap water from the hotel.  Start them on bottle water several days out from the trip so they don't freak and have any bowel problems on you.  Well, not on you...hopefully.

3. Dog Chow:

That brand of dog chow you always buy for Fifi?  Well, it may not be available at Gramma's house.  You better make sure that you bring enough to last the whole trip. Or, just have Amazon deliver to Gramma's.  You do get Amazon Prime, don't you?  Free delivery? They carry dog food.  Did you know that?

4.  Strap In:

You have your dog tagged, but did you strap them in like you buckled in your children?  In an accident, your pet can become a projectile.  You do not want them loose in the car.  Nor do you want to have an accident and a door to pop open and your loose dog wander out into traffic.  Strap your pet in; keep them safe. While you are at it, bring your vet records, proof of vaccinations, and any medications that your pet may need.  

5. Where to Lay Your Head

Puppy raisers recommend the Kimpton Hotels as being especially dog friendly.  They accept large dogs and don't have a limit on the number of animals you can bring.  They even let some exotic pets stay.  If you aren't staying at a Kimpton Hotel, make sure you know if the hotel has a weight limit or if they have a limit on the number of pets you can bring.  Ask about cleaning fees ahead of time.  Also, leave your cell phone with the front desk in case there is an issue with barking.  You may also want to leave your cell number with the people on either side of you, just in case. On the budget side of things, Motel 6's were mentioned as an alternative.  One raiser said that many of them had been renovated to resemble European boutique rooms.  You might want to give them a try.
Tell them at check-in that  you have a dog and ask for a room that has easy access to the outside.  Always put your puppy's bed as far away from the door and the hallway as you can.  That way you can prevent any barking and startling by people walking down the hallway to their rooms.  If you have brought along their bed, a soft towel or soft toy that hasn't been washed from home and has the scent of home, it will make settling in for the night in a strange place easier.  For dogs that are used to a crate, there is a soft, travel crate that is really nice to travel with from Noztonoz. Using it gives you the security of the crate, but the ease of something that isn't so bulky and cumbersome as a real crate. 
Photo of the Noztonoz soft crate.

6. Frequent Breaks

Remember that you will need to add travel time because you will be adding more pee breaks to your schedule.  Your dogs may not pee or poo on schedule, but you will still need to give them every opportunity to try.  The regular rest stops may not be the best places, as they may be crowded and filled with people.  Try for less crowded pullouts that are less noisy and congested and more conducive to allowing a nervous dog to void their bowels or just hang and sniff the wind in peace for five minutes.

7. Cruising and Poo

If you are the only one with the service dog on the ship, you may be able to ask for the busy box to be on your balcony.  However, if there are several dogs on the ship, it will need to be in a public place.  The busy box is a 4 x 4 wooden box with either mulch or sod in the box for the dog to do its business.  One of our raisers has actually done this, and swears by this advice, so if you are a cruiser and have a service dog, the following advice may come in handy:   "On the morning of the cruise double bag the dog's poop and place it in your backpack.  Once the box arrives, place the poop in the box.  It worked for the man I read about, so I figured that's what we would do.  So, that morning that's what I did!  We arrive at the pier checking in and they want to check the backpack.....OMG.....I was praying they wouldn't want me to OPEN the double bagged poop....they didn't.  But guess worked.....'Curry' knew exactly what to do with the box!!  It was a great cruise by the way and everyone on the ship addressed 'Curry' by name."


Kendra Thornton adds some great tips she shared with her family when they were planning on traveling with the pooch.  Here are her additional tips and techniques for making it through the holidays:

Smart Human Tricks for Traveling with Your Dog by Kendra Thornton

Certain aspects of travel can be challenging even for those who love to take a trip. I enjoy family vacations, but sometimes bringing our dog along presents challenges. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a few tricks that make this process easier. Since I have family members who will soon be visiting me in Chicago with their dog, I’d like to celebrate by sharing my tricks with you.

1. Avoid the Plane

Plane travel may be easier for humans, but it isn’t easy for dogs. Don’t put your dog on a plane if you can help it. The only way that this is an acceptable option is if you are relocating across the ocean and don’t have another option. If you must take your dog on a plane, be sure to follow the guidelines set out by PETA. Otherwise, take a car or other pet-friendly form of transportation.

2. Prepare Properly

Make sure you and your dog are properly prepared for your trip. Every pet should have a microchip for identification purposes. This is especially true if you are traveling with your animal away from home. Microchips are painless to insert, and they can help you find an animal that has been lost. Also, make sure your animal is in good health. A trip to the vet and a clean bill of health are essential for pets and their owners about to embark on a journey.

3. Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel

It might take some time to find the right hotel for you and your dog. You can research pet-friendly hotels online. Many pet-friendly hotels are happy to help pet owners find local parks or walking trails to help dogs get necessary exercise. Sometimes, pet-friendly hotels will offer breakfast for dogs, a treat that makes travel even easier. Remember, you are responsible for your dog’s behavior while staying in any hotel, so take steps to help keep your pet calm. Some hotels in downtown Chicago offer some great hotel options.

