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Dog-Days …and Nights (Travelling with your dog)

dog2I have an Australian Shepherd called Finnegan – Finn for short – he’s a great dog; friendly, well-behaved and adores everyone. I rarely take him with me on out-of-town trips though because finding a hotel that takes dogs is tough, if they say they accept pets, it usually just means they ‘tolerate’ them. I thought finding a hotel that actively welcomed them would be well-nigh impossible. That is until I checked out Accent Inns – these guys seriously love dogs, as their advertising says they really do speak Pekinese; although Finn is not fluent in Pekinese he certainly understands the sentiment and approves by vigorously wagging his little nub of a tail (Australian Shepherds don’t have full tails).

Visit any Accent Inns and you’ll find staff armed with treats, poop bags, and a special towel for wiping your best friend’s muddy paws after a day out in the many parks close to the hotel. Just ask the well-informed front desk staff for the best places to walk your pooch. I also enjoy the cookies and hot chocolate in the lobby after a full day exploring the neighbourhood with Finn – he enjoys the crumbs (I’m a messy eater, that’s what he loves about me)!

Travelling with a dog is not always easy, however accommodating the hotel might be, so here’s a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way that might make your next trip a little less stressful.

  1. Make sure you let the hotel know you require a pet-friendly room. Even though the hotel might welcome pets, it doesn’t mean every room in the hotel is open to them.
  2. Check whether there is a pet fee. I’ve heard of some hotels charging as much as $50 a night and a $150 non-refundable deposit for cleaning! Accent Inns charge a small fee of $20 per night up to a maximum of $45 per week, with $1 donated to the BCSPCA for each stay.
  3. If you have, or have had kids, remember the bag you used to pack when you went out anywhere? The one with diapers, drinks, snacks, creams, extra clothes – the works? Well do the same for your dog and include: food (duh!); spare leash; food and water bowls (try out the collapsible ones); chew toys (better them than a chair leg trust me); Fido’s bed (you want him to feel at home); and any drugs or vitamins he’s taking.
  4. Here’s a Cesar Milan tip. When you arrive, don’t let your dog barge his way into the room. Make him stay outside until after you’ve unpacked and done whatever else you need to do to settle in. Your scent should be everywhere before your dog enters the room. This is about ensuring he knows you are in control, not him. You tell him when he can move around the room, he should not make the decision. Also make sure there is plenty fresh water down for him.
  5. Go for a walk with your dog shortly after you arrive at the hotel. A well-exercised dog will be in a more relaxed state. This will help when he’s confronted by strangers and unusual situations. If he surprises you by growling at a stranger (this candog1 happen to the mildest dog when in a strange place) reassure him that all is okay, don’t yank him away from the person as that indicates something is wrong. Be calm, talk to him in assertive tones and show him you are in control. Finish your walk with a stroll around the grounds of the hotel so that he is familiar with his new temporary home.
  6. Never leave your dog alone in a hotel room; it can be scary and he’s likely to bark. Never let him on the beds as even the smallest dog will shed hairs that can be difficult to remove from many bed covers (you want to avoid any additional cleaning charges).
  7. Give him plenty of pee and poo breaks – more than usual, he’s out of his routine and he’s been travelling.

For my part, Finnegan is learning Pekinese for our next visit to an Accent Inns hotel and I’m ‘boning’ up on all the things I can do to make our visit trouble-free for all concerned.


Mike Wicks
Douglas, YAM and Salt magazines