Claim a spot in the room. This first thing you want to do is create a space in the hotel room that they can call their own. At home they have their favorite spot to sleep, so look for an area that resembles it. The goal here is to do your best to recreate that environment in your hotel room. You can make their spot a little homier by placing their favorite toy nearby. Give yourself bonus points for making everything in eye shot of their food and water bowls.
Bring blankets/bedding. Once you’ve selected the perfect location for your dog to relax in, show them that it’s theirs by placing their bedding or a blanket from home in that location. Bedding that smells like home works best because it will be something familiar in an unfamiliar environment. Alas, if you didn’t pack one or there wasn’t any room in an already jam-packed car, use a hotel sheet or two.
Bring a familiar toy. Unpack your dog’s favorite toy and place it near their bedding. Toys are a great way for dogs to work off nervous energy. If your dog starts getting anxious, which given all the strange smells and surroundings wouldn’t be surprising, spend some time introducing them to their new spot by playing with them and their toys. This tells them that this is an ok place to play and your relaxed attitude will also reinforce that this new place is a safe space for them too.
“This tells them that this is an ok place to play and your relaxed attitude will also reinforce that this new place is a safe space for them too.”
BONUS: Pack a day or two of extra food and a surplus of snacks. You never know how much more exercise they could be getting while on vacation. Your dog might need the extra calories!
Keep to their normal walking schedule. If you take your dog out every 6-8 hours when you’re at home, do the same while you’re on vacation. Hotels often have doggie-designated relief areas that aren’t too far from the grounds. Ask the front desk for a map and directions if you are unclear on how to get to those locations from your room.
Hang out in the room. If possible, plan to spend an hour in the room with your dog after you check in. Watch TV. Catch up on email. Take a nap. Our favorite option is to give our pup lots of attention – which means lots of ear rubs and rounds of hide and seek. After all, they’ve spent the last several hours confined in a car (just like you!) trying to amuse themselves while you were driving. Letting them know that even though it’s a strange place, you’re there, makes the experience of staying in a hotel room a little less scary.
These are a few of the ways we settle our pup in for stays at hotels. I’d love to know your do’s and don’ts for acclimating your dog in a hotel room. Add your tips in the comments below!
Do you have any tips for traveling with a pup? Share it below!
Hilary Fosdal runs redphonestudio.com, a web design and digital marketing company that helps solopreneurs improve their professional identity. Her dog Zed approves this message.