10 Rules for Houseguests with Pets


Strategize Sleeping Arrangements

Make sure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep.
Make sure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep.

­Although there may be a number of things -- like staining the lawn and bringing pet dander into the home -- that make your pet a challenging guest, there are few problem areas that can cause frustration and short tempers more than your pet's nighttime whining and barking. If you think your pet may be noisy at night, be candid with your host before you travel. In preparation for your trip, you can also tr­y training your pet in gradual steps to spend the night away from you. If the behavior is a surprise to you, too, there are a couple of other things you can do to address the problem.

If your pet is accustomed to sleeping with or near you, it's a big adjustment for it to sleep alone, especially in a new place. If it's being kept in the garage, you may not want to sleep there with it, but you may be able to come up with a compromise with your hosts and bring your own sheets and blankets so your pet can stay in the guestroom with you. If this isn't possible, try making sure your pet gets lots of exercise and stimulation during the day and eats early in the evening. This strategy tires him out and gets it ready for sleep. Bring its blankets and toys on the trip with you, and include something that smells like you to place in its bedding. Don't punish your dog for whining or barking. This is the way it's communicating to you that it is lonely and possibly frightened.

If you respond immediately to the whining and crying, this will encourage your pet to keep it up. Place the pet in its sleeping area before everyone retires and see what happens. If it starts to whine, don't go to it immediately. Wait a few minutes, visit it briefly and then leave again. Increase the length of time between visits and see if this encourages the whining to stop.

In the next section, we'll talk about the habit that distinguishes an experienced on the road pet owner -- being prepared for the unexpected.