Hello everyone, we picked up our trailer in Sumas, WA on the 13th of October. I was a little nervous about the ride home to the Seattle area. I had pulled uhauls but never a camper and the weather forecast was for gusty high winds. We did opt for the FastWay E2 hitch. I don't know what it would have been like without it, but with it the trailer tracked beautifully. It was windy enough that a large tree blew over and covered the south bound lanes of I5 which we eventually got by in the breakdown lane. When we boarded the ferry at Edmonds the ferry workers were very helpful in getting the trailer situated correctly. Once at home on Bainbridge Island after a few tries I was able to park it in corner of our driveway. Since then I've been trying to get up to speed on everything.
My one issue that I hope someone out there has had and has overcome is that my dog, Romeo will not go into the trailer. He is so scared that when he sees me go near it he hides in the garage. He loves cars, so this was a surprise. He was in the truck on the ride home showing no concern for the trailer being towed behind. We never tried to force him into either.
Congratulations on your new 19! It's so dicey towing these things for the first time. Your first time conditions made it even more challenging. Nice decision on the Fastway E2 hitch. I towed my 17 B once without weight distribution and sway control and notice the improvement with the hitch.
Poor Romeo, that's the worst!
It's my understanding it's all about slow and consistent positive exposure and reinforcement for pups with new things they're scared of.
Hopefully Romeo is driven by food. If so, it should be easier to get him to like the trailer. Idea, every meal feed him as close to the trailer as possible that's he's comfortable with. Each day move his food bowl just a little closer until he becomes accustomed to the big white thing in your yard. Eventually, you may get the food bowl onto the step, then into the entrance of the trailer and then into the trailer. May take days or weeks.
Agree with Alan, If your pup has dog friends that aren't scared of the trailer your pup may follow the friend in and around the trailer. Or at least, lead to positive exposure around the trailer.
Our pup developed a fear of fireworks this past May. Fireworks were extreme this year leading up to July 4th. Chloe wouldn't go outside beginning at 6:00pm. Same time every day. This was an issue for the late evening outside bathroom trip, which meant 5:00am trips the next day. So, every time we heard fireworks when we were inside the house we gave her high value treats. We began feeding her outside. Gave her treats outside if we heard fire works. We had dog friends come over to play and go for walks at 6:00. Eventually it got better. She's still gets skittish, but won't want to run into the house upon hearing fireworks. This was definitely some work and pretty cool we helped Chloe overcome this.
Also, a dog trainer practicing positive reinforcement may be the way to go. Trainers have been so helpful to us.
Trailer: 2013 Escape 21 Classic Number 6, pulled by 2018 Toyota Highlander
Just asking here, does your new trailer have any off gassing odors that your dog can smell. If not, good. Dogs are usually motivated by food, if he likes treats. maybe you can lure him into being comfortable inside. All of the windows need to have the shades open and the lights on so it Doesn’t look cavelike to the dog. (Scared of the dark). That’s all I got . Their scent and hearing are much stronger than their sight in my estimation.
Ain’t no trouble jacking a double Burma Shave
While the issue is likely just reluctance to go into an unfamiliar space, there may be odour which is causing concern - the trailer version of "new car smell", coming from materials used to construct both the shell and the interior. That goes away, and keeping the trailer ventilated will speed that up.
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B 2020 Toyota Highlander XLE
A sidebar, if you haven't already, you should cover the step with carpet. That prevents the dog from getting a nail caught in the holes in the step.
Ignore the tape measure. The carpet is commercially available and comes with hooks to keep it in place.
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
I'd try spending the day going in & out of the trailer, setting up stuff (which you'll do anyway), cooking a lunch inside, playing some music inside, or tv, or whatever you normally do in the house, and try to let him slowly get used to the idea/normalcy of you interacting with the trailer. Eventually he'll come around. Keep the door open all this time, including when he first goes inside.
He was acting normal in the tow vehicle because that's 'normal' for him. This big white marshmallow is NOT normal. Just takes time. My dog was living in our house for a good three months, watching us go up & downstairs, before she eventually got the courage to go upstairs, and then she accepted it as normal. Same thing.
Thanks for the replies. Yes, he is very food motivated. I will be trying that for sure.
There is definitely an out gas smell from the trailer. It seems a lot like glue or maybe from the fiberglass. I think I'll run the vents as much as possible.
I also agree that the marshmellow is not normal. Hopefully, if we don't make a big deal about it he will treat it as normal. Maybe sleeping in the truck while we sleep in the trailer will encourage him.
Have you slept in it yet? I wouldn't worry until you spend the night in it with the dog and then, if he is still afraid, it could be a problem. He probably does not know what it is and it's strange. Mine, on the other hand, loves the trailer and hates the car! Five years have not fixed that.
when we picked up our 21 the off gas smell was too much for my wife. we put all the cushions outside for several days before she deemed the smell acceptable. bearing on mind a dog's sense of smell I can understand the reluctance. once the air clears, literally, I think things will be straightforward, in the meantime don't push it, the dogs senses much more than we do.
placing the dog's bed or a rug he likes to relax on closer to the trailer and then maybe just inside the door. maybe even let it sit inside for awhile when he's not using it, to put his smell inside the trailer.
--Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced older woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force. --Dorothy Sayers