It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Recently, I went on a weekend vacation with Porter and Tall Guy. We ventured down to Hocking Hills for a weekend hiking and hanging out in a cabin. The trails were gorgeous and it was a great feeling to have Porter along for the trip. I loved every minute of it. Below are my 4 lessons learned on my vacation with Porter:
1. Don’t forget the Basics
When we started off on our road trip I was surprised at Porter’s behavior. Normally on long road trips he settles down within the first 30 min and snoozes until we get to our final destination. But, an hour and a half into the drive he was still pacey, panting and whining. We decided to stop for a quick break and I got him out of the car. There was a ledge in the parking lot so I made him jump up and down from the ledge multiple times to wear out some energy. The minute we got back in the car he was all smiles and laid down. I forgot the golden rule: Activity before a road trip. Because he’s always so good in the car I forgot why he’s so good in the car. Because I work him before we start! So, get some Activity in before you start in on your road trip.
2. Embrace the Victories
Porter and I encountered more dogs on our vacation than we usually see in a month. This can be stressful for a dog reactive dog and their owner. I started to feel discouraged when Porter would act in a way I didn’t think was acceptable. But, then I remembered to embrace the small victories. Like that time I was standing on a rock edge and a dog lunged at Porter through my legs snarling and growling and Porter did nothing. He just stood there still as could be. I guess we can call that a huge victory, not a small one. None the less, pay attention to the positives.
3. Know When to Say Enough
Piloting your dog through situations is key. However, Piloting can be exhausting and you need to make sure you’re listening to both your body and your dog. On our second day we did an 8.5 mile hike. It was hot, tiring, and amazing. However, towards the end of the hike I could feel that I was exhausted and starting to get a little irritable around the larger less mannered crowds.
I looked at Porter and I could tell he had slight signs of stress. That’s how I knew it was time to go. I was exhausted and he was exhausted. I could keep Piloting him, but I was going to miss a signal or a sign. Just like when I missed the little kid reach out and grab for him. Luckily enough he paid attention to me and I was able to get him through the situation. But it was time to go because I was no longer on my game. Don’t push it. When it’s time to go home, go home.
4. Prepare for the Unexpected
Remember that time I wrote a blog post about the 5 Items to take with you on Vacation with your dog? Remember that time I said to bring Benadryl? Yeah… I wasn’t joking.
Our second night on vacation I see an epic battle between Porter and a bee. Ok, not so much an epic battle as much as a bee landed on Porter’s nose, he intelligently tried to eat it and it stung him. As I realized what happened I was already moving towards the Benadryl I had packed. Porter’s nose swelled up a little but within an hour the swelling had subsided since I was able to give him the medication. It’s better to have it and not use it than not have it and need it.
Going on vacations with your dog can be so rewarding. It’s a great way to bond and have new and exciting adventures together. Have fun with it! Take advantage of one of the best friendships you will ever have!
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH