Traveling With Your Dog Should Not Be Stressful!

April 1, 2021

With so many people getting vaccinated, our long-awaited vacation plans will finally happen in the coming months (fingers crossed). Dog lovers often include their dogs in their travel plans because we love spending time with our animals, yet their presence can cause us to stress.

What if they soil inside?

What if they break something?

What if they get loose and run away?

Stress can cause us to fall back into bad habits of yelling at, or punishing, our dogs. In turn, the dog is stressed and more likely to mess up.  Here are some tips to keep the relaxation in your vacation.

Limit your dog’s freedom:

When you travel with your dog, limit the dog’s freedom to ensure they don’t destroy anything or climb on furniture (remember, not everyone wants dogs on their furniture).

It is not foreign for a fully housebroken dog to mark or have an accident inside a hotel or visiting home. Our first rescue dog never went on furniture and was fully housebroken, yet the first time we brought her on vacation, she jumped on the bed and urinated on it. Anxiety caused this behavior.

The same dog had the habit of licking dirty dishes in my dishwasher. While I did not condone it, it was a behavior I had not yet conquered. When we visited my in-law’s house, I was careful not to allow her access to the kitchen while we cleaned up after meals to ensure her tongue was not in the dishwasher. My father-in-law would have thrown all his dishes away if he’d ever witnessed the behavior.

Photo Credit: Tristan Pineda

Remember Your Training Skills:

An error dog owners make, especially when stressed, is failing to issue commands to their dogs. Instead, they scream the dog’s name repeatedly and wonder why the dog isn’t listening. Be mindful of your words when communicating with your dog.

If your dog is not following commands, don’t get frustrated or angry. Dogs do not generalize. Assume your dog does not understand the commands in this strange location or with the added distractions. Use this opportunity to advance training by calmly working commands. Be sure to provide plenty of rewards when they comply.

Photo Credit: Akash Rai, Unsplash

Don’t Forget The Dog Tags:

Make sure your dog has ID tags that include your cell phone number rather than just your home number and home address. This way if your dog were to escape through an open door or gate, you will be alerted the moment someone finds them.

Here are a few items to bring with you on vacation:

  • crate or play yard
  • leash your dog can drag indoors to ensure they stay close by
  • harness
  • gates to limit access to other rooms
  • toys/bones to keep them entertained
  • walking leash
  • training treats
  • ID Tag that includes your cell phone numbers
  • A dog seat belt to keep them safe during car rides

A little hard work now will make future trips more enjoyable for you, your hosts and your dog.


Katie McKnight


Do you want to learn to train dogs?  ISCDT’s  18 week online program is a hands-on program where students are required to work with dogs. Skill and ability is determined through a series of videos submitted to the school. We also offer a 2-week and 4-month in-person internship. To learn more about the courses we offer, visit


Feature Photo Credit:  Ja San Miguel, Unsplash

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