Traveling Across the Country- with a PUPPY?!

When an event on the west coast tempts you to attend.. you plan a 4,000 mile road trip to go. And of course the best decision is to bring a puppy too! Daisy, my Alaskan Malamute puppy, and I recently got home from a very long road trip. We traveled for over 4000 miles round-trip, to attend a dog show and for me to attend and teach at a conformation dog training retreat in California. Traveling with a dog is not easy. Traveling With a four month old puppy for that long take some creativity.

Group trainer picture from the California workshop weekend.

Fortunately for me, and my two wonderful trainer friends who came with, we are all experienced in traveling with dogs. This prior experience helped give us some base knowledge about what the trip and all of the hotel stays might entail. But this was the longest road trip any of us had been on with dogs and certainly a 4 month old puppy on a trip with three other dogs would be interesting. So let's talk about travel!


Dogs playing at a rental backyard.

When booking hotels, I made notes in the reservation about room preferences, which I then confirmed when we checked in. Getting ground level rooms and rooms close to the stairwell make it much easier to bring in crates and to get outside quickly for a potty break. When initially planning the trip, I also tried to break up our overnight stays between hotels and rental homes with fenced yards. In hotels, we all have to stay quiet to respect others that are staying and honor any quiet time hours the hotel may have. But dogs need to be dogs! Finding rental homes that we could get in for a night, mixed in between hotels was a great way to let the dogs let loose and have some fun. We could easily go for a walk in the neighborhood and even let the dogs get loud and romp around inside for some play and decompression. Plus with a little extra space for all of the dogs, enrichment and chews were easier.

WHERE TO POTTY THE DOGS While our dogs are generally good travelers, who are lulled to sleep with the engine, we had to take frequent potty breaks. When along the road, convenient isn't always the safest. We tried to find large rest stops with more grass along the sides, or busier exits when possible so that we could find space to let the dogs out (grass by restaurants works great!) Finding grass and clean areas was essential. While it may be most convenient to fill the tank up with gas and quickly let the dog out, heavily trafficked areas are likely to be contaminated with more germs and pathogens. This isn't great for exposure for the dogs, but can be especially problematic if you have a young puppy who isn't full vaccinated or a puppy who (like most puppies) enjoys picking things up in their mouth!