A list compiled by Gail, based on hard won experience...
1. Develop a thick skin. Such that when your dog barks intermittently but piercingly over a period of several hours, you are able to ignore comments from fellow passengers such as “I was hoping that dog would get off at Newcastle”.
2. It is not worth paying the extra for a first class ticket. The advantages of extra space do not make up for the disruption to the dog’s equanimity caused by the constant to-ing and fro-ing of an accessible food filled trolley.
3. Carry a book. It is unlikely that you will get enough peace and quiet actually to read the thing, but the appearance of being absorbed in the text will act to discourage bored fellow passengers from using your dog as an excuse to tell you the life history of every single pet they have owned since the goldfish won at a fair when they were six.
4. Rescue Remedy does not have a calming effect on trains, either for dog or human. Do not waste your hard earned cash. A bottle of Highland Park single malt whisky for the human is a better bet.
5. It is OK to take your dog with you to the train toilet. Should any fellow passenger object, you have two options, either (1) hand him/her the lead and say OK , you take care of him for a minute, then disappear into the WC for as long as it amuses you to hear your vociferous dog wreaking havoc in your absence or (2) point out that the average human user of toilets on trains is considerably less well house trained than your darling pup (this has the advantage of being true).
6. In the matter of treats, it is important to strike the correct balance and consider the longer term consequences. For example, it may seem a good idea to keep the precious one quiet by feeding him a constant stream of yummy snacks en route, but if the likely outcome is a Human Granny upset at the sight of copious barf on her best living room carpet, then you may want to rethink your strategy.
7. Ensure your dog cannot slip out of his collar. If you’re not sure why this is important, click here to read about the day when Bertie did get off at Newcastle...
8. It may occasionally be useful to pretend no knowledge of the local language.
9. It is a well known fact that the staff on Scottish trains are more dog tolerant than their English counterparts. Sometimes they even carry a dog biscuits in the pockets of their uniforms. What this portends for the Independence debate, we can only speculate.
10. Oh and finally, if you live in one of those dreadful countries where pups are not allowed on railway journeys…well, you really should be thinking about moving, shouldn't you?