Summer Travel with Your Dog


Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KSA

A lot of folks are traveling with their dogs this summer. Travel can be stressful for our dogs (for us too). This is especially true for those of us who have dogs with underlying emotional challenges.

Here are some things to consider:

Pack for your dog like you would for yourself. Remember their medications, food, bowls, collars and ID, kennel or travel crate, bedding, etc.

Set up a quiet space for alone time where you are staying. We may go to see family and there may be many people and other animals there. Give your dog a break from all the activity.

Avoid trouble. If your dog has difficulty meeting new people or new dogs at home, they definitely will in a new setting. In fact, they may be even more sensitive to unknown people and animals. Protect your dog from an emotional (aggressive) outburst. Keep people and animals at a distance or confine your dog for a little while in their quiet place (mentioned above).

Don’t let anyone coerce or shame you. We all have friends or relatives who “know dogs” or fancy themselves dog training experts. They might try to push you into a decision about your dog that you know is wrong. Or, they might try to interact with your dog in a way that you know won’t work. Resist. Stand up for your dog. Be their voice.

Watch out for resource guarding. Dogs with a history of guarding food, objects, places or people will be likely to guard in a new setting. There may be dog toys or children’s toys available that you don’t have at home. Watch out. There will also be food at family gatherings that your dog will seek or guard. Confine your dog or keep them on leash in high-risk settings.

Let your dog’s body language be your guide. If your dog looks anxious or upset, trust what you see. Diffuse the situation and give your dog a break. Remember, avoiding an outburst is much more effective than responding to one.

Watch for overexertion and overheating.

Make sure your dog gets plenty of rest.

Many dogs do well traveling and having new experiences. Keep in mind though, travel is challenging even for typical dogs. Be your dog’s safe place – your dog’s advocate and protector. That’s the best way to set them up for success and a good time.


Michael Baugh is a dog trainer in Houston TX.