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Traveling with your dog.

POINTING BREEDS "We spend about seven months every year traveling," Keith said, "with 25 to 30 short-hairs. We keep each one in his own crate, one that is well-ventilated and large enough for the dog's comfort. Individual crating keeps them from fighting and causing problems for the driver."

Keith said he might crate puppies in pairs, especially if they might otherwise suffer from separation anxiety. In a pinch he would crate a grown male and a grown female together, but he prefers to crate each dog individually.

He said that while on the road, he stops to exercise and "air" his dogs about every six hours.

"If your dog is crated inside your vehicle," he added, "he'll let you know if he needs to get out more often."

Keith recommends taking along enough food from home for the entire trip, plus a little extra for unexpected delays on the road. He said that you should take some water along, too, but if you mix it with the available water wherever you are, your dog will stay healthy, although his stool might be a little soft sometimes.

"Don't forget to take whatever equipment you'll need," he said, "like your leash, whistle, blank pistol and shells, flash collar, tracking collar, bark collar, water jug, roading harness, check cord and whatever else you normally use for training and handling. In your rush to get started, it's so easy to forget to pack some of these things."

Keith takes along some pretty advanced first aid equipment, like syringes, needles, various medications, bandages, staple gun and remover, peroxide, alcohol, betadine scrub and a thermometer. However, most dog owners lack the knowledge to use many of these items effectively, so rely on a veterinarian's recommendations for first aid equipment.

"It's wise to know where you can get emergency veterinary care near your destination," he added. "Along the way, every town will have a veterinarian you can easily locate."

Keith recommends that when you stop at a restaurant, make sure your dogs are properly ventilated. Then you should park your vehicle where you can watch it while you are eating.

When staying in a motel that allows pets in the room, Keith recommends that you crate your dog in your room rather than let him run loose. To keep him quiet when you are out of the room, use a bark collar. When staying in a motel that doesn't allow pets in the rooms, he said you should lock your dog in your vehicle and make sure he has plenty of ventilation. In cold weather, he also needs good bedding.

"In warm weather," he said, "make sure your dog doesn't overheat, both while traveling and while hunting or trialing. Overheating is a serious problem in that an overheated dog can die very quickly."

He said the early signs of overheating are slowing down, getting wobbly and panting severely. You can prevent overheating by keeping your dog well-ventilated with plenty of drinking water. If your dog does overheat, you should pour a small amount of alcohol on the inside of his upper thighs to cool him down.

"But," Keith added, "don't overdo this, because too much alcohol can send him into hypothermia."

Keith added this as a closing thought: "Be attentive to your dog, to the temperature outside, and to conditions wherever you let him out. In short, treat him as well as you treat yourself."

* RETRIEVERS "I'm horrified," Mike said, "when I see a dog loose in the back of a pickup. This is a disaster looking for a place to happen. Ditto for a dog loose inside a vehicle, where he can interfere with the driver and cause an accident, or become a flying object in case of an accident--or even dive out of an open window. No, when traveling, dogs should be crated, period."

For dogs traveling within the vehicle, Mike prefers plastic or wire crates. For the back of a pickup, he prefers metal crates. In either situation, the crate should be well-ventilated and large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around comfortably. However, if the crate is too large, the dog can be slammed around in it if you stop suddenly. Whether inside the vehicle or in the back of a pickup, the crate should be secured to the vehicle so it stays in place.

"Each dog should be individually crated," Mike said. "Crating them in pairs encourages sniffing, chewing, playing and occasional disagreements. When unavoidable or in extremely cold weather, I may crate dogs in pairs for brief periods, but that is not my general practice. To do so regularly would encourage undesirable behavior both in the field and at home."

While on the road, Mike airs adult dogs only when he or his hunting" buddies feel the need. He feeds them at night and gives them plenty of time to relieve themselves then and again before starting out in the morning. He also stakes them out during his brown-bag lunch breaks.

He recommends taking enough food and water along for the entire trip. He prefers using waterproof food storage bags and no-spill water bowls.

"Don't switch food or water on the trip," he said. "Upset stomachs and vehicle motion are not good bedfellows."

Mike recommends that you take the following equipment items along: a bright collar with your phone number on it, a lead and a few dummies.

"If you microchip your dog," he said, "you will have a much better chance of recovering him should he get lost."

He recommends the following first aid items: hemostats for removing imbedded objects, scissors for trimming hair if burrs are a problem, stomach-settling medication, hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds, antiseptic ointment, buffered aspirin for aches and pains, and whatever else your veterinarian recommends.

When stopping at a restaurant, you should protect your dog from the weather. If it's hot, make sure he has adequate ventilation. If it's cold, park where he's out of the wind (and falling moisture). Keep him securely locked in his crate. If he's crated in your pickup bed, his crate should be chained and locked to the vehicle.

