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Friday, July 20, 2012

Treasure's Travels


Treasure has already been so busy this month!  We just returned from a road trip to VA to attend a Suzanne Clothier seminar.  This post is about traveling with a blind-deaf dog. 

When you travel with any dog, there are usually more things to pack for the dog's comfort than for your own!  Crates, blankets and beds, toys, bones, treats, bowls, food, leashes, etc.  And traveling with Treasure was no different.  I packed her ex pen in case we needed it and her crate.  We didn't really use either one, except that she rode to and from in her crate.  But it was important to have them with me in case she needed a sense of home. 

I took her stroller, because I knew we'd be in the seminar setting for most of each day.  She is comfortable hanging out in the stroller in new places and relaxing in it.  It gave her a familiar and safe place to hang out when we weren't doing other things. 

On the breaks, I let her wander on her leash to get some exercise, and we did some training exercises.  I took her food ball and kong wobbler to give her activities to do at mealtimes.  And she had some special chew bones to keep her busy during the down times of the day.  She got lots of petting from the other seminar attendees, which is always the highlight of her outings! 

It's important with any dog to secure them in the vehicle while traveling.  I think it's especially important for a blind-deaf dog.  A dog like Treasure won't be able to see obstacles in the car if I have to stop short and she may be thrown into objects that she didn't know were there, or thrown off a seat that she can't see the edge of.  Or, even if there are other objects that move around the car when I stop, those could hit her as well.  Treasure travels in a crate for my peace of mind and for her safety.

Once at the hotel, I took in our bags first and checked out the room.  It's important to check for anything left on the floor that your dog might get into, but when traveling with a blind-deaf dog, also do a check for any furniture or other items that could be dangerous for your dog.  I also pick up the trash cans.  Although they are empty now, as I start to fill them, if they are already up off the floor, I know Treasure won't be able to reach them. 

After Treasure did her business, I brought her into the hotel and followed her around on the leash while she checked things out.  Keeping her on a leash at first allowed me to prevent her from banging into furniture and walls while she explored.  She loves exploring, so she takes off at a good pace sniffing away.  Once she'd been through the room a couple times on leash, I then removed the leash and allowed her to continue exploring. 

I took a video of her exploring and of her finding me in the hotel room.  I thought it would be helpful to see that a blind-deaf dog will do some bumping into things, but it rarely slows them down on their quest to explore new places.  You can also see in the video that Treasure does not bump into the majority of things in the room.  She bumps into things the most in the corner of the room where the air conditioner was blowing.  I think the moving air currents were a little confusing to her. 

The video was taken that first night in the hotel room, so you can see her actually mapping out a new environment.  She will walk the same area several times to get a good map of it in her head.  The second night returning to the same hotel room, she did a brief walk through to make sure it was the same place, but didn't see the need to map it out or explore too much. 

You can also see her exploring on the bed to find the edges.  When she's satisfied, she then settles down for a snooze.  Treasure really enjoyed not having to share the bed with the other dogs!  She likes to sleep in the middle and stretch out, although she also will sleep with her toes hanging over the edge of the bed ... I think to keep track of where the edge is so she feels safer.  It was interesting to me that Treasure realized her steps to the bed were not there.  She didn't try to get down at all.  

I hope you enjoy the video and that it can be helpful in knowing what to expect while your blind-deaf dog is exploring and mapping out a new area. Watch the video here ...


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