Sunday, 16 March 2014

Top Ten Tips for Train Travel with a Terrier

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?



  1. I's never been on a real train - just da subway in Bawston. I have been on planes though!

  2. We live in 'one of those countries'. We would only be allowed in the baggage carriage IN a crate. Life is so unfair. AND a bit of barking is preferable to talking on mobile phones at a volume that doesn't require a phone.

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  3. Should the bottle in item 4 be consumed before or after a train journey with Bertie?

  4. LOL we were asking the same thing about number 4 but peeps say before and during and after will do LOL. Have a serene Sunday and let us get on some big easy today.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. I think they would have swat team waiting if you tried to take a dog on a train here....unless of course you have a registered therapy dog which it appears millions do

  6. When we ride trains in Europe we make fools of ourselves over the dogs on board. We cannot even have a dog in a private compartment makes us consider retirement in a more civilized country! (seriously)

    Gussie's Muzzer

  7. WE think that DOGS should be allowed to go EVERYWHERE. The world would be a BETTER place if we WERE.

  8. Oh Bertie what wonderful advice for when I go to see Auntie Yam in a few months, I hear they are planning a train trip to Glasgow!!

  9. Hari OM
    BRWWAYYAHHAAARRRR - Bertie, you may like share the ensuing conversation between myself and Aitch in respect to the application of said tips in the case of Lady Vicki with your good friend Gail:
    YAM -strewth.
    number one - no barking
    number two - feed her first
    number three - avoid eye contact
    AITCH; yes...and
    YAM; number four - get sozzled
    AITCH; good or the dog?
    YAM; both might be a good choice
    AITCH; true but that may cause snoring
    YAM; speak for the dog...
    number five - be careful about number twos
    AITCH; yes for sure but uncontrolable really
    YAM; number six - confine her to YAMsters kitchen
    at least until the tummy settles
    AITCH; ahhhhh
    YAM; Number seven - harness at all times
    AITCH; except in the back garden
    YAM; ESPECIALLY in thE back garden
    Number eight - no probs there even I cannae translate for yer
    number 9 - go scotland
    number 10 - this is a great place to be

    Does that summarise the situation well? Forewarned = forearmed and all that. Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  10. There are four of us USA dog owners who feel your advice is good. We will be happy to move to Scotland and how about providing us with room and board until we can find proper work to do and a sitter for our pups. It may be just a bit of a while, but we are sure you and Bertie would be patient for Stella, Brownie, Chuckles and Bitsy. Oh, and three owners besides me.

    Let us know right away, please! We are all excited!


    1. Yippee! Do come right over and stay with us. I'm sure Gail won't mind one bit. We have loads of room. Just tell the humans there are plenty of well paid jobs in Aberdeen, provided they have skills relevant to the oil and gas industry!

  11. Bertie - Is it true than in an independent Scotland there will be free dog treats on Scotrail ?

    1. If Alex Salmond has not yet promised free dog treats, then I am sure it is only a matter of time...

  12. all of this advice is spot on, particularly the bit about the whiskey in place of rescue remedy

    retro rover

  13. Bertie and Gail what a funny and informative post. You have both learned a ton of train things.
    Now we know who is to blame for your mighty mini
    marathon in Newcastle. The seed was planted by a fellow traveler.

    I guess I'll avoid train travel because I expect most travelers would not be fond of my 1st soprano solo of
    O' sole mia. That is my favorite traveling song.

    hugs madi your bfff

  14. Stop by our blog tomorrow, we have something for you!

  15. Top Ten Bertie, why I can make it just one. Have
    Gail be deaf and dumb and keep smiling all the while.
    There simple right.
    Happy St. Patrick's Day and that's no blarney
    Sweet William The Scot

  16. Extremely useful. My momma uses the book thing to avoid boring conversation as well. I barf too when I get too many goodies. Seems to bother the humans more than it does me.