How To Holiday With Your Dog

Last week, our little family of three spent some days in Cornwall: me, my husband and our dog!  We had a lovely time with great weather, beautiful scenery, excellent food, generally chilling together in a very nice hotel.

A favourite thing to do was to take the little ferry across the water to another part of the peninsular to explore the beaches, woodland and National Trust areas.  Although Ludo found getting on the ferry a bit tricky, once he was aboard he seemed to love it!  Making friends with the captain and all the other travellers, human and canine, obviously.

Our hotel had a handful of rooms in which dogs were allowed, although I think Ludo was the only dog during our stay.  Many of the lovely staff were actually Romanian and so they were delighted to meet a dog from their homeland!  And Ludo, in turn, was happy to accept their homemade dog biscuits!

It can be really wonderful to holiday with your dog, but if we  acknowledge that it can be a real challenge for a dog from start to finish, then we can do somethings to ease the way.  They have no understanding of “holiday” after all, so it has the potential to be worrying.  

So here are the things that I do to make it easier for Ludo to cope, and even, enjoy himself!

  • My main thoughts are about: travelling safely, food, water, sleeping, toileting (…this actually could be for me as well LOL)
  • I have him travel in the car section rather than boot (which is more normal) so I can better control the air conditioning (we have a hammock and he has a harness that clips into the seatbelt clips)
  • Take his travel crate and have him sleep in it for a few days beforehand
  • Ludo eats raw food, so we took a travel fridge so we could be independent and not have to rely on asking the hotel staff (even though they did offer).  Some of my medication needs to be refrigerated so it works for us both!
  • On the food topic, we also took a washing up bowl and washing up liquid etc again so we could easily deal with raw food feeding
  • We booked a room with an outside space.  Ours was a little garden room with french doors opening into a small garden area.  Made last wees really easy! 
  • When we went for our meals we took a small mat and his tin of treats – this gives him easy and clear communication of where I want him to lie… being big, bright white boxer he gets a lot of attention, and so he can get very distracted!
  • That’s all the practical stuff covered.  Then we need to keep an eye on our interactions with him so that he still gets the right answers to his questions… if he pulls on the leash, slow down, do a bit of Stop Start Change Direction as a reminder that he doesn’t need to take the lead.  Gesture Eating is an easy way to let him know all is well and we are still perfectly good leaders.  Possibly because of our excitement about coming away and being on holiday, it’s even more necessary to make sure we are not overdoing eye contact and not overdoing attention.

Here’s a video summing up our adventures in Cornwall!

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