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Barking Dogs In Hotel Rooms: The True Cost & Tips For A Quiet Stay

Barking Dogs in Hotel Rooms - How to Keep Your Dog QuietNo one wants to be that dog owner … the one who leaves their pooch alone in a hotel room, and finds out later that the poor pup barked incessantly the whole time. Not only is it heartbreaking to think of your dog being that upset, it’s embarrassing to know that you’re responsible for disturbing other guests, and it could be expensive if the hotel asks you and your dog to leave.

The real cost, though, could affect the entire pet travel community. Hotels are choosing to stop welcoming canine guests, due to problems with barking dogs. Recently a hotel manager contacted me to remove his hotel listing from the GoPetFriendly.com website. When I asked why they decided to stop being pet friendly, this was his response:

[Being pet friendly…] has cost us too much in guest satisfaction and in room rebates to other guests disturbed by barking dogs.  It is unfortunate because there are a lot of responsible pet owners, but the irresponsible ones have become too much for us to bear.  We have pet owners sign our policy and provide contact information, but if we need to inform them of their pet’s behavior, they get upset with us when they have to leave dinner or their entertainment venue to quiet down their pet. This happens more often than we would like, obviously, and it’s pushed us to the brink.  

I’m the first to rail against “unreasonable” pet fees, but I have to admit, I hadn’t considered the hotel’s expense to reimburse guests disturbed by barking dogs. And, while I’ve never been told that Ty and Buster have caused a commotion in a hotel, the cost of the dogs that do is undoubtedly being spread across all pet travelers – if the hotel decide to remain pet friendly at all.

So, what can we, as responsible pet travelers, do to be sure that we’re not one of the bad apples spoiling the fun for everyone else? Here are some tips to be sure that your next hotel stay is pleasant for everyone.

Topnotch Resort and Spa - Stowe, VT

This is more comfy than my bed!

 

Tips for Keeping Dogs Quiet in Hotel Rooms

Before you begin traveling together, you’ll need a good understanding of your dog and his limitations. It’s our job to keep our dogs out of situations they’re not going to handle well – so if your dog barks a lot at home, a hotel is probably not the right accommodation choice for you. Consider staying in a rental property, bed and breakfast, cabin, or with family or friends – somewhere quieter, or with people that he knows who can keep him company.

Once you’ve decided that your dog has the skills to do well in a hotel, you can avoid any chance that he’ll disturb others by not leaving him alone. Sitting by himself all day in a unfamiliar place, that smells like strangers, and has unusual noises coming from the hall can’t be fun for any dog. Instead, plan activities where your pup can join you, use room service or take-out for your meals, and have friends gather at your hotel rather than going out to meet them. Or hire a pet sitter to stay with him while you’re out – the front desk may even have a list of local pet sitters they recommend.

If you do need to leave your pet alone in a hotel room, here are some steps you can take take to avoid problems:

  1. Be sure the hotel’s pet policy allows you to leave pets unattended, and take note of any limitations on the length of time pets may be alone.
  2. Do not leave your pets alone until they’ve acclimated to the hotel room. Taking your dog to a place he doesn’t recognize and promptly leaving him is a sure-fire way to induce a panic attack. You’ll need to establish the hotel room as “home” in your dog’s mind, so he understands that when you leave, you’ll be right back. That can take varying amounts of time for different dogs – Ty and Buster usually make the connection after we’ve slept there one night.
  3. If the hotel offers the option, consider upgrading to a two-room suite. We recently stayed in a hotel room that had a bedroom and living room. When we left the dogs, we got them settled in the bedroom and closed the door. With the living room between them and the hallway, they couldn’t hear any noise from people passing by.
  4. Keep the time you’re away as short as possible. Go downstairs for something to eat, run errands to places that don’t allow pets, or attend a quick meeting – but when you’re finished, get back to your pup as quickly as possible.
  5. Bring the things that make your dog comfortable, like his bed or crate. For dogs that are used to sleeping in a crate, you can also consider covering it with a blanket from home to help him stay calm.
  6. Tired dogs are less likely to create a ruckus, so be sure your dog has a nice, long walk with plenty of opportunities to relieve himself before you go out.
  7. Pack something extra-special to keep him busy while he’s alone. Whether it’s a toy stuffed with food and then frozen to last longer, or a puzzle that requires your dog to work to get the treats out – if he’s entertained, he’ll be less likely to bark.
  8. Turn on something that helps your dog relax. Find a classical music station on the radio or television, or get music specifically composed to reduce anxiety in pets from Through A Dog’s Ear, and leave it playing quietly to help cover any noises that might trigger barking.
  9. Even though the hotel probably collected your contact information when you checked in, stop by the front desk every time you leave your pet, to make sure the staff on duty has your cell phone number. And if you need to turn your ringer off, leave your phone on vibrate mode so that you can always be reached.
  10. Every dog can have a bad day, so if the hotel has to notify you that your pup is missing you loudly, apologize, return to the hotel immediately, and don’t leave your dog unattended again for the rest of your stay.

Staying in hotels with our pets is a privilege, and I hope by remembering that we can avoid any more hotels from revoking their pet friendly policy. Do you have additional tips for keeping dogs quiet in hotel rooms? Leave a note in the comments below!

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