Updated 12 hours ago
Whoâs a good boy?
When it comes to staying in a hotel, itâs the dog who doesnât bark, jump on the furniture or scare the housekeepers.
Traveling with pets is becoming more and more common, with a majority of those pets being dogs.
The number of hotels that welcome canine customers is increasing, both in the United States and abroad, Forbes says, and the increase is not limited to guests who are accompanied by service animals.
According to Travelers Today, taking Fido along on a trip was actually a 2017 travel trend. Many hotels also are upping the services and accommodations that they provide to dogs and their owners.
With more dogs going on the road, itâs important for owners to help their pets be good guests. So how can you prepare for a stress-free travel experience with your pooch?
The first step
The first step is something that should happen well before the road trip begins â actually, as soon as you get your pet.
A well-trained dog should heed its master wherever they go, says Rodney Little, owner of Youngwood Top Dog Services.
The company provides basic and advanced dog training, dog walking and sitting, and dog therapy and emotional support services.
âYour dog should know that you are in charge when youâre out in public,â Little says. âHe should focus on the owner and not react to other dogs. One of the worst things dogs do is jump on people, so he should sit when someone approaches.â
Barking could get you and your dog kicked out of a hotel, he says, so âcontrolling the dogâs voice is another big thing.â
âAlways have some treats with you,â Little advises. âPositive reinforcement goes a long way in helping a dog behave.â
Little also says that getting the dog accustomed to being in a confined space before getting to the hotel room is helpful, advice seconded by Dave Adams, general manager of the Ramada by Wyndham Greensburg Hotel and Conference Center.
âTrain them to be in your bedroom beforehand,â Adams says. âClose the door, walk away and see how they react. Get them used to it a little at a time.â
The Ramada does not forbid a guest from leaving a dog in a room unattended, Adams says, but the guest must provide a cell phone number so management can call if there is a disturbance.
If there are repeated complaints from other guests, he says, âweâll ask them to make other arrangements,â i.e. find a room elsewhere.
Follow the rules
The individual franchisees of many chain hotels, such as the Ramada Greensburg and the Quality Inn New Kensington, decide for themselves whether their locations will accept pets.
These two have similar guidelines for guests traveling with animals, including the signing of a pet responsibility form and having a credit card on file that will be charged in the event of damages. The Ramada adds a $15 pet fee to the room rate.
Both hotels also strive to keep pets in designated rooms when possible.
The Quality Inn asks that pets not be left alone in the room, says manager Jeff Stahl.
Stahl suggests that travelers contact any hotel in advance to make sure that dogs or other pets are welcome, and to determine if extra fees apply.
When itâs an extended stay, Adams says, âItâs good to get to know the housekeeper and when theyâll be coming in. Working out a schedule with them wouldnât be a horrible idea.â
Both hotels provide outdoor dog walking areas, and itâs up to the owner to clean up after the dog.
Not a problem
Adams and Stahl both say that pet-related problems are few and far between in their hotels.
âIâd say 99 percent of people with pets are great,â says Stahl. âThey take good care of their animals.â
âFor the most part, people wouldnât bring their dogs if they werenât well-behaved,â Adams says. âWe had a dog get loose in the hotel before, but he was just stretching his legs and not really causing a problem. A housekeeper was able to corral him in an empty room.
âHonestly, damage from pets is not as much of a concern as damage from rowdy human guests,â he says.
Ahead of the trend
The Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel in Pittsburgh was pet-friendly long before it was trendy, says Jonathan Plesset, president/CEO of the family-owned business.
âWe had the luxury as an independent hotel to do this,â he says. âWe say (other hotels) finally caught up with us.â
Theyâve seen iguanas, ferrets, some cats and other animals, but mostly they see dogs, and those dogs are usually model guests.
âWe have had in the past cats that maybe didnât like how the couches looked, so they tried their hand at redecorating,â Plesset says. âSharp claws and hotel rooms donât always mix.â
As a self-avowed animal lover, Plesset says he and his staff work hard to provide their pet-owner guests with a top-notch experience.
Pets are welcome in any suite but, for convenience, staff tries to keep them on lower floors. Upon check-in they are given a goodie bag with snacks, a leash and cleanup bags. Thereâs a dog park on site.
Plesset advises pet-owning hotel guests to âbring your A game and be the best pet owner you can be â be an ambassador for pet owners. Not everyone loves pets.â
Dogs should always be on a leash and the owner should stay between the dog and other guests when they meet, he says. And always, always, clean up after your pet.
Dog owners preferred
Instead of charging a pet fee, Erin Fiore is thinking of offering pet owners a small discount for staying at her Heart of Ohiopyle Vacation House that she rents through Airbnb.
It seems like a good idea in the Fayette County mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.
âI think people would appreciate it,â she says. âTheyâd see it and think, âYouâre cool. I like you. Iâll stay here.ââ
She says she âdoesnât make too big a dealâ about rules for guests who bring a dog along: just keep him off the furniture and put him in a crate if you leave the house without him.
âI want to make it easier for people to have their dogs with them,â she says. âAnimals being welcome here sets us apart from other places.â
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, email@example.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.