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Old 08-14-2012, 02:13 PM   #8
Dachary OP
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Originally Posted by Prmurat View Post
I was reading with interest parts about your dogs...I have two Beagles and take them in the sidecar, with my wife and apart of the "cool" factor (as you pointed when no one showed interest...) I do not think it is a good idea! Even if my dogs, as any dog, love to sleep (and do it in the nose of the tub on their cushion), this is not the most comfy place for them! Adding that dogs are "routine" animals I am not sure that the extra stress of new smells, places, foods and continual movement is right for them!
I agree - to a degree. Dogs in general are creatures that thrive on routine, and my BC mix specifically - he gets really nervous when his routine is disturbed. The other day, I was chatting with a dog owner in my local park and my dog went ahead and walked himself around the entire loop we normally walk while I was chatting - without me! - because he *is* a creature of routine.

But what is routine if not an established set of actions we perform every day?

This test trip was, in part, an effort to see if the dogs would take to a "routine" of being on the road every day. And I'm happy to report that they loved it! They know that the tent is "home" and the sidecar is "home" when we're moving... when we were packing up every morning, they hopped inside the sidecar before we were even ready for them. They were eager and raring to get going! (They also did a lot of jumping around and excited barking when we put their harnesses on every morning - they knew it meant we were going for another ride!)

Kay's dog, in particular, LOVES the "new smells, places, foods and continual movement." He's a former street dog, and every single day he was sticking his head out, looking around, sniffing things and utterly thriving on the trip. His intestines were happier than they have been for at least 6 months at home (as a street dog, he does better on scraps of food and a little bit of kibble than on a diet of straight kibble - especially when it's the high-quality kibble that my dog does well on. I think there's too much protein in the good kibble for the street mutt, who spent the early part of his life literally eating trash on the streets of Puerto Rico.) Every evening, he'd pass out because he was so busy being alert and looking around during the day. One of the nights when we camped, we tried to get the dogs out for their "night walk" before bed and he didn't even want to get up. We had to coax him because he was just too tuckered out since he'd been active and looking around too much during the day.

But if you really get to know a dog, you can tell when they're happy and when they're stressed. My dog gets stressed in group camping situations, and when people want to come pet him, but he *loves* being with us, going for walks and frolics with us (he was SO HAPPY in Colorado and South Dakota when we camped on lakes and he could take a dip and frolic a bit) and grazing on grass across the U.S. He's a bit of a connoisseur. Kay's dog wasn't thrilled any time someone wanted to pet him (and he's so cute that people often wanted to pet him) but otherwise he was literally having the time of his life. He was happy all day, every day. He had a big old smile, there was a spring in his step that we haven't seen too often since we left him with the dog-sitters on the last trip, and he was utterly in paradise.

So yeah. I agree that not all dogs would do well traveling constantly. I'm sure there are dogs who never take to riding in a sidecar (some of the people on Soviet Steeds have mentioned it) or dogs that wouldn't do well being away from home, etc. But I'm very happy to discover that our dogs are good with the travel element. I'd like to work with a trainer to get them better at greeting strangers, because they both kinda suck at that, just for their own safety and comfort when we travel... but aside from that, I think the dogs utterly loved the experience and I have no worries on their count the next time we go traveling!
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