This week we’re coming to you from Forest City, Iowa, where the Winnebago and Itasca Travelers Club Grand National Rally is taking place. This is our second year attending, and we’re so excited to be here again!
For those of us driving Winnebago and Itasca motorhomes, the rally is a perfect opportunity to learn a few things, make some new friends, and have a lot of fun in the process. I’m doing a presentation on traveling with pets based on my post, The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip – what better audience than a room full of RVer’s right?!
But there’s something here for everyone. The sessions on my list this year include the ins-and-outs of a Freightliner chassis, suggestions for tire maintenance, and tips for using our microwave/convection oven combo. And then there’s the entertainment – music performers play all day, there’s a concert every night, and plenty of social activities for mingling.
Considering all there is to do and see, it’s no wonder so many people consider this a must-do event each year. There were about 1,000 RVs here last year – and around 2,000 people. So … how we manage this with our “less social” dogs?
We’ve mentioned before that our dogs are less social than most. Ty is afraid of strangers and gets extremely uncomfortable when people he doesn’t know approach him. Buster, who came to us when he was about a year old, was probably never socialized. He’s leash reactive, meaning that he sometimes barks like crazy when he’s on leash and sees another dog – though we’re working on this constantly, and he’s improving.
To manage the boys’ challenges, we usually avoid taking them to crowded places. But occasionally we need to make an exception – like this week for the WIT Rally – so we’ve developed some strategies to keep Ty and Buster in their comfort zone, even with a lot of dogs and people around.
Buster prefers his treats be tossed on the ground in front of him, so he can sniff them ou while continuing to move past/away from what’s scaring him. We encourage him to focus on finding the treats by calling “Find it!” and over time it’s become a game that he really enjoys.
Ty, not surprisingly, finds eating food off the ground absolutely appalling. So we’ve taught him to walk in heel position and, as long as he says there, we feed him treat after treat until we’re past the difficulty.
No pet is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t travel together! It’s taken some time to discover the best ways to manage Ty and Buster’s challenges, but now we rarely even think about it – for us, it’s just become a way of life.
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