December Dog Tale of the Month
Ruff Wear Ambassador Ali and Jane
Jane (my 5 year old black lab), my boyfriend, and I recently took a 3,000 mile road trip to Northern California for some adventure. Throughout the trip we encountered a couple of issues that needed resolution relating to Jane.
First was the dilemma of where Jane would ride in the truck that was loaded to maximum capacity with human toys, gear and food. She has been kennel trained since she was a puppy, so that seemed to make the most sense. Just after we had secured her kennel in the back of the truck we realized that the California coast was known for its foggy, wet, cold and rainy conditions. How could we keep Jane warm, dry, and comfortable in her kennel?
A fleece slip cover was our best idea… providing warmth and mild protection from moisture. Since I have returned from the trip I found “kennel covers” in magazines like Cabela’s. The kennel was working magic for Jane doubling as a safe spot for her once we had gotten to our destination. However, the kennel did present a rather large dilemma for Jane as she is a VERY active dog accustomed to being in a large yard or at work on Aspen Mountain during the day. How could she get the necessary exercise and stimulation to keep her happy throughout the road trip?!
Finding places along our drive that would be suitable, safe and fun for Jane became a bit of a mission. When we would see a big beach, a body of water, a patch of grass, a park, a mountain, or a trail, we would pull over and give Jane a break from her kennel. As you can imagine there were times when none of the above mentioned places were available, so a long, high-speed walk on a sidewalk or through a parking lot had to make do.
It became evident that creativity would play a big role in keeping Jane happy and exercised. Some activities we found to really work were: running in the sand on the beach, playing with the waves, sprinting towards the giant flocks of seagulls, and finding the perfect stick to chew on, roll on, chase after. If there was a body of water available we would throw the stick for her, as swimming can be a great way to tire out your dog (low impact too!!).
Also, when it was available, we would have our meals in an area where Jane could also get out of her kennel to stretch, drink water and see the sights. I think that external and environmental stimulation can also help to tire out your dog. A walk through a busy street, or something as simple as a brand new place with new a different smells works wonders (especially if you have a smaller dog that requires less physical activity)!
Keeping Jane warm, dry and comfortable was the last issue that we had. We had to be mindful of this because Jane slept in the tent with us and nights did get quite cold and very wet. Jane slept at our feet on her Ruff Wear Highlands Bed and wore her Ruff Wear K-9 Overcoat if the temperatures required. We also had an extra sleeping bag between us two humans (as I am known to get very cold), so Jane and I shared this bag as well on the coldest, wettest nights. Jane would wear her Ruff Wear K-9 Overcoat in her kennel on cold travel days as well, which in turn gave me peace of mind knowing that she was comfortable. Having Jane with us on this trip definitely changed the itinerary and the overall mission of the vacation, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I can honestly say that she also had a blast exploring Northern California with us.
There were a couple of ingredients that MADE this trip….
First, all of the Ruff Wear gear that we had was a major blessing and made everything from eating to playing to traveling to sleeping 100% easier. The key pieces were, as mentioned before:
the Highlands Bed
the K-9 Overcoat
the Beacon (a safety light for night time adventure… a way to keep an eye on your dog in the dark… especially if she is jet black like Jane is)
the Quencher Cinch Top and the Quencher collapsible food and water bowls
the Quick-Draw leash (so Jane always had a leash with her for fast and easy access)
This was the first, but will definitely NOT be the last road trip for Jane and me, so I am certain we will find easier and better methods of play and travel as we get more trips under our belt/collar.