"Then, too," Mike added, "don't leave your truck unlocked with the keys in it, even if you're just stopping for gas."

When staying in a pet-friendly motel room, Mike crates his dog in his room while he's out and overnight. When he's there, he lets him relax on a portable dog bed, using the "place" command. He doesn't feed his dog in his room.

"Noise?" he asked. "I won't keep a noisy dog in a motel room. Such a dog stays outside in my truck."

When staying in a motel that doesn't allow pets in the rooms, Mike parks his truck in a high-traffic area and locks his dogs securely in their crates. He feeds early in the evening and airs them a couple of times before bedtime. He airs them again early in the morning.

"Heat is much more dangerous for dogs than cold," Mike said. "They're fairly safe inside an air-conditioned vehicle. Not so in a pickup bed or dog trailer, where the sun really shines. Fans help. I sometimes douse them with water, or even toss a bag of ice in their crates. I never crate dogs together in warm weather because of their body heat."

Mike listed the signs of overheating as a glazed look in the eyes, rapid panting, tongue heavily cupped and turned up, staggering, unresponsiveness to commands and falling down.

"Many hunters are traveling by air these days," Mike added. "If you do this, check well ahead of time for all the specific airline's rules for taking a dog along. Don't allow yourself to suffer any unpleasant surprises when you arrive at the airport."

* SPANIELS "Keeping your dog crated while traveling," Bob said, "is a safety measure as important as wearing your seatbelt. The crate should be large enough to be comfortable, but not so large that your dog can get thrown around in it on rough roads. It should have dry bedding, but not a rug with monofilament backing. Dogs that chew such rugs get very sick."

If you have more than one dog, Bob strongly recommends crating each one separately. If your crate is in the bed of your pickup, he said it should be well secured to the pickup bed, not loose to slide around on rough roads and in sudden stops. Also, your pickup bed and tailgate should have a non-slip matting to give your dog secure footing.

Bob recommends stopping every couple of hours to air your dog and give him a drink. He also recommends taking plenty of food from home so you don't have to give him something he's not used to while traveling.

"Carry fresh water afield," he said, "so you can stop and give him a drink now and then. Also, an occasional moist meat pack will give him extra energy."

Bob said you should take all your regular training and handling equipment along. You should also consult a veterinarian, one who hunts, about a proper first aid kit.

"If burrs will be a problem," he said, "have a groomer trim your spaniel before you leave home."

He said that before leaving home, you should make sure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date, and you should carry his vaccination records with you. You should also know where emergency veterinarian care will be available at your destination.

When stopping at a restaurant, Bob said you should park in a safe place and lock your dog in his crate with ample ventilation. When staying overnight in a motel that accepts pets, keep your in-room dog crated, at least whenever you are out of the room. If he's noisy, put a bark collar on him. (As another option, Bob suggested having your noisy dog read one of my Gun Dog pieces. He didn't indicate whether that would enrapture him into ecstasy or bore him into unconsciousness.)

If the motel doesn't accept pets, you have to keep your dog in your vehicle. Bob stressed making sure he has adequate ventilation and is safely locked in.

"On the opening day of pheasant season in South Dakota a few years ago, the weather was unusually warm," he said. "In fact, it was hot. Several dogs died that day from overheating.

"If you're going to hunt in such conditions, you should first make sure your dog is in excellent physical condition. Then you should carry fresh water, both for giving him a drink and for wetting him down. And you should hunt him only for very short periods.

"Better yet, don't hunt on days like that. A dog can drop dead before the average owner even knows there is a problem."

Pointing Breeds

This tip is from Keith Gulledge of Blue Dawn Kennels, 3179 CC 50 Road, Madison, KS 66860; (620) 437-2929; Web site; e-mail Keith has been training professionally for more than 25 years. He trains all pointing breeds but specializes in training shorthairs for hunting and field trials. He participates in horseback field trials and judges occasionally, having earned 51 national championships and many AKC field trial championships. He breeds German shorthaired pointers.



This tip is from Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels, 260 CR 425, Oxford, MS 38655; (662) 234-5788; Web site; e-mail Mike has been training professionally for 11 years, specializing in training British Labradors for waterfowl and upland gamebird hunting. He also breeds British Labradors.



This tip is from Bob Olson of River Road Kennels, 7451 South Porcupine Lake RD, Lena, WI 54139; (920) 848-3939; e-mail Bob has been training professionally for more than 25 years. He trains all sporting breeds for hunting. He does not breed dogs.


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Title Annotation:Pro Tips
Author:Spencer, James B.
Publication:Gun Dog
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 31, 2010
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