Arriving at our hotel Friday afternoon for a relaxing weekend of family, basketball and room service, we were all set. We only brought one dog, Captain Jack, with us and he’s the easy one, mostly.
I’ll get back to the mostly; first, a few words about traveling with your dog and hotels. For the sake of blog-dom, this will cover only one aspect of hotel life.
Hotels are one great big giant apartment building. There are humans everywhere. They close doors, drop things, walk above you, knock, talk in the hallway, and they flood your silence with noise at midnight coming back to their room from the wedding. You get it.
If you live in an apartment, or if you have kids and family running around all day making noises from all over, you may luck out. If you live like I do, in a single-family home on a quiet street, without a million kids running around, you’ll need some help. Even if you do have an exciting house, the novel noises and far away distractions may be enough to get your dog to be “not” relaxed.
It’s helpful to bring the pup’s regular best things, beds, toys AND, it’s important to have special, high-value toys and treats.
So, it was funny/not funny when I left to spend three days in a hotel without those things. While rushing out of the house, I forgot the very important items. Jack’s ‘interactive food toys’. It may sound scientific and expensive, and while yes, it is, and no it doesn’t have to be, it was a huge deal for the relaxing part of the trip.
“OMG, I forgot all of his food toys!”
KONG, Bully Sticks, Yak Chews, Tricky Treat Ball, Orb, Peanut, large or small, Nina Ottoson, Zannies, Pet Tutor……………..something — anything! — to keep him busy ON HIS OWN.
None of those were in my bag. Here’s the “mostly” from before. Jack is great in hotels, he’s traveled many miles and has stayed in many different dwellings. But he still can’t get used to other sounds once he’s relaxing. He wants to protect the palace.
I had to improvise. I got creative. I started looking around the room to see what we had. Yes, I could definitely make this work. Having a small dog who’s not very destructive with his play and teeth was a huge help.
I had three viable options.
- A plastic gallon water bottle
- Plastic coffee cup with plastic lid
- One of Jack’s blankets
Since the plastic water bottle was bigger than Jack and it would have made a lot of noise, I opted for the coffee cup. I knew he was too small to wrap his teeth around it so I hoped it would last a few minutes at least.
I broke up some treats, made a few crumbs for easy flow and put them in the cup. Put the lid on real tight, and put it on the floor. The crumbs were falling slowly out of the sip hole, while he started to push the cup around with his nose. He was very gentle with it as he was happy collecting crumbs. It took him about 7 minutes until he pushed his paw on it hard enough to pop the top and unveil a boatload, or cupload, of treats. As an added bonus he did no damage to the cup and I was able to go another round with it for another several minutes. We all enjoyed our dinner and Jack had a blast scavenging for food and not paying any attention to hotel sounds.
This is a supervised exercise only as it could have gone a myriad of different ways. Many of you are likely hysterical with the thought of your dog smashing the cup in half, eating all the treats, then eating the cup. Those dogs would have gone the plastic gallon bottle route. Just pop the treats in the dry bottle and watch your pup push it and flap it around to get the treats out. Needless to say, all of these homemade, quick improvs are with total human supervision and always picked up before you leave. If they start to damage to the toy, do a different game.
With the blankets you can hide treats in the blanket and then crumble it up and let your dog explore. This would hopefully be one of the blankets you brought from home for you dog.
The next morning I was at the pet store. I purchased (retail, which just about killed me),
- 1 Trickey Treat Ball
- 1 Bully stick
- 1 Braided bully stick
I also bought him a new toy. Couldn’t resist.