No one wants to be that person … the one whose dog is barking in a hotel.  But we’ve all heard it. Someone leaves their pup alone in a hotel room and returns later to find that the poor dog barked the whole time.

Not only is it heartbreaking to think of your dog being that upset, it’s embarrassing to know that you’re responsible for disturbing other guests. And it could be expensive if the hotel asks you and your dog to leave!

Small dog in sunglasses with his head sticking out of a black pet carrier

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Barking Might Lead to Higher Pet Fees

The real cost, though, could affect the entire pet travel community. Some accommodations have chosen to stop welcoming canine guests due to problems with dogs barking in the hotel. Recently a hotel manager contacted me to remove his hotel listing from When I asked why they decided to stop being 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.  

I’ve railed against unreasonable pet fees, but I didn’t considered the expense of dogs barking in hotels. The reimbursements required to satisfy disgruntled guests are undoubtedly being spread across all pet travelers in the form of higher pet fees. Or the hotel may 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.

Topnotch Resort and Spa - Stowe, VT

Consider Whether a Hotel 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.

Dogs that bark a lot may be more comfortable staying in a pet-friendly rental property, 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 around to keep him company.

Seniors with Dog in Park


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

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:

  1. Be sure the hotel’s pet policy allows you to leave pets unattended. Note any limitations on the length of time pets may be alone.
  2. 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.
  3. If available, upgrade to a suite. Having a living and bedroom, for example, allows you to settle your dog in the one furthest from the hallway. The room in between becomes a buffer, giving your dog space from activity outside your door.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Tired dogs create less ruckus. Be sure your dog has a long walk with plenty of opportunities to relieve himself before you go out.
  7. 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, your dog will be less likely to bark!
  8. Help your dog relax by tuning in a classical music station on the radio or television. Or get music specifically composed to reduce anxiety in pets from Through A Dog’s Ear, and leave it playing quietly to cover any noises that might trigger barking.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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  • How about a slightly different situation? We took our dog to a hotel the first time. She never barks in public places but in the hotel room she acts like she guards her room and us in it and barks at any noise people above our room make or people she sees outside our window. She acts like that in our house – guard/protection mode. How do you minimize this guard mode in hotels?

    • Hi Barb! That’s a tricky situation, and it would probably be best to start her training at home. I’ve used Dr. Dunbar’s videos (which I highly recommend) to help with training Myles and gotten some very good tips. One of our biggest challenges was to teach Myles not to bark at people or dogs walking by our motorhome when we stay in RV parks – which is a situation similar to yours.

      We started by teaching him a command that meant he should bark. We use, “tell me,” and when he’d bark I’d give him the command and tell him what a good boy he was when he barked. 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, and 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 their job to warn us, after all. But, if he barks a second time, I tell him to hush.

      It takes some time, and you have to be consistent, which is why I think it’s better to start this training at home. Once your girl understands the commands, you’ll have a much easier time staying in a hotel and getting her to relax when she hears unusual noises. In the meantime, it might be better to plan stays at vacation rentals where you have the space to yourselves. I hope that helps. Waggin’ trails to you all!

      • Thank you so much for your response!! From what I understand, it is not about teaching them not to bark at all but to only make a little growl or bark that alerts us and stop each time such an alert situation occurs, correct?

  • Category: Travel Tips / Tagged with: Pet Friendly Lodging