In this episode #358 of the RV Podcast we talk about RV Travel with a dog, offering up important tips on how to make your pet enjoy the RV Lifestyle as much as you do.
There's no doubt, a dog can bring a lot of joy to your RV travels. But they also present a lot of challenges.
But blame COVID for making those challenges worse.
After more than 18 months of COVID-related restrictions and working from home, dog trainers and boarding facilities are noticing a huge spike in separation anxiety issues experienced by pets being left alone or in the care of others.
For RVers, who are taking their pets to new locations, those behavioral issues can be even more severe.
In this episode, we introduce you to Soriya Koy, a Nashville dog trainer, and sitter with who we recently left Bo for a couple of nights.
She offers tips on how to choose a pet sitter and how to handle separation anxiety for your dog.
RV News, Q&A, Campground Tips and Travel Reports plus our Tips on RV Travel with a Dog
Here is the Video Version of the entre Podcast from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel:
Here is the Audio Version of the Podcast:
Below is a table of contents for each of the various topics we discuss in this episode of the Podcast. Just move the player slider to the corresponding time for the section you want to listen to, in either the video or audio versions.
- 1:30 Watching Tropical Storm Fred’s approaching landfall
- 4:00 Update on our Sweepstakes pet monitor giveaway prizes
- 6:19 “Chopper Toad” photo – RV towing helicopter
- 7:05 “Two Story Toad”- RV towing car and pontoon boat
- 8:10 Taylor Rae “Home on the Road” song
- 13:05 Airstream considers dropping Sprinter for Class B Interstate
- 16:40 Hikers and dog attacked by Grizzly in Montana
- 18:37 Three-year-old bitten by coyote on Cape Cod
- 20:16 Indiana Dunes National Park eyes a bunch of new fees
- 22:20 Three suffer electric shock in Maine campground pool
- 27:55 Question: Can you run your RV generator while driving down the road?
- 30:45 Question: What are the pros and cons for RVers traveling with dogs?
- 40:40 Soriya Koy of Rover.com shares tips about finding a pet sitter
- 54:00 Hidden Campground Gems https://campgroundviews.com/RVL7
- 57:49 Off The Beaten Path – Wood County, Ohio
RV Travel with a Dog Interview with Soriya Koy
Mike Wendland: So here we are picking up Bo and this is Soriya. We found Soriya through Rover.com which we use all of the time. And while we were in Nashville, Bo had a great time here.
Soriya Koy: Oh, you're so very welcome. I'm so glad he had a great time.
Jennifer Wendland: We felt very comfortable leaving him. And I can tell, I could tell from the pictures that he was having fun. We just came to him. And I'm not sure he wants to leave.
Soriya Koy: Know what, that's typically how it is when they're here. They just make so many new friends and I have so many positive interactions and all of a sudden when you come to pick up, it's they're leaving their best pals.
Mike Wendland: What we wanted to talk about was the whole changing dynamics that COVID meant for pet owners. And then separation anxiety. And as more and more RVers are going to be traveling now and they leave their pets with them. They're experiencing that with their pets. Are you seeing that? And what advice would you give folks about it?
Soriya Koy: Yes, absolutely. I'm seeing it. And I would say probably 80% of the dogs that I work with, which is a significant amount, considering I take care of hundreds of dogs a year, especially now. The pandemic being well, it's still going on, but now we're in 2021.
Most of my clients have been working from home for the last year. And so their dogs have become very accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Having their owners around 24/7, it's a very comfortable lifestyle. However, when their parents are going back to work and having to adjust their daily schedules, it's a lot harder for the dogs.
One thing that I would definitely recommend is establishing a routine, getting your dog used to having some separation from you, even if you are still working from home. And that way, when that transition does happen full time, it's a lot easier for you and for their dog.
Mike Wendland: RVers of course, are in a different place all the time. They're out traveling again with them. When they leave them with a Rover sitter or maybe even alone with the air conditioning on in the RV how do you recognize separation anxiety in your pet?
Soriya Koy: There are a lot of behavioral symptoms and signs that your dog will exhibit when they're nervous.
One of the symptoms is excessive panting. Even if they're not exerting themselves, excessively with physical activity, just standing there and panting, whining, looking to you constantly – basically any demands for attention or affection. Those are pretty big markers, worry, separation, anxiety barking any, as I said, anything that gets your attention, pawing at you.
So once you start to see those symptoms or those signs, the number one thing that you should be doing is to ignore your dog. When they're exhibiting those signs. Most parents they're very maternal and paternal and they just want to calm their dogs down when their dogs are uncomfortable and anxious, but all we do is validate that behavior.
So if we act neutral and ignore them, eventually they'll start to learn that. My anxiety is not being validated. Nothing, nothing is a big deal. So I'm not going to act like it's a big deal. Cause my parents are pretty neutral. And if obviously if they start to pick up some anxious energy from you, Because there is something going on, then it's hard to be neutral and to calm them down in those moments.
Jennifer Wendland: I think this is like even dropping your child off at school. And they sense that you're nervous, then they get apprehensive.
