| Jeremy Wieland
Need to escape from the city but don’t want to leave your dog behind? Road trips with dogs can be fun as long as you prepare well. What’s more, they are a great way to spend quality time with your best friend. Here’s how to set up your dog for road trips.
Plan a pet-friendly route
When you are on a road trip with your dog, you will have to plan around their requirements—and that means pulling over for potty breaks as well as exercise. Check to ensure your route has an abundance of safe places to let your pet stretch their legs. Most major rest stops have dog areas for them to go to the bathroom, stretch their legs, and play.
Use Positive Reinforcement & Reward Your Dog with Treats
A compliant and relaxed dog will be easier to road trip with than a dog that is constantly misbehaving. Train your dog using positive reinforcement techniques. When your dog behaves well, reward with a treat, Bedtime Bones® for example. These give your dog a tasty and healthy incentive to behave well. Petting and verbal praise are also excellent reinforcement. Saying “good dog” while scratching the ears is a good example.
When you load your dog into the car, the dog gets a treat which shows that getting in the car without being coerced is what is expected. Then if we stop at a gas station, and he goes to the bathroom, provide a reward. When calling the dog back into the car, there is another reward. On the road, if we are eating lunch in the car and your dog is sitting silently in the back there is more positive reinforcement. Over time, dogs learn to do the desired behavior, treat or not, with positive reinforcement and treats strengthening the proper behavior.
Take practice trips ahead of time
If you know that your dog is predominantly anxious during car rides, consider trying behavioral training methods. Before leaving on a long road trip with your dog, take some short practice trips that end in joyful experiences for them. Rides to the dog park or a favorite pet store, for instance, will help form more positive alliances with driving.
Pack the essentials
It’s always an excellent thought to travel with your pet’s necessities, particularly right now. Packing your pet’s food and water treats, medicine, toys, feeding bowls, as well as other supplies, will assist keep you in ensuring a pleasant road trip for both you and your dog. Lastly, remember to bring compostable bags to pick up pet waste so that everything can be disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way.