R-Pod Adventure Blog

R-Pod Adventure

R-Pod travel trailer camping by ocean

An R-Pod Adventure

One woman. Four surly and fantastic trick dogs.  Leaving indentured servitude in the paradise of the Rain Coast for the wild hills of Alberta.  What could cause her to leave her home and return to a place she swore she would never return to?  Can she survive life in a 20 foot trailer for the winter? Will she make it to the wild, wild west that Alberta continues to be? Come on in, join us on this R-Podyssey adventure…

R-Pod Adventure It began like this:

I have trained dogs on the West Coast of British Columbia for the past 25 great years. There is nothing in the world I would have rather done for those years. I had acreage with a house I worked on and made into a house, learning all about good carpentry, plumbing, and developing patience for extensive electrical work along the way. I was a firefighter and first responder on our local fire department for nearly 7 years. I have a performing trick dog team, and until this last summer, we performed at events on Vancouver Island. I played and I worked and I surrounded myself with the best of the best people. There was nothing not to love about my life.

I bought myself a little travel trailer, a Forest River R-Pod 180. My travel trailer is 20 feet long. It’s tiny but perfectly well appointed for a single woman and her 4 canine compadres. Full bathroom, full kitchen, a bed a table, a couch, heat, air-conditioning, an amazing sound system, storage and a very nice awning. I quickly christened my Pod “The ArfPod”.

Getting to know the R-Pod

For the first year I had it, the little Rpod rarely left my farm. Mostly because steeply rising costs of everything in BC, not the least of which is fuel, made it impossible to take time off work to go anywhere, let alone take a camping or road trip. So I made do, as we do in BC. I went “glamping” on my own beautiful property with my 4 dogs, just to see if I could do it and retain a modicum of sanity. “Why leave this beautiful place anyway?”, I thought.

A new adventure was born

Well, then the reason to leave such a beautiful place landed in the middle of Alberta. His name is George, and he is my grandson and George is the apple of my eye. Like his father before him, George makes my heart absolutely sing. So that was it.

I packed up, sold the farm, and now I am headed back to a province I swore I would never return to. Not directly though. It’s winter time. Winter in Alberta is something I would like to have the opportunity to adjust to slowly, as I watch the maples and poplar trees change their colours and shed their leaves. I really don’t want to be suddenly plunged into winters hard frozen white freshness. So what to do? I really was stymied.

An Adventure began on the Beach

But right then, a wonderful opportunity plunked itself down in front of me, made possible by an equally wonderful woman who was a client, and then friend. Through my work I meet the most amazing people, and one is my friend, a senior Dr. who invited my to camp on her property on the ocean. I arrived yesterday and this is the beginning of truly the greatest journey of my life.

RV Travel On Canada’s Secondary Highways

RV Travel On Canada’s Secondary Highways Well, I admit it: I’ve been a crappy prairie travel blogger this year. I only hope you’ve been keeping too busy with your own summer adventures to notice. Haha.. Anyway, I want to start this post off by telling you why I love travelling the many secondary highways around… Read More

Camping At Manning Park

Camping at Manning Park I’m writing this from beside a beautiful and boisterous creek, full of last winter’s melted snow in Manning Park along Highway 3. After minimal difficulties, I managed to get the trailer backed into the site. I am finally getting much better at backing the Arfpod into the previously too narrow campsites… Read More

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2 Comments on “R-Pod Adventure Blog

  1. Have any of your dogs had any fear issues with the sound of rain on the roof? We are full timers, and have to give our dog gabapenten and have her wear a Thundershirt during each storm.

    • Hi Gail,

      Thank you for reaching out. None of my dogs has any noise-related issues. However, If they did, an easy way to get around it is to play sounds (look up rain sounds on Youtube) for short 2-3 second periods and pair them with something the dog loves that he never normally gets- an Ultra treat. This could be a bit of canned sardines delivered from the end of a spoon whenever the sound is played. Alternate the sound coming on for 2 seconds while you deliver the ultra treat, and the sound going off for 2-3 seconds, and no treat. The sound will become a predictor that you are about to deliver the ultra treat. Do 5 reps in a row, and then stop for 15 minutes. And then start again.

      It’s important to start at a barely audible volume for the first 10 mini sessions. Once the dog is really starting to look for his Ultra treat as soon as that sound comes on, and he’s done this more than a few times, it’s time to increase the volume a tiny bit

      Repeat as before. Until he is good at the new volume, but don’t increase the duration of playing the sounds yet. When he is totally repeatedly looking at you for his Ultra-treat when the sound starts, it’s time to up the difficulty a tiny bit and increase the volume slightly.

      Increase the volume slightly and repeat as before. Keep doing this until he is really good at even a slightly loud (but not earsplitting) volume.

      This process may take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the needs and abilities of your dog. Once he is always comfortable at any volume for a few seconds, you are ready to increase the duration of the sound a few seconds at a time, working in roughly the same process you went through when building tolerance of the sound through increasing volume. The key is to be very, very patient, keep the mini-sessions short and frequent and don’t try to hurry the process. Have faith he’ll get there.

      DOn’t try to get him used to real rain until he’s good with the recorded version. Once the recorded version doesn’t even elicit an ear twitch or big-eyed look at all you may proceed to real rain and use approximately the same process.

      When there is rain in the forecast, disguise the sound by playing music on the stereo, or TV well before it starts and then during the rain. You don’t want music or TV to become a predictor of scary things for the dog so start it 1/2 hour to 1 hour ahead of the storm where possible.

      You may need to start with your dog on his meds and work with him in a medicated state to begin with. Some dogs are more sound sensitive than others due to their breed/type and inherited genes, early experiences (or lack there-of), or a medical history where ear infections were common. Be patient. Don’t attempt to hurry the process by increasing volume or duration too soon. Remember, from your pup’s perspective, his life is in absolute danger here. He is experiencing real and palpable terror. This has to be handled with sensitivity and compassion and patience. Good luck Gail!

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