Hitting the road with the wind blowing through my fur is one of my favourite past times. Scratch that. That's the dream I had last night. Actually, my humans don't allow me to stick my head out the window because they worry something might fly into my eyes. . . thanks for looking out for me humans.
Anyway, when it's road trip time in our house my tail goes in overdrive, my chessie smile comes out and I sound like Chewbaca. . .no joke. It's a Chesapeake Bay Retriever thing. The ride to our destination is full of anticipation, so I use the time to rest up and save my energy for when we arrive. Jackman, on the other hand is a bit of different story, which we'll save for another post.
While some dogs settle into foreign places without a problem there are others that need a bit of extra care and attention. Over the years my humans and I have learned what helps me settle when we holiday that we want to share with our readers in hopes that it might help you and your humans on your next road trip or maybe your first one.
Keep the trip short and close to home.
Our first road trip was a four hour drive to Ohakune (where our humans first met). Fortunately, I behaved myself on the road so the long drive didn't phase me. But, if it's your first trip, keep the trip short and close to home. Just in case things don't go according to your or your humans plans the return drive home isn't too long. Let's not be thrown into deep end.
Bring a familiar item with you.
A blanket or favourite toy are good ideas. My humans went a bit overkill on our first trip. They brought everything except the kitchen sink - my crate, my bed, my favourite toy duck, Ducky, my short leash, my long leash, my ball, my water bowl, towels, my food bowl, my food, and my treats. Ok, that was a bit over the top. Today my humans know what I need and don't need. The important thing is that there are smells you are familiar with.
Stay in your humans' vehicle until your calm and relaxed.
I understand the excitement and anxiety that comes with visiting a new place, which is why it's best for us four-legged travellers to wait in the car/ute/van while our humans check-in and un-pack. This gives us time to settle and relax. There will be plenty of time to run around and sniff everything in sight.
Walk the accommodation on a lead
This is another tough one to follow. I remember when my humans let me out of the car that first time, all I wanted to do was run and stretch my legs. I did my best to behave myself as my humans walked me around the inside and outside of the accommodation. It gave me a chance to familiarise myself with the new smells and mark my spot as I saw fit. Once I showed my humans that I was relaxed they let me off the lead in the accommodation and then outside (I was allowed to be off lead outside).
Make your bed in a small space.
Since my humans brought my crate with us it was perfect for me to snuggle up in a ball to nap. We as dogs like small, dark confined spaces, especially in a new place. I remember when Jackman first arrived at our house, he always curled himself up under the couch until he became more comfortable with his surroundings. Small places are what we like, so the kitchen or the bathroom with a baby gate would be ideal for us. Depending on how long you're staying in this place, your humans may see you show signs that you can sleep in your usual place. Remember, if you sleep on your humans' bed at home, you may not be allowed to when on holiday.
Humans - stay in the first night
My humans are the best. The first night of our holiday we all stayed together. . .little did I know they we're going to "abandon" me the next day to ski. One of them went out to get takeaways while the other stayed with me. It can be overwhelming so the little things your humans can do to help you feel safe and secure the first night is important. One of the nights your away your humans might find a dog-friendly place so you can tag along.
Road trips are a wonderful time to bond with your humans. That first trip I rested my head on the centre console between my humans looking out the windscreen. It was awesome. I didn't know what lied ahead, but oh my gosh was I lucky puppy. We've been on a few road trips since and they get better each and every time. When you hit the road with your humans do you have trouble settling in? What helps you settle in a new place? Share your tips in the comments below so we and other four-legged travellers can give them a go.