Tourism Goes to The Dogs

Dog-training expert, Tonya Wilhelm looks at 2019 travel trends and sees the benefits of dog-friendly tourism.

According to dog-behavior expert, Tonya Wilhelm, dog-friendly tourism is an untapped, lucrative market for travel destinations. With over 20 years in the field of pets, she knows a thing or two about the psyche of dog parents. Tonya says, “People no longer want to leave their four-legged companions at home; they want them to be part of their vacation.”

Pet ownership has been on a consistent rise for more than two decades. According to the 2017–2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households (85 million families) own a pet, 89 million of those pets being dogs. This is an increase of 56 percent since 1988. Traveling with pets has seen a 19 percent increase (37 percent) from 10 years ago.

Dog parents have a deep connection with their dogs and are not only looking for travel destinations that allow pets, but are seeking unique and fun adventures that include Fido. With pet ownership continuing to rise, and the deep desire people have to travel and include their dogs, Tonya is on a mission to help destinations reach this vast active market by launching a Dog-Friendly Tourism Initiative.

Tonya explains that dog-friendly tourism isn't just about visitors; it benefits local dog families and businesses alike. She explains, “When you create a warm and welcoming dog-friendly destination, locals will naturally help promote their hometown to their friends and families and take pride in their community.”

Tonya places a great emphasis on teaching dog owners how to be well-behaved canine ambassadors. Tonya explains, “It's not just about allowing ill-mannered dogs to run all over, but putting a set of guidelines in place.” She continues by saying, “It's a shame when a dog owner allows their dog to be disruptive and obnoxious in public. I not only want to help encourage proper dog etiquette but help business owners learn how to politely deal with inappropriate situations when they occasionally occur.” At the beginning of Tonya's career, she trained service dogs. She offers this point, “People may not realize that service dogs also have to be appropriate in public or they can be asked to leave.”

With her unique background as a dog trainer, service-dog trainer, and dog-friendly traveler, Tonya can help destinations improve and successfully launch their own dog-friendly tourism campaign. Her customized dog-friendly tourism consulting services can assist any location in becoming a dog-friendly destination that tourists will visit time and time again.

Dogs enhance our lives and by becoming a dog-friendly destination, cities can offer a unique travel opportunity to tourists and locals alike. As Tonya gears up for her 2019 Dog-Friendly Tourism launch, she invites you to reach out with any questions or ideas. Contact Tonya today to discuss how your destination can become a bucket-list destination for dog enthusiasts.

Tonya Wilhelm is a writer, blogger, and published author who loves exploring new locations with her trusty companion, Dexter the Dog. One of the top ten trainers in the US, she has authored several books and is a frequent blogger and magazine contributor. She has written for publications like Animal Wellness Magazine, Dogs Naturally, Dogster, Natural Awakenings and Barks from the Guild. Stay tuned for her upcoming dog-friendly travel column on Animal Wellness Magazine's blog.
For more information on Raising Your Pets Naturally or other pet services please visit http://www.raisingyourpetsnaturally.com or call 419-699-7785 ###

Dog-training expert

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