22 AUG 2018: It is hard to leave our best friend behind when the family takes a vacation and more and more of your clients want to take their fur baby along. The good news is that it is getting easier and easier to do just that. Type in ‘travelling with a dog’ on the internet and you'll see what I mean.

There are all kinds of web sites and more and more hotels and resorts that are eager to have Rover check in too.

McDuff our golden retriever was part of the family, so of course he travelled with us when we drove.

The Fairmount Royal York asked him to pose for their "Pets are celebrities too” program.

He was only 18 months old, so we were very nervous and practiced a lot before the big weekend. We started at a Motel 6, and went into the lobby a number of times to get him comfortable. We heeled in the lobby, rode the elevator, and walked down corridors so he could practice and become comfortable with these surroundings.

In fact, we had to practice a lot of things with McDuff, he had issues, one of which was the car. He had to be trained out of his fear. We went in the car for a short ride every single day, and always to places he loved: the leash free dog park, a walk on the golf course, a visit to somewhere they had treats. It didn't take long before he wagged when he saw he was going, and there was no more throwing up. Sadly, for the neighbours the entertainment was over.

He no longer had to be lifted in the back seat by the two of us.

He learned the art of being a good guest in a hotel, and in fact everywhere else with a lot of help mastering the drill of being a good guest from Tony Harper Dog Obedience (www.harperdogobedience.com).

Tony says most of us need as much training as our pets.

Rover will be a more welcome visitor if he doesn't bark and disturb other guests or tear up the room, so when your client leaves the hotel room they should either take Rover with them or put him in his crate with the "do not disturb" sign on the door.

The same rules apply when your client moves about the hotel. He should be leashed and not bothering other guests. Those who like dogs can come over to say "howdy." Those who don't won't have Rover running over to get acquainted.

I didn't spend enough time getting McDuff used to the escalator at the Royal York, and that spooked him. Elevators were fine, because he was used to visiting Sutton Place, and he knew there were dog treats on the 22nd floor.

The Royal York doesn't put a size and weight limit on dogs, as some hotels do.

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We welcome pets... that is well behaved pets in our Airbnb. And our guests are very thoughtful and appreciative that they can bring their pet.

McDuff never flew, there was never a need to, but Tom and I did bring three rescue dogs to Toronto from Punta Cana, and they managed just fine. Air Transat does a wonderful job helping volunteers rescue dogs who need homes. We couldn't get over how kind the ground handlers were to the dogs.

Speaking of Air Transat, this winter they have enhanced their dog and cat flying program. They can fly in the economy cabin if they are 10kg (22pounds) or less (including the weight of their crate. They must be placed under the seat in front of the passenger. The number to call is through the information and seat selection Centre at 1-877-TRANSAT.

Cost is $50 for domestic, South and US flights and $90 for Europe flights. The airline limits the number of animals allowed to travel in the cabin so encourage your clients to book early.

Sadly, though some animals particularly senior animals don't travel well. If the stress of travel will outweigh any benefits they might gain, you might suggest your clients go to plan "B".

Their physical needs and medical conditions may also make the trip very uncomfortable.

You should have a pretty good idea of your dog's personality and needs, and you probably know what will make them uncomfortable. If the stress of travel will outweigh any benefits they might get from a vacation, you may want to consider staying closer to home for a "stay-cation."

For these dogs, you can try going for a walk in a new part of town, visiting a park or attraction that you haven't been to before, or do something out of the ordinary that will give your dog enough of a challenge without causing undue stress. Vacations may be good for many dogs, but not all pups are the same, so keep that in mind before you plan a trip.

If your clients feel their pet would be better off at home suggest they join International Trusted Home Sitters. For the price of a yearly membership, ($130.) they can find the right person to come, take care of their pets and their home while they are away. We've done four sits for THS, and have found the animals settle down much better when they're in their own home.

If you're heading off to the US, be sure to know what is required to cross the border. He needs up-to-date shots and proof of them for the customs inspector.

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Make sure he is chipped but also wears a tag with his name and permanent address and the address of where he's staying while on the road.

Years ago, we had an extremely well- behaved Sheltie, he hated going to the cottage and he showed his displeasure by hopping out of the car, and then lifting his leg on Tom's leg.

Happy Trails.

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Sam Ion

The expert on All Inclusives, Sam delivers up-to-date info on alternate Wednesdays in her column Not Just All Inclusives.

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