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Hi Everyone!

I haven't been on DF in a long time because for the past year, Theo has really been great. Training is pretty much solid...drop it has dramatically improved, leave it is great, AND he's even getting a little better on the leash/I'm training him more on the leash. He is about to turn 3 and it brings a tear to my eye...he is truly not a baby anymore. Wah!

However, my husband and I noticed that when we take Theo on vacation with us, he seems really distressed. We went up north (that's Michigan speak for the northern part of the mitten) this past weekend and brought him with us, just like we do every time we go. It's about a 3 hour car ride. The more and more we go, the more and more distressed he seems. Theo presents with mixed feelings about car rides...he seems excited to get in the car, but pants the entire time he's riding. We try to give him calming treats/rescue remedy about 40 minutes before a car ride, and I take him for a 25 minute walk before we get in the car so he doesn't see my husband packing the car, which really freaks him out. Never the less...he never calms down. He mostly pants, has a hard time settling down or staying settled. We stop about every 90 minutes to let him out to walk, pee, and drink some water (he won't drink water in a moving car).

When we finally get to our destination (my MIL's condo that we always go to), again, he will not settle down unless it's bedtime. No matter how many walks we take him on, he's pacing, he's going to the door, he's going to his water dish, he's whining. When he goes to the door, we take him out, when he needs water, we provide it. He only calms down when it's bedtime.

Finally, if we have to go somewhere without him, we put him in the bigger bathroom which has more than enough room for him to walk around, sleep, sit, etc. It has a skylight so lots of natural light. We play classical music (just like we do at home) in the bathroom. We put his blanket in there, a treat, and a chew toy. But he cries and barks. I'm sure it stops after a while, but we can hear him when we're leaving.

How can we train him or help him feel more comfortable? I really want to train Theo well on the leash so when we go back up north in August for a week, I can take him on more walks and on trails...where we go is really beautiful and definitely dog friendly, but our leash walking is a work in progress and he still barks and pulls towards people when we're walking. But ideally, we want him to be a bigger part of our vacation activities so we don't leave him alone as much. Since he stays in a crate at home, maybe he'd feel more comfortable in a crate up north, instead of the bathroom...maybe it's a door being shut on him that he really doesn't like.

We bring: rescue remedy calming drops, several of his favorite toys, chew toys, his blanket, his favorite treats. We play music for him just like we do at home. We try to make it as familiar as possible. Any other suggestions on what we can do for him, both in the car and at the vacation home, would be really helpful!!

Also, enjoy this picture of now 3-year-old Theo!
 

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