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No 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.
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:
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!