Soriya Koy: But if we act like it's such a devastating thing to leave them, they're going to feel like it's devastating every single time they anticipate you leaving, or you do actually leave it's the end of their world. Especially when we come home and we make it a parade and a huge celebration. Every single time we come home, they start to attribute that to when they come home. It's a big deal when they leave. If we're just neutral coming and going to them, it's just they'll be back when they'll be back, they always come back.
Mike Wendland: When we dropped off Bo we were saying maybe you should take him out back and we'll sneak out. And you said no. He has to see you leave. And maybe you could explain why.
Soriya Koy: It's important for me to have the dog see their parents physically leaving out the front door. If I were to just take him from you while you're still in the home, in his mind, he never saw you leave and he will continue to go look for you in the home.
And it takes a lot longer for them to get acclimated to the environment that they still believe you're still in the home. If they physically see you leave, get in the car and go, all of a sudden that's already removed from their mind while my parents have gone, I just have to move on with my day. And from there it's time to meet some new friends time to see what Soriya has in store for me today.
And that typically helps get them settled in a lot quicker.
Mike Wendland: I wanted to touch base with you before we end about choosing someone to watch your dog. And we had several conversations by email and text before, and then you basically interviewed us. Putting the shoe on the other end to RVers who are looking for a place to have their dog watch for a few days or even for a day.
What advice would you give them? What do they look for when they choose someone to take care of their pet?
Soriya Koy: I would definitely say, there are a few main questions you absolutely should be asking the person you're going to have care for your pet. One of the big questions is what's your experience looks like.
And how relevant is that experience to what we're asking of you to do for our pets?
Secondly, asking if this is a full-time job for you, or if this is a side gig or a hobby, which it is for a lot of people. A lot of people don't realize that when they're hiring people to take care of their pets, a lot of these people have full-time jobs.
So they will be leaving for eight to nine hours a day, even though you don't know that. And knowing that ahead of time you know that not only you up for success, but for example, Bo up for success. You don't want Bo sitting alone in a home for nine or 10 hours when we've agreed to have somebody care for him all day long.
And I would say the third question is asking the volume that these sitters are taking. I personally know several sitters here in Nashville that take between 20 and 40 dogs, regularly. That is absolutely not something that I do or ever do only because it's just not necessary. To have that many dogs in a single residential home. I do offer boarding and daycare privately.
However, when you have that many dogs and you are sharing the load with either just one person, which is typically a spouse, you can't give 20 to 40 dogs that much individual attention. And also it's just a little too much for him, in my opinion.
I've done this professionally for 10 years. And I only take a maximum of 10 dogs at a time. And even when I'm taking that many dogs, not all dogs are interacting at the same time at any point during their stay, just to keep things manageable. Obviously keeping your pet safe is a big one.
Jennifer Wendland: and even feeding them. Yeah. His food's gone in two seconds.
But if there were a whole bunch of dishes. And some dogs didn't finish their food. He would eat everything.
Soriya Koy: Absolutely. I separate all of the dogs for each mealtime at each snack time. The only time dogs are together for any sort of food interaction is if I'm doing group training and they're getting a small treat, but again, I have to make sure that the dogs can actually handle that.
And I don't have any dogs with me that are resource guarders. The last thing we want is an incident. So I try to interview at length before caring for a pet just to make sure again, we're setting everybody up for success and keeping everybody safe.
Jennifer Wendland: I had one question that I had your background and how you got started. Why you have such a love of dogs and your background.
Soriya Koy: I have a classic story that a lot of people in this industry have, I grew up always loving dogs.
We had a family German shepherd growing up. And I had grown up training him, making obstacle courses for him in our backyard, grooming him. And the few times he would go to the vet with an ear infection, or he broke his toe once. My parents would take care of him, but I would take the brunt of that responsibility of just nurturing him throughout his entire life.
And that passion really fueled me into wanting to enter a career working for animals. I got my bachelor of science in veterinary science, worked as a vet tech for five years. Worked as a groomer. Really just loved every part of this industry and I'm wanting to get into training. And then all of a sudden had 10 years later here I am.
I'm doing all right. I love it. And that's why I offer so many different services is because it's just hard for me to pick one. When I know I love doing so many different.
Jennifer Wendland: I feel I'm so grateful that you entered this field and that we found you. This is just so exciting. So if anybody's in the Nashville area look up Soriya Koy.
Thank you. I have to throw in, too – and this is just wonderful – You will pick up, drop off dogs. So people that are maybe KOA or whatever, camping, and they want to go to Opryland. You'll come pick up their pet.
Mike Wendland: We don't want to give too much of her time away because we want to make sure she has room for us.
Jennifer Wendland: Please squeeze Bo in, please.
Mike Wendland: Just a little plug for Rover.com. Really we've used it all over the country. But I have to say of all the ones we've used you are the best. Thank Rover for putting us in contact.
If you want to continue reading about traveling with pets – here's a good post to check out – Traveling With Pets: How to Find Pet-Friendly Places
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