4. Keep Your Dog Calm

Keeping your dog calm and content will help your entire family have a better trip. Bring along a couple favorite toys for your dog to enjoy. A favorite treat, blanket or bone can also help your four-legged friend relax. My family also uses lavender oil to help our dog relax. We rub this on our hands before petting her. This will also help him or him feel more safe and secure.

Your dog is an important part of your family. Don’t leave four-legged family members out. Use these tricks to include them in the vacation family fun!

I would like to thank all the puppy raisers who took the time to share their words of wisdom and their helpful advice with me!  Thanks so much!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New Assessment Kennel!

It was a long drive to Southeastern Guide Dogs for a puppy meeting, but the reason was quite a special one: the opening of the new assessment kennel!!! And we were going to get to see it for the first time! WOOT!!  How exciting is that?!

South and Central Pinellas Puppy Raiser Groups had obedience before the opening ceremony. John Bauer was leading the meeting.
 It was a lovely day for a building ribbon cutting ceremony.  Perfect weather for it.  And there was a nice big crowd.

Puppy raisers were doing obedience.

Fred and Dewey were in the sun for a tiny bit.

Dewey quickly migrated to a down stay in the shade.

Westen was looking very handsome.

A south puppy raiser and her cute yellow puppy.

Brian and Marcia are trying the sit and pay attention to me command. 

Bill walks up to try and distract Marcia, but fails. 

Julie was puppy sitting Java.

Cesar, a yellow lab puppy, was just so darn photogenic.

Cesar, smiling.

Chris pointed out this guide dog with a curly tail.  We think he must have Jack as a dad.  Jam has Jack as a dad.  Curly tails are his speciality.

Titus welcoming us to the ribbon cutting.

Cesar, being cute again.

Mr. Hirst talking about the center, named after him and his generous donation.

Marcia remembers me.  Can you see her foot on my foot?

Outside of the Hirst Assessment Kennel.
Inside of the female kennel wing.

female kennels.

Self-watering drinking fountains for the dogs in the kennels! How cool is that?

One of the pups was already learning how to drink out of the fountain!
Hurricane proof in-out doors on the kennels.  

Grates for waste, easy clean up, drains are flushed every 20 minutes (I hope I have that right!).

They have their own vet clinic. See photos below.

Place for exams.

Scales to get weighed! She was 38 pounds. 

Privacy Wing.

For the ladies in the red tent.

For training in inclement weather and all other testing, etc. Those big glass windows at the back house the observation room.  Turn off the lights and the dogs don't know you are there!

Spa grooming center!
 It was such a fabulous center.  So nice and clean and state of the art.  What a joy for our puppies going in for training.  Thank you Mr. Hirst and to all the donors who made every inch of that training facility possible.  It is an amazing place. Dewey will love it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Coach Finds a Forever Home!

We received the best of news this week!  Coach has been placed with a forever family.

If I had to pick a super power for Coach, it would be that he was great with kids.  He loved being hugged.
Coach in the "Hugs, not Drugs" photo for Middle Division
At the end of a class, I would undo his coat and let kids pet him.
Group pet for freshmen class project.
He also had his favorites.  One of his quirks was to go over and flip himself into your lap like he's done with Wren below.
Wren with Coach in her lap.
He was also a calm story time dog. 

Congratulations Coach!  I know the Lawrence Family has found a wonderful new member of the family.  Someone to love their son, who will watch, sleep and run after him.  Coach comes from Jam's line; he's a hard bonder and once he gives his heart, it is gone.  He's an all-in sort of dog.  That's why we love him so much!

From our family to yours, much love!  I can't imagine a better home for him.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dewey And the Ducks

At our school we have a pair of mallards who live on the campus.  Periodically we will get an update that they have laid eggs somewhere and that we need to be very quiet or careful so as not to disturb the nesting mother duck.

Often when we are walking in, we will pass the mom and dad mallard.  Sometimes Dewey notices them and sometimes he doesn't.  It depends on which way the wind is blowing and whether the ducks are in his direct line of sight.  They can be tricksy and hide in the bushes.

On Friday, a dark and rainy day, we were out walking.  We walked by the rain gutter that was making a loud waterfall onto some bricks.  It was a bit of a startling noise for Dewey so we stopped so he could get used to the sound.

Dewey staring at the waterfall.
It didn't take Dewey long to get used to the gushing of the water sound onto the bricks.  He lifted his head and looked up at the grass.
Dewey catching sight of the duck couple and pricking up his ears.
 He pricked up his ears.  I noticed this and looked down to where his gaze was fixed.  There were the mallards.
The mallards cavorting in the puddles.
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.  They were happily cavorting in the puddles, which were quite deep.

Dewey staring at the mallards.
Dewey was lost in thought.  Easter had passed. The rain was coming down.  It was a peaceful, zen moment.

I wonder what was going through his mind?