We often lament that not all business are equally pet friendly … some go out of their way to accommodating, while others barely tolerate our furry family members. But, if we’re truly being fair, the other side of the coin is true as well – not all pet owners are equally responsible and considerate.
Traveling with our pets is a privilege – not a right – and if we all make an effort to put our best paw forward, businesses will see that there’s no need to be concerned about welcoming our pets at their properties. To get the ball rolling, here are our suggested “Rules of the Road” for the pet travelers:
1. Scoop the Poop. There is absolutely NOTHING more aggravating than abandoned pet waste. This, more than anything else, causes people to resent dog owners, and is the primary reason that parks, beaches, and other locations don’t allow pets. And, it’s completely avoidable. So, don’t be a schmuck – always pick up!
2. Commit to Training. In our travels, we see lack of training as the most common cause of bad experiences. Don’t set your dog up for failure! If he isn’t consistently well behaved at home, it’s unlikely you’ll have any more success while traveling (and will probably do worse).
Commit to spend some time every day brushing up on your basic obedience skills, or sign up for a positive reinforcement class that will be fun for you and your dog, and provide goals for you to work toward as a team.
3. Get Plenty of Exercise. A tired puppy is a good puppy, so don’t neglect your morning walk to get on the road faster, or your evening walk because you are fatigued from the drive. Limit your travel to allow 1-2 exercise breaks for you and the dogs en route, and look for activities, like going for a hike, playing on the beach, or taking a walking tour, that allow your dog to burn off some energy as part of the day’s events.
4. Obey Leash Laws and Signage. It really doesn’t matter how well behaved you think your dog is – if the sign says dogs must be leashed, do it! Following leash laws shows respect for the resident pet owners that are left behind to deal with the repercussions created by people who don’t obey the rules.
5. Call Ahead to Confirm Pet Policies. We work hard to keep the pet policies provided on GoPetFriendly.com up-to-date, but things change quickly. Making a phone call to confirm pet policies can save time, tempers, and hurt feelings.
6. Be Considerate of Your Neighbor. There are people who prefer not to have our animals foisted upon them. It doesn’t matter if the cause is allergies, fear, or just a preference to be left alone … teach your pet to greet people only after they’ve been invited. Whether your “neighbor” is in the next plane seat, across from your table on the pet friendly patio, or at the other end of the park bench, it only takes a bit of care to minimize the impact your pet has on others.
7. Keep it Neat and Quiet. Hotels are one place that many of us travel with our pets, and with a little planning you can make sure your stay is pleasant for everyone. Bring an old sheet or blanket to cover any furniture your pet may lay on, request a room that gives you easy access to the outdoors, and make sure your pup’s not creating a disturbance if you need to leave him alone in the room.
8. Practice Your Patience. Patience is a must-have for successful pet friendly travels, because it takes more time to do what needs to be done and get to where you want to go when you travel with a pet. If you get frustrated, your pet will pick up on those emotions and get anxious – so take a deep breath and remember to slow down and sniff the roses.
9. Be Prepared to Leave. Sometimes, despite all your preparations, things may not work out. Pets have bad days too, so if something sets your dog off and calm cannot be restored – be the bigger person and move on. This seems to happen to us most often at restaurants, several times one of us has had to leave with our dogs while the other stayed behind to get our food to go and pay the bill.
10. Patronize Pet Friendly Businesses. Pet friendly establishments have gone out on a limb to cater to those of us with pets. It’s important to financially support those businesses that emotionally support us.
In summary, when you travel with your pet remember that you’re an ambassador for others who travel with theirs. We hope that you’ll join us in following these simple principles to make everyone’s experience more pleasant! Anything we missed?! Please add your thoughts in a comment!