Preparing For a Dog Agility Road Trip
Many of us have the luxury of having plenty of local clubs that put on all kinds of fun matches for dog agility as well as plain ol’ socialization parties. For others of us we have to travel sometimes for a few hours to get to a match, making it a necessity to not only know what you need on hand for the competition but for the road as well.
Many medium to large breed owners this starts out with a vehicle that is large enough to accommodate crates to keep the dogs safe in case of an accident as well as confined to avoid them causing one. Smaller dogs can be secured with a harness and seat belt if there is room on the seats. Whatever you choose, don’t let anyone talk you into leaving your dog loose in the vehicle. If there is an accident your dog can quickly become a projectile and either be ejected from the car through a window to their death or into a passenger causing injury to both.
You will also need to know the weather conditions for travel. Despite the fact that most vehicles are pretty good as far as climate control, you need to plan for the unexpected. If it is going to be hot you will want to be sure you bring plenty of water in your vehicle for them as well as yourself. There are some really neat dishes out there now that are spill proof so you can leave it in the crate with your dog while you travel. If it is cold you will want to be sure you have bedding they can snuggle into to keep warm. If you are traveling far enough that you will need to take potty breaks know if you will need rain gear as well as if you are traveling to an area prone to showers.
When you get to your destination you may find a portable kennel helpful so you don’t have to unload your car completely. And if you know it will be a hike around the park your dog can help lighten the load with a backpack to carry some of his essentials in including his water dish, poop bags, treats, tugs and leashes. While you carry the practice jumps to be sure your dog is warmed up and ready to run.
It is better to be prepared for a long road trip then to wish you had something when an emergency strikes. Be sure to make a list and check it twice before you start the car and don’t forget to pack you sense of humor and patience. It will be plenty stressful without letting a bad road trip add to it.