If you have a wanderlust nature and want to take your companion on adventures, you may be concerned about your dog’s behavior at the hotel. All dog owners know that they can be as good as gold at home, but as soon as the environment changes, so does their behavior.
Traveling, new places and faces, and a change in routine can stress your dog out, but there are some tips you can follow to help grow your dog’s hotel etiquette to five stars, so you can travel and make memories together.
How to Train Your Dog to Behave at Hotels
1. Introduce New Environments Gradually
It’s best to gradually expose your pet to new environments and experiences, other dogs, unfamiliar people, and new sounds. You can begin socializing with park visits, train rides, visits with family and friends, or a trip to the beach. Introduce as many new things as possible, but make sure your dog feels safe. Start with short sessions, so you do not overwhelm your dog; it needs to be a positive experience. As time passes and they feel more comfortable, you can make the sessions longer.
2. Try a Practice Trip
Before you head off on your vacation, plan a “practice trip” by staying overnight with a friend. While there, you can leave your dog in another room to see how it responds. It can even be helpful to set up Skype on your phone or laptop so you can watch how your dog reacts.
3. Teach Your Dog Good Car Behavior
Teaching your dog good car behavior will help with the trip to the hotel, as well as if you need to catch taxis or trains. The goal is for your dog to remain calm, and once you feel it has mastered this training, you can practice by having a family member or friend drive you and your dog around in the car.
Open both back doors of the car and have two leashes attached. Have two adults present, one at each door, and walk your dog toward the vehicle. Allow one person to practice getting your dog in and out of the car from one side, and practice having your dog enter and exit the car from the opposite side.
Remember, the more praise you give your dog, the more confident it will be.
4. Don’t Change your Dog’s Routine
When we go on vacation, we enjoy the change in routine, but it’s different for dogs as they usually thrive from routine. Try to keep their routine the same as at home and bring familiar items such as their favorite toys and blankets.
5. Redirect Issues as They Happen
If you notice your dog struggling in a new environment, walk away or redirect it instead of attempting to correct it. Your dog may be a little overwhelmed by the newness of things, so helping it focus on something else can help them blow off some steam. Have some toys with you, so you are prepared for this situation.
6. Don’t Encourage Troubling Behaviors
Any time that you spend with your dog, you are actually teaching them. If you allow them to act up at a hotel, you are encouraging them. If you promote excitement in a new environment, your dog may be over-animated when arriving at the hotel. They need to stay calm while traveling and during their stay at the hotel.
7. Know Your Dog’s Stress Signals
No matter how well-behaved your dog is, new environments, people, and changes in routine can cause them stress. Dogs show stress in different ways, so it’s important to know how your dog responds, so you know that it needs some comfort. Typical signs of stress include yawning, moaning, panting, and pacing.
You can help your dog by finding a quiet spot or taking a slow walk in an area that is not too busy.
8. Teach Your Dog Not to Bark
This may sound cruel, but we don’t mean teaching your dog not to bark at all, just when you tell it to stop. When your dog barks, say your chosen command, such as “quiet,” calmly and firmly. When your dog stops barking, praise and reward it with its favorite treat. Keep in mind that you should never reward them while they are barking. Your dog will eventually learn that it will get a tasty treat if it stops barking when hearing your command.
Before You Travel with Your Dog
Before you get into vacation mode and plan a trip with your dog, consider these factors:
Make Sure Your Pet is Allowed
Naturally, you want to make sure before your trip that the hotel you will be staying at is pet friendly. Otherwise, you will already be off to a bad start. You can call the hotel to check for any restrictions, fees, or additional requirements; some hotels only accept certain breeds and dogs of a certain weight.
While every hotel is different, some things to be mindful of are:
Choose the Best Location
The location of the hotel room you book can make all the difference. Ask for a room with quick access, preferably a ground floor room close to a grassy area if possible. Rooms away from busy areas and elevators can help reduce noise and make your dog feel more at ease in your room.
Be Realistic About Your Dogs Behavior
Not all pets are good travelers, and certain behaviors, such as excessive barking, inconsistent potty training, and anxiety, can make them unsuitable for hotel stays. If training is unsuccessful, you can look for a good boarding kennel or pet sitter. Traveling and overnight stays in hotels with a dog that is not properly trained can be a nightmare, so do not force it. If you feel your dog is not cut out for it, then make alternative arrangements.
Additional Tips for Staying in a Hotel with Your Dog
Traveling with your beloved dog can be one the most fun and memory-making experiences, but preparation is vital. By training and preparing your dog, you can establish good behavior and set out on your vacation much more confidently. Remember that training takes patience and time and should always be done with positive reinforcement. Also, be realistic about your dog’s behavior. If you are not confident enough in its suitability for hotel stays, or if your dog becomes easily stressed, it may be best to leave them with a pet sitter. Never force the situation, as it can result in an unhappy dog, unhappy hotel guests, and an unhappy owner with additional bills.
Featured Image Credit: Ross Helen, Shutterstock