dogTraveling with your dog is a difficult undertaking but leaving her behind isn’t easy either. One of the 4 things frequent travelers have to consider before getting a dog is the added planning that goes into traveling with and without your pooch. It’s important to establish a strong base of pet sitters and make your dog a pleasure to watch.

Whether or not you’re planning on getting a dog or already have one, there are a few tricks to getting your dog’s arrangements taken care of well in advanced of your next trip.

  • Pet Sit For A Friend – You don’t need a dog to help out another friend who may need a dog sitter for the weekend. Offer your services to your buddies who have dogs and be ready to help out when you can. Not only can you ask them to return the favor later on, you’ll gain experience taking care of, walking, and disciplining a dog before you have your own to handle.
  • Introduce Him To Your Family, Early – If you’ve got the luxury of family near by, bring your dog over right away to meet them. Introducing your pet to your family early on bonds them (and her) to each other, making it easier to ask them to pet sit for you. (It works even better if the dog is a puppy.)
  • Set A Routine – It doesn’t have to be down to the minute, but your dog needs a daily routine of walking, eating, etc. Not doing so makes it difficult to leave him anywhere – and you don’t want your friends and family rejecting you after their first pet sitting experience.
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  • Volunteer – Sure there are dog hotels and resorts, and if you have to use them (often) you’ll be able to save a bundle by getting a part-time job there. Working one day a week will generally get you a largely reduced (or over time, free) privilege of their services. You can put forward the money you earn there towards your travel budget and bring your dog to work with you.
    • Even better, there are lots of good animal shelters in your area (and all over the world) desperate for help to take care of neglected dogs. Volunteering there is not only an excellent way to give back to your community and support a great cause, but you’ll meet plenty of animal-friendly people who are probably willing to pet sit from time to time.
  • Use A Doggy Bed Or Crate – Making your dog mobile from the first day on is important. Begin associating your dog with something when it sleeps, other than you or your bed. A pillow, toy, or crate will all work, just pick something and stick with it. Even if you take your dog with you when you travel many places will throw you out if she barks all night.
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I’m not advocating getting a dog only to leave it behind while you travel all over the place, but the fact remains that all travelers underestimate the amount of time they spend traveling. Dogs are flexible and quickly adapt to new surroundings if you prepare them. More importantly you need to prepare the people who will be watching your dog while you’re away so the experience is enjoyable for both parties.

You will of course be asking my your sister, best friend, or coworker to watch your pet more times than you realize – and with an eager and behaved dog they’ll hopefully continue to say yes.

[photo by: grazie, davvero]