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Old 08-09-2014, 12:32 AM   #1
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New AS Owner: advice on traveling w/ dogs

Hi! My husband and I finally fulfilled a lifelong dream of being AS owners. We bought a 2014 barely used Flying Cloud.

We also have 4 dogs (3 lab-ish mixes and a pug). (Pict, from L-R, is Dean 6yrs, Frank 5years, Bogart 1.5yrs). I am a dog trainer (owner of Dog Training, Clicker Training - Masters of Mischief Dog Training - Denver, Co), so, message me all of your dog behavior questions!

I was wondering, what dog you wish you had known about traveling with yours pups before their maiden trip?Click image for larger version

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Old 08-10-2014, 10:15 PM   #2
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Make them sit before you exit the trailer and make sure you always exit first. We had a couple of anxious moments when they saw the squirrel first! We've been on the road 5 weeks now and have a routine down now. It's a blast. You will be glad you took them. Also, be sure to alternate days where there are off leash areas with days that don't have them. And they learn to appreciate grass when we find it. Lots of campgrounds have gravel only. We just had a lovely afternoon sitting outside the camper with my pooches laying in the grass and just enjoying it!
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:56 PM   #3
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Being the trainer you are, you will have most problems solved before they pop up. I train my own hunting dogs, flushing spaniels, Boykins to be specific, and well behaved dogs will be a joy to travel with. At present, we have my two Boykins and a Springer rescue. The springer is just starting training so she stays in a kennel inside when we leave them alone. We also close up the trailer and turn on radio and AC units with fans on high. All this to just insulate them from outside strange noises. They just go to sleep. Maybe the most important advice I can give is to beware of trash and bits of garbage in RV parks. I'm still amazed at how so many campers throw their chicken and pork chop bones, plus other leftovers, in the grass around campsites. After a couple of camping experiences at parks your dogs will be on the hunt for such as they will learn quickly what pigs some campers are. You will know as soon as the dogs discover this new source of treats. Your head up healing companion will become a nose to the ground sniffer. Keep them healthy, just keep a close eye on them as you walk them for exercise.
Welcome to Airstream life.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:18 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums!

All I can do is tell you some of our experience in Airstreaming for the last 10 years with our 3 dogs. Our current pack consists of one Cocker Spaniel, one Schnauzer, and one Schnoodle (supposedly). All rescues, the Cocker Spaniel from an abuse situation.

Use common sense, and just DO it!

Our dogs love to travel! They can sense preparations for a trip (stocking the trailer, etc.) and by departure morning we usually just let them into the truck so they can relax, even if we aren't going to leave for another hour!

We and the dogs have worked out patterns of getting along on the road. Each has their favorite spots in the truck and in the trailer. Daisy, our Cocker Spaniel, is our "cave dog". We have an extended-cab pickup truck and her favorite spot is the floor of the back seat, passenger side. So we pad that with cushions and blankets to give her a comfortable spot to sleep. The Schnoodle sprawls in the back seat except for occasional visits to the "flight deck" to see what's going on, and the Schnauzer has laid claim to Mom's lap.

As soon as we are under way they usually go to their favorite spots and go to sleep. We make frequent rest stops and at each stop we let them out on leash to "stretch their legs" (and use the "bathroom" facilities as necessary) with us. We also offer them a drink at each rest stop. (Any dog knows that a drink is better if your human holds the water bowl for you.)

The dogs quickly recognize the trailer as "home" and them have their favorite spots. We have a narrow-body (7 1/2 foot) trailer and we did have to learn to negotiate the occasional "dog jam" in the narrow aisle.

As pointed out previously, develop good situation awareness before opening the tow vehicle or trailer door. Once at a rest stop in the New Mexico desert, Daisy spotted a jack rabbit and went out the door after him. We mounted a search operation but Daisy beat us back to the trailer after about 20 really anxious minutes.

Take a supply of dog meds with you. We have had a couple of memorable bouts of dog diarrhea and so always take some Pepto Bismol and a supply of rice and chicken soup. Our vet also prescribed us a supply of Flagyl to have on hand if needed.

