Managing Your Dog’s Pottying on a Road Trip
We were over in Southwest Ranches finishing up a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® project for a new client and his beautiful Vizsula named Bear. Bear was a great dog and loved people, but would get out and attack the ducks in his neighbor’s pond. Although they weren’t the neighbor’s ducks, it still makes a big mess on his property and causes a big commotion. Because of the prey drive that the ducks created in Bear, we had to ramp up the training and created a special, invisible barrier between my client’s property and the ducks. We spent several days with my client in working with Bear and the ducks to make sure that we covered all the possible “duck scenarios” that Bear would experience. When we were done, Bear would much rather play with his bone under the Oak tree on the back of the property than deal with the ducks in the neighbor’s pond.
My client thought this was great and as we were packing up, asked a completely different question about Bear and “road trips”. It seems that they are going on a road trip up to Maine to visit his brother this summer and Bear was coming along. He asked if I had any suggestions on Bear and pottying on the trip.
Whenever we take our dogs on trips, especially road trips, their potty requirements is always a concern and somewhat of a mystery. We never know how often to stop and what to do if we stop and they don’t go to the bathroom. We also aren’t sure when we should feed them and what happens if they don’t eat their food when we give it to them. Also, we are never sure if we should leave them in the hotel room when we go out to dinner or take them with us. These are all valid questions and extra important when we are talking about a larger breed dog such as a Visula.
I told my client that we have traveled with our dogs for many years and have some very simple rules that we follow to make sure the trip in pleasant and without incident.
- The most important thing to understand is that he shouldn’t worry if Bear does not eat and drink as much while on the trip than he normally would at home. Bear will be in the car and somewhat confined for a large portion of the day. This lack of movement and minimal expenditure of energy will slow his metabolism down. He will naturally require less calories to maintain his body functions and he will eat less. Also, dogs do not like to potty where they live (i.e. their crate). Because Bear will be confined in a space in the car, that space will translate into his “crate” and he will naturally not want to potty in that area. He will naturally eat less in order to potty less.
- We find that potty breaks for larger dogs should normally occur every two to three hours during the day. If my client wanted to have a “dead head” and drive all night, Bear would probably hold it all night. This is simply emulating the natural clock within Bear’s metabolism.
- When my client stops, he should treat the potty break just like a potty break in the back yard. He should initially let Bear out on a long lead that could be twenty or thirty feel long. Let his Visula run around and play for a few minutes. After this takes place, he can calm things down by disengaging in the active play and remove himself as a “play target”. As Bear’s focus changes and his metabolism slows down, any urges to potty will take hold. He should give him at least five to ten minutes to “get the job done”.
- The best time for my client to feed Bear would be when they first get up. This should also be at least one hour before they plan to leave in the car in order to allow Bear to potty before they leave. If he needs to feed Bear while they are on the road, make it small portions. When they stop for the night, he should feed Bear immediately so that they will have time to take him out for a potty before they go to bed that night.
- I suggested that they don’t leave Bear alone in the hotel room. Since he is a hunting dog with a strong sense of prey, the noises coming from the other rooms could stimulate him for the hunt and cause a lot of barking and possible destruction. They should “order in” or run through a drive-thru for dinner. If the hotel has one of those “free breakfast buffets”, I suggested that they break up the “breakfast run” with someone staying back with Bear. That would also be a great time to get him out for his morning potty run before they take off driving for the day.
- I also suggested that they try not to bring Bear through the lobby when they check in and check out. That is normally a crazy time and they can’t give the needed focus and attention to Bear. A jumping and barking dog is the last thing that most Inn keepers want in their hotel. There is always a back entrance that is far less busy that they should use.
It all gets down to knowing how much and when goes in and then managing when it needs to come out. Robin and I always try to make ourselves available to you with dog training tips and assistance on containing your pets with our underground dog fence. Please click on Dog Fence Training Help Southwest Ranches South Florida or call (954) 472-4724. We have additional dog training and pet containment information at Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Southwest Ranches South Florida. We have trained over 3,500 dogs in the Southwest Ranches area and South Florida to be great dogs through behavioral dog training and invisible dog fence training. We have a great installation process and proven dog training system for our Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® Products. If your dog is just a homebody, but likes to steal food, not listen, never come, or jumps on your guests, please visit our dog training web site by clicking Home Dog Training Southwest Ranches South Florida.