Not every Airbnb rental has a cuddly dog. We think this is a serious flaw in the business model, but far be it from us to tell them what to do. What do we know? We only spend half our lives in these accommodations. One of the great things about renting a shared space (as opposed to a completely private space) is the possibility of a new dog encounter. We've met some really great dogs along our trip; here's the rundown.
Pictured above - aka: Coco bean, Bean, Princess
Technically not an Airbnb dog (our friend in Seattle's pooch), Coco is the most frantic, most personable, mostly-hairless chihuahua we know. We never got to take care of her all by ourselves, but there were plenty of times we were entrusted with the care of the dog for a few minutes at a time. She's a lover, not a biter, and a yipper only when her owner is out of sight (and then, only when she's not fully occupied, cuddling under a sweatshirt).
Dog cuddle special move: The walk-all-over-ya
There are some things big dogs can't do that little dogs can. One of those is jump. No problem with a little jumper who wants to climb all over your face to show its affection, kind of an issue when it's a Labrador. Coco is a climber. The toughest thing about this kind of love is that you've gotta keep her on you. The friskiness causes you to be scared for a second that you might drop her. Lie up against a tall-backed couch for full effect.
Odie was our second Airbnb dog of the trip, a true lover, and the inspiration for this article. He was the first dog of the trip we missed when we'd left. Luckily, he was in LA, and we got this picture on our return! We plan on staying with Odie and his master again when we come back. We love you, Abby, but we really miss Odie!
Dog cuddle special move: The tail slap
Any time you walked into a room, Odie's head would perk up, and if you made eye contact, his tail would be slapping the floor. This sounds like a standard dog move, yeah, but try this with your dog six times over the course of two minutes. Try it after not coming over to pet him after four tail slap episodes. Odie never quit the tail slap. He was going to get you to pet him, he knew it. His tail just kept slapping.
And he loved the couch, but only if you were going to pet him with two hands when you let him up there.
We've taken care of Larry for weeks at a time. He's the one strongest pups in the self-will department, and he's pretty big, so there's not a lot you can do if there's something he wants. He used to be a lot more spritely (read; hard to catch if he gets away), so he's easier to manage these days, but with his advancing age, pulling his leash doesn't seem fair anymore. He's earned his snooping rights.
Dog cuddle special move: Head in the Crotch
He'll walk up to you and just stick his head between your legs. You can back up one step and he'll just do it again until you start petting him. He likes torso slaps (like a Swedish massage) and chin scratches while he's doing this. If you get a good scratch going, he might start doing the stimulus-response ghost leg scratch.
Inca is probably the cuddliest dog we've met. We took care of him for three weeks and he slept in our bed almost every night. Indeed, he was a big baby. I had to carry him down the trail at one point because he was really slowing us down. After I picked him up and carried him for a spell, he was looking forward to it happening a lot more often.
Dog cuddle special move: The inch-over
We allowed him to sleep in the bed with us, so he'd follow us to bed and hop in while the last of us was still washing up in the bathroom. You'd crawl back into bed and nudge him over to a decent place to give yourself some room to sleep, but if we ever wanted to cuddle closer to one another, Inca would take that opportunity to inch on over so he wasn't left out of the snuggling. He was always looking to edge in on the cuddling.
My favorite dog of the road trip, I must be biased here. He's a wonderful guy that always had a smile and a wiggle for me when I got there. I'm almost positive that I'm his favorite person outside of his owners. He always wanted to play when I got there, but he'd had some back surgeries and it wasn't advised to play with him as rough as either he or I wanted to. He had a tug toy that we would play with, and I would never rip it away hard enough, but he would get extra growly if I tried to pat him on the head or pet his shoulder while I was tugging.
Dog cuddle special move: Running away
He'd get up on the couch to come snuggle, then you would go over and try to give him a hug, and then he'd jump off the couch. I understand that my favorite dog was anti-snuggle, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Pros outweigh the cons.
We only had the pleasure of taking care of Emma for a few days. Emma's owner rescued Emma fairly recently after his old German Shepherd passed away. After taking care of Emma for a few days, we understood why he wanted another. We were instructed that we might need to, but we never had to put her into her cage at dinner - all of the guests loved her.
There was a dog park nearby that we took her to, and it didn't seem like the other dog owners liked Emma too much. From my experience, she was just happy to be running around playing with the other dogs. She does like to bark, and when she was on the leash, she was a bit territorial, but other than that, she was a friendly playmate in the park. I was sad when other dog owners passed the park when I was in there with Emma or left when we got there. Of course, I might just have to chalk this up to just a small sample set.
Dog cuddle special move: Falling over
About 50% of the time you went over to pet Emma, she'd just fall over onto your legs and lie on your feet. You could give her a tummy rub and she'd start scratching, and groaning.
If you have a dog you think should be included on this list, send us an email. We'll happily dogsit for you (and throw a dinner in your house while you're away).