Travel Etiquette

happy family playing with dog on beach

I just got back from a trip to Colorado.  I travelled from Georgia by car and took my dogs for an agility seminar.  I extended my stay since the drive was long, and thought I would take a little vacation while possible.

Very quickly it became apparent that there was a problem with off leash dogs in pet friendly accommodations.  While I am an advocate of off-leash and allowing dogs to have some freedom, I ran into several issues with other vacationers dogs.

My dogs are off leash trained.  I often will have them off leash and running around.  However I have total control of my dogs.  They are trained to leave other dogs and people alone unless given permission to go over and interact.  Permission comes from me, and is only given when appropriate.

There seems to be an idea that it’s fine to have your dog off leash as long as it does not run away.  However,  this is a very irresponsible approach for both your dogs and the new ones they meet.

Consider the following even if your dog is friendly:

  • The obvious first, I have a lab that does not like other dogs.  He is very well trained and leaves other dogs alone.  But when a dog runs up and gets in his face or jumps on him, all bets are off.
  • Dog with a medical issues.  My Dachshund is friendly, but has back problems and a step onto her back by another dog could cause big complications.
  • A young puppy in socialization period.  A puppy that is learning about the world around them and a little timid with new dogs will not have a positive experience with a strange dog running up and overwhelming them.

As an advocate of pet friendly vacations we need to take responsibility for our pets.  Having your dogs under control in public, not being a nuisance and cleaning up after them helps improve our chances or more places becoming pet friendly as they realize the demand.   Basic manners help keep the pet friendly places pet friendly.  Most towns, even little ones have a local dog park for your leash to come off and the free play to begin.

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