Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 158: It Just Ate My Like Welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast where Lisa Salinger joins Jamie Pauls and Ricky Enger to discuss the top news stories of the week.
Thanks guys for the shout out. Here’s some info from the guide dog training perspective on taking your dog to an amusement park.
First off, the parks aren’t obligated to watch your dog while you go on the rougher rides so if you want to ride things like roller coasters, you may want to take along a person to serve as the dog holder while you ride. Know your dog before you go is really the key to going to any type of tourist attraction. If you’re going with people who can do sighted guide or if you want to ride a lot of rides and so do the rest of your party, making use of the amusement park kennels is a really sound alternative. Most kennels will require a health certificate which you can get from your vet at home prior to your trip.
So, what rides are safe for dogs? This really depends on your dog and if there’s anything that bothers him or her. Simple rides that just involve a sort of train car moving through things may be fine but there may be loud noises, deep booms, things flying around over your head, virtually or in reality, that can set some dogs off.
As dogs get older they tend to get more sensitized to loud noises and may shake, pant or even try to escape.
Of course any ride you need to wear a restraint on isn’t one that’s safe for your dog. Most general amusement park rides like trains, monorails, trams and such are fine and don’t require seatbelts. They have enough floor space for the dogs to lie down comfortably. This was certainly the case with the Disney World Frontier Land train, the Monorail, the boats on It’s A Small World and the tram on the energy Ride.
Some of the other rides like the dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom might be a little rough for some dogs as the car simulates movement but again, that’s an individual dog decision.
I was told that if we did visit Animal Kingdom and did the Safari train, the dogs must be lying down and could not sit up and watch the animals. That’s fair as these animals might be distracted by the dogs.
One of my dogs hated anything that looked or smelled like a horse and would go into a barking, growling jag upon seeing one. I didn’t test it but suspected that it went for things like elephants and hippos too.
Back to the park trip, you want to make sure your dog is well hydrated. We found many water stations for people and dogs in Disney.
Then there’s the relief issue. Disney has set places for service animals to relieve. They are scattered throughout the parks and any cast member can tell you where the nearest one is. We found several with no problems at all. We also found misting stations for people that sprayed a fine mist of water. We let the dogs walk under these as well and it helped to keep them both cool.
Finally, remember that your dog is going to be working very hard if guiding you through an amusement park. There are people going every direction, most of whom are oblivious to your presence. The dog will be doing a lot of weaving, dodging and stopping. Be sure to praise a lot during the day.
If you’re at a park for multiple days, give your dog a break in the kennels for a half day or so to keep from exhausting him or her.
We were worried about burnt paws too but whatever they pave the Disney grounds with stayed fairly cool. Then of course it rained and that was a moot point. Check your dog’s feet throughout the day to make sure they haven’t gotten burned while standing in line. Now there’s a good excuse to take the short line route.
If you don’t know about the accommodations for a particular park, ask. Most major parks and park chains do have information about service animals and kenneling. Your guide dog school will also most likely have some information or know who to call to get it. If you have questions about your particular dog’s abilities to handle things in an amusement park environment, by all means call your school and talk with the training staff.
I’ve had my dogs in a number of parks and other tourist venues over the years, including a jeep ride in sedona, Arizona that rivaled some roller coasters. Looking back, I might not have taken my then older dog on that one but he faired well, better then me actually.
Just use common sense, don’t get so caught up in the experience that you forget the other living being with you, your dog, and have fun!
Do you enjoy our SPN Podcasts? You can help us out a whole lot by taking this very short survey.