No one wants to be that person … the one whose dog is barking in a hotel. Learn what to teach your dog before you travel, and tips to keep him quiet during your stay.
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Not only would it be heartbreaking to think of your dog being that distressed. It would be embarrassing to know that you’re responsible for disturbing all the other guests. And it could be expensive if the hotel asks you and your dog to leave!
Barking Dogs In Hotels Leads to Higher Pet Fees
The real cost, though, could affect the entire pet travel community. Some places stop allowing pets because of dogs barking in the hotel room.
Recently, a hotel manager asked to have his hotel listing removed from GoPetFriendly.com. When I asked why they were no longer pet friendly, this was his response:
[Being pet friendly…] has cost us too much in guest satisfaction and in room rebates to other guests disturbed by barking dogs. This happens more often than we would like, and it’s pushed us to the brink.
Over the years, I’ve railed against unreasonable pet fees. But I hadn’t considered the expense of dogs barking in hotels.
The reimbursements required to satisfy disgruntled guests disturbed by anxious dogs are undoubtedly being spread across all pet travelers in the form of higher pet fees. And that’s only if the hotel doesn’t decide to stop welcoming pets altogether!
So what can we, as responsible pet travelers, do to keep from spoiling the fun for everyone else? The tips below will help ensure you’re not the one whose dog is barking in a hotel.
Ask If A Hotel Is The Best Choice
Before you travel together, you’ll need to understand your dog’s tendencies and limitations. It’s your job to keep your pup out of situations he’s not ready to handle.
So if your dog barks a lot at home, a hotel is probably not the right accommodation choice for you right now. You’ll all likely be more comfortable staying in a pet friendly vacation rental, bed and breakfast, cabin, or with family or friends.
Any of these option will be quieter than a hotel. And staying with friends or family might mean there are people (or pets) around to keep your pup company.
In time, you can teach your dog to stop barking on command. Once he’s acquired that skill, you’ll be able to consider hotels a viable option.
Teaching Your Dog To Stop Barking
Teaching your dog to stop barking takes time and patience. And, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you teach your dog never to bark … only to stop barking when you ask.
This kind of training is best started at home. And I’ve found Dr. Dunbar’s videos to be very helpful for training Myles. One of our biggest challenges was to teach Myles to stop barking at people or dogs walking by our motorhome when we stay in RV parks. It’s a similar situation to staying in hotels and expecting your dog to stop barking at unfamiliar noises.
We started by teaching Myles a command that meant he should bark. We use, “tell me,” and when he started barking I’d say the command and then praise him when he continued barking.
READ MORE ⇒ Training Your Dog To Travel
Then I’d hold a treat in front of his nose and tell him to “hush.” Dogs can’t sniff and bark at the same time, so he’d quiet down and I’d give him the treat.
Over time, I extended the time between saying “hush” and giving him the treat — teaching him to stay quiet longer and longer to get his reward.
After he had the hang of it, we started practicing with more difficult distractions … people walking by, dogs, squirrels, and chipmunks outside the RV. Each new distraction required a little work to overcome, but he caught on faster and faster.
Now I thank him for one bark when he sees something he thinks we should know about — it’s a dog’s job to warn us, after all! But, if he barks a second time, I tell him to hush.
It takes time, and you have to be consistent, which is why it’s better to start this training at home. Once your dog understands the command, you’ll have a much easier time staying in a hotel and getting her to relax when she hears unusual noises.
Strategies to Avoid Dog Barking in a Hotel
If your dog has the skills to stay quietly in a hotel, you can avoid any chance that he’ll disturb others by not leaving him alone. Sitting by himself in a unfamiliar place that smells like strangers and has unusual noises wouldn’t be fun for any dog.
Instead, plan activities that include your pup, use room service or take-out for your meals, and have friends gather at your hotel rather than going out to meet them.
Another alternative would be to hire a pet sitter to stay with your pet while you’re out. The front desk may even have a list of local pet sitters they recommend.
READ MORE ⇒ Tips for Finding the Right Pet Sitter
Set Your Pet Up for Success
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If you must leave your pet alone in a hotel for a short period of time, these steps will help you and your dog avoid problems:
- Be sure the hotel’s pet policy allows you to leave pets unattended. Note any limitations on the length of time pets are allowed to be alone.
- Do not leave your pets alone until they’ve acclimated to the hotel room. Take time to establish the hotel room as “home” in your dog’s mind, so he understands that when you leave, you’ll be right back. This might mean not leaving your dog until after you spend a night sleeping in the room.
- If available, upgrade to a suite. Having a separate living and bedroom, for example, allows you to settle your dog in the room furthest from the hallway. The room between becomes a buffer, giving your dog space from activity outside your door.
- Keep the time you’re away as short as possible. Do what you have to do and get back to your dog as quickly as possible.
- Bring the things that make your dog comfortable, like his bed or blanket. For dogs that are used to sleeping in a crate, consider covering the crate with a blanket from home to help keep him calm.
- Tired dogs are less boisterous. Be sure your dog has a long walk with plenty of opportunities to relieve himself before you go out.
- Pack something extra-special to keep him busy while he’s alone. Whether it’s a tasty chew, a toy stuffed with food, or a dog puzzle that requires work to get the treats out. If his mouth is busy, he’ll be less likely to bark!
- Help your dog relax by tuning in a classical music station on the radio or television. Leave it playing quietly to cover any noises that might trigger barking.
- Stop by the front desk every time you leave your pet to verify that the staff on duty has your cell phone number. If you need to turn your ringer off, leave your phone on vibrate so you can always be reached.
- Every dog can have a bad day. If the hotel notifies you that your pup is missing you loudly, apologize and return to the hotel immediately. Then don’t leave your dog alone again for the rest of your stay.
READ MORE ⇒ Hotel Chains Where Pets Stay Free
Staying in pet friendly hotels is a privilege. And it’s our responsibility to avoid causing issues for the hotel or other guests. Do you have additional tips for keeping dogs quiet in hotel rooms? Please leave a note in the comments below!
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