I don't know if there is any scientific basis for this claim, but dogs' stomachs seem to be more sensitive to drinking water than humans. We have never had any trouble drinking the local water but our vet suggested taking along a plentiful supply of water from home for the dogs to drink. Then when we get to a destination where we're going to be for a while, we switch them over to the local water and let them acclimate to it. I don't remember a bout of doggie diarrhea on the road since we started doing that.

Most campgrounds are dog friendly, although the campground guides sometimes list breed or number restrictions. We have seldom had a problem with our three. But some campgrounds don't allow dogs at all. Check the policy where you plan to stop for the night.

Take the pack on the road and enjoy! Your dogs will be experienced Airstreamers in no time!
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:32 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! I never would have thought of that campground stuff initially......and the idea of having to use my Doggy first aid skills to free a loose chicken bone makes me shudder!!!!!
per
I also didn't think about breed restrictions and # of dog restrictions......now I'll have something else to take into consideration.


My one concern is my Youngest, bogart, who is hyper worried. He's really nice with a new dog, but he barks his face off and goes nuts if he's held back by a leash or fence (I plan on traveling with xpens). I noticed there are rules about aggressive dogs which he isn't, but, a layman to dog behavior could easily mistake Bo's reactivity for aggression......I'll have to travel with a lot of baby food .
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:28 AM   #6
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Make sure your xpens will actually contain an excited dog (or dogs) who see a deer or other wildlife in the meadow across from your campsite. Otherwise, some pretty serious hilarity will ensue, though I daresay you wouldn't be the one laughing.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:11 AM   #7
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It sounds like a lot of people travel with dogs. We have one, too; a small "lap dog" who won't sit on your lap.

Last spring, we took a 5,000 mile roadtrip that made a big loop from Phoenix to San Francisco, up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway; a.k.a., Hwy-1) to Seattle, then back to Phoenix via Salt Lake City, Moab and Durango. It rained nearly every day that we were in California, Oregon and Washington; so we had to contend with a wet dog and wet coats, clothes and shoes for about eight of the 11 weeks.

We followed approximately the same route that some camping friends had taken a couple of weeks before us, with their three medium-sized dogs. However, their experience was drastically different from ours.

While we were only slightly inconvenienced by dealing with one small wet dog for the first few days, until we worked out a routine for getting everyone dry after each dog walk; their roadtrip was the vacation from hell.

Most of the time, while inside their small SOB, they had to keep three large wet dogs in pet carriers. And, they ended up bagging the wet towels and buying more, several times; because they couldn't get all of their towels dry while on the road. After the first couple of weeks of rain and wet dogs, they ended up staying in hotels for the remainder of the trip; and in frustration, they cut their trip short and headed home early.

When we met to compare roadtrip stories, they were so disillusioned with camping in the rain, traveling with wet dogs and unplanned hotel expenses (with pet surcharges), that they were seriously talking about selling their SOB and giving up camping.

I am pretty sure that the memories of this bad experience will fade with time, and they will most likely continue camping. However, they have already stated that in the future, they will leave their dogs at home with a dog sitter, or pay to board them; especially, if the trip is in poor weather.

Hopefully, your Airstream is large enough for three dogs; and they are better trained for travel. However, I suggest you take a few short weekend trips to see how things go before heading out on an extended roadtrip.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:31 AM   #8
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A minor detail: put the water dish on the hinge side of the front door. Fewer feet hit it that way.


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Old 08-11-2014, 06:10 PM   #9
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Re, on Phoenix's wet dog story: take old towels, LOTS of towels for the dry-off and the floor at the entry door.


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Old 08-11-2014, 07:32 PM   #10
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Decide where everyone will sleep.....and stick to your guns.

Don't use odiferous treats.

Cover everything that you might sit on.

If you can....I know it's a big job with these big guys...clean their feet with sensitive baby wipes when they come in at night.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:36 PM   #11
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How soon did anyone take their puppy camping?


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Old 08-11-2014, 08:30 PM   #12
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Maybe you can hold trailer training days as you go along. Imagine your next book...The Aluminum Kennel
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:31 PM   #13
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If you can keep your aluminum tube liveable with 4 active dogs on board (3 of them pretty big!), you'll be heroes in my book.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:02 PM   #14
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Watch out for grass burrs when you take them outside for their 'walks'. Might need doggie boots for some parts of the country.
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