I love taking Nola with me whenever possible, and I'm happy to say that with-dog adventure is becoming more widely accepted every day (in most places, anyway), especially if you have a smaller dog.
Still, there's definitely still some stigma attached to with-dog travel (including just exploring around your own town), and some adversities that you have to work around. Having a small dog makes things easier, for certain, but there's definitely still challenges.
After talking with other small dog owners, reading different blogs, and compiling my own experiences, I decided to share the three main things that have helped me immeasurably in my with-small dog experience. They're incredibly simply, but surprisingly effective!
4. Have a quiet, well behaved dog
This should be a no-brainer, but so many people think that it's okay to bring an unruly dog wherever they please, and then be offended when they're either asked to leave, or have a subpar experience. A disruptive and untrained dog makes everyone's experience less enjoyable, and makes it that much harder for those with well behaved dogs to be good ambassadors when there's a negative perception already in place.
A quiet and well trained dog small dog often goes unnoticed or ignored at worst, and complimented and enjoyed at best. When your dog isn't being a pest, the staff of establishments are much more likely to be accommodating to you, and your pup. Just last week Nola and I went blueberry picking at a local place that wasn't technically
It opens so many more doors than you'd think!
3. Looks Matter
It's a lie when people say that appearances don't matter. The way you present yourself (and your dog) is people's first impression of you, and that's the one that will leave the biggest impact while out and about (after all, they aren't getting the chance to know you past the surface), and flavor your experience.
Now, I'm not saying you need to be a beauty queen, or dressed to the nines 24/7. However, don't be a slob. Don't wear clothes that are ill-fitting, whoreish, full of tears or holes, ect. Be clean and decently groomed. You don't need to be dolled up, but make sure your hair is brushed and in some sort of order, your face clean, teeth brushed, ect. If you look dirty and trashy, that's how you'll be perceived.
The same goes for your dog. Nola is short haired and dark colored, so she can look clean even when she's in dire need of a bath, but smell is always telling. If your dog stinks like dog (or worse), especially in a non-pet store setting, it's going to bother people, and therefore make your experience less enjoyable since you'll be the cause of their annoyance.
Make sure your dog's coat is clean and somewhat groomed, eyes clean, nails done, ect. It shows that your dog is clean, and accustomed to being well cared for.
Same goes for your dog's collar/leash/harness. Your dog doesn't have to sport as much high end bling as Nola, but well maintained gear is another sign of care.
2. Don't Be Flashy
Meaning, don't make big deal of having your dog with you. Especially places that are either dog friendly, but not normally dog populated (such as Lowes, local stores, ect), or aren't technically dog friendly (such as our U-Pick blueberry adventure), but don't mind a well behaved dog.
Don't flash your pup. ;)
Inconspicuous is the name of the game!
1. Be polite
This is frightfully basic, but is something so many people overlook. This is something I saw a surprising amount of while at BlogPaws and the various airports we gallivanted through, and it boggles my mind; people expect polite and prompt service, but treat people like dirt on the bottom of their shoes.
Basic pleasantries are nearly a thing of the past, and it's sad. All it takes is a couple minutes of your time, and it changes your entire experience. Maintaining eye contact, smiling, using ma'am/sir, a bit of small talk and please/thank you is all it takes.
With that, I've had rules bent, accommodations and exceptions made, and overall better service. It makes with small dog travel infinitely more enjoyable, and easier!
What about you? How do you make your with dog adventures easier?
- Dachshund Mommy