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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dog Motel Etiquette

Last weekend I stayed at a  Motel 6 with Lizzie, my pit bull, while attending an agility trial in the same town.  It's not the Ritz, but it was affordable, clean and warm, and offered free wi-fi, so Lizzie and I were happier than campers.

The best thing about it, of course, was that they accepted dogs, and without even a damage deposit.  I used to stay at Super 8's a lot when traveling to obedience and agility trials with my Swissies years ago, and I was grateful they took dogs, even with a deposit.  A number of other chains are also good about this, but not every franchise of every chain plays by the same rules, so you must check first if you want reservations at a pet-friendly establishment.

Because I'm so appreciative of the motels that accept dogs, I try extra hard to be a good guest.  I know I'll be scrutinized more severely than non-pet-owning guests, so I'll put out extra effort to preserve the privilege to have Lizzie in the motel room with me.   After all, I want to be able to stay at the same place next year too.

Here's a list of "motel etiquette" appropriate for people traveling with dogs:

1.  Never make a scene or call attention to yourself and your dog.  Slip in and out quietly.  If you arrive late at night when other guests are already sleeping, remove your dog's jingly collar as you walk to your room.  Dog tags make a distinctive noise that says, "There's a dog out there!"  It may be disruptive to other guests, and is a sure way to get other dog-guests barking!

2.  Take a sheet from home to cover the bed if your dog sleeps there with you.  An old king-size fitted sheet works very well and will usually stay in place, right over the bedspread.  It will keep muddy paw prints and dog hair off the bedding.

3.  Bring a towel from home to wipe your dog's feet and body if he gets wet or muddy.  Do NOT use motel towels to wipe your dog.

4.  Feed and water your dog on the vinyl floor in the bathroom, not on the carpeted area.  If he spills or sloshes, mop up the affected area with your towel from home.

5.  Enforce a "No Barking" rule.  Don't allow or condone even a yip.  No rough-housing with dogs in the motel room.  Your goal should be to get them and keep them calm (and quiet) at all times.

6.  Do not groom your dogs inside, unless absolutely necessary.  If you do, use the bathroom to contain the mess, and clean up as well as you possibly can.  Your goal: to leave no trace that a dog was there.

7.  Bring a spray bottle of Nature's Miracle with you.  If your dog throws up, bleeds or otherwise messes on the floor, you can have a headstart over the maid.

8.  Use the designated "pet area" outside for pottying your dog.  If there is no designated area, go as far away from the building as you can in order to find grass or other suitable surface. Use a baggy to pick up your dog's feces, and dispose of it properly.  If you see other feces in the area, pick that up too, lest YOUR dog be blamed for it! 

9.  Leave your room as tidy and clean as possible, even if you're returning for another evening.  Dispose of all trash and eliminate clutter.  Make it look like an extreme neatnik  has occupied the room.

10.  Don't leave your dog unattended in your room....not even in a crate.  You may be accustomed to your dog's barking, but the people next door are not.

11.  Leave a tip for the maid, along with a note from you and your dog, thanking her for her hospitality. 

12.  When you return home, contact the motel and/or its corporate office and (assuming your stay was satisfactory) express your appreciation for allowing you and your dog to stay together as guests.

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