So I did something crazy... I know par for the course! I took Tansy, my 8 week old puppy, on a road trip. We traveled to Tupelo, Mississippi to meet the King, Elvis Presley. (Well, technically we met a lot of people dressed like him.) It was very entertaining!
Surprisingly, she was allowed in many places I didn't think she'd be able to go! The coolest was the Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum. I thought it was just a photo op, but no. It's a literal museum.
When my friend and I pulled up, I assumed we'd have to take Tansy back to her crate at our Airbnb. Even so, I figured I might as well check to see if I could carry her around. I mean, we were already there and all. The worst they could say was no. The lady at the ticket counter said it was fine...just so long as she could get a few puppy kisses! Tansy was happy to oblige, and possibly a little overzealous. She almost ate the woman's earring from excitement!
Here's what I learned during our little trip
Traveling with a puppy isn't that hard if you keep these things in mind.
Have a schedule and keep it. I was able to keep our normal schedule more or less in tact by planning the day around my puppy. I was traveling with a friend so she'd have some down time while I was on puppy duty. Eat, sleep, poop, play, play, play, repeat!
Crate training made the weekend possible. Puppies chew on everything: walls, shoes, people, etc... Tansy has a serious problem with nipping right now so having a safely contained place for her was key to harmonious living. It also came in handy when we were out and about town and couldn't take her with us. I knew she was safe and out of trouble, which meant I could enjoy a nice dinner out without her wild puppy self.
EXERCISE!!! Tansy is one high energy puppy. I had to take her on two adventures a day to keep her sweet and polite. You can't expect a puppy to be a little angel if you don't wear them out. It's basically their life calling to cause trouble.
There are two forms of exercise. 1. Physical 2. Mental. Make sure you're doing both and raising a puppy will be much less stressful. I killed two birds with one stone when I taught her how to slide on the little kid playground. (Not to mention watching her play and slide was freaking adorable!)
Plan for the worst. I went ahead and packed all the cleaning gear we could possibly need. Even though I didn't have to actually use it, I felt like a responsible guest at my Airbnb. On this trip, she was either in her crate or in my lap and we managed to avoid any messes, despite potty training being a work in progress.
Set yourself and your puppy up for success! BOTH OF YOU need plenty of sleep, healthy food, and fun in your lives. Owning a puppy should be a lot of fun (not always, but most of the time). Crying through the night because of crate training will end in a few days, nipping is a phase, and potty training is possible. It just takes time and patience, and maybe a little hard lemonade in my case... The whole crying all night long was hard on both of us! There is just no escaping puppy howling in my 600 square foot apartment.
Ask the locals about fun places to go as well as places to avoid. I had a few amazing hiking trails recommended to me that weren't highly trafficked, lots of delicious restaurants with great pet-friendly outdoor seating, and shops and areas she was welcome in.
Take lots and lots of pictures! The puppy breath won't last forever, but the pictures of your sleeping best friend will. Over the last ten years, I forgot exactly how hard (but rewarding) it is to raise, train, and care for a puppy. Especially by yourself! Serious props to all single parents out there, really all parents in general. My puppy will be "tame" in a year or so, you're stuck with your kids for decades! I'm not that brave yet...
What NOT to do When Traveling With Your Puppy
Don't be "that person" who ruins traveling with dogs for everyone else! Always clean up after your pet. Be mindful when your dog is barking and address the situation. We stayed in an Airbnb so that we wouldn't bother anyone if Tansy cried a little bit (annnnd it was cheaper than the hotel!) Be courteousus of "no dogs allowed" signs. Sometimes pooches aren't allowed for public health reasons or other people's allergies. Sometimes it's just a small business owner who doesn't want to chance a dog messing up their products. I get it and respect others opinions regardless of whether or not I completely agree.
Keep your puppy safe! Talk to your vet about situations to avoid. My puppy hasn't had all her shots yet so dog parks are not an option for a while. My vet even recommends being mindful of where you hike. Parvo is a common and devastating disease to young puppies that's very easily spread. It's best to be safe and avoid areas that are highly trafficked by other dogs until a puppy's first 3 rounds of shots.
Don't push your puppy too far past its comfort zone. Overwhelming a new puppy might cause them to be an ancshious and troublesome travel buddy in the moment and if severely scared permanently traumatized without additional training. You want to keep their safety and comfort in the forefront of your mind when planning activities
Last, (and I hope this is obvious) DO NOT LEAVE YOU PET IN A HOT CAR! And on a lesser known note, be careful your pup doesn't burn their feet on hot ground or get overheated when running all around and playing. A tip to help keep your pooch cool is to put a little room temperature water on their feet and ears. That is where heat leaves their body so this trick helps speed up the process while also keeping them cool a little longer.
I hope you and your puppy have as much fun as Tansy and I did on our weekend road trip. Check out Adventures with Dogs to get even more helpful tips and advice on traveling with your dog. And don't forget to comment below any dog-friendly places Reggie, Tansy, and I should visit in the future!