Thursday, April 4, 2019

Railfanning with Your Dog!

"Freight Train Going through Gainesville, VA"
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

WOOF! I love going to places with my human! I want to go everywhere he goes whenever he goes every time he goes! BARKS!

One of my human's favorite hobbies is going railfanning! What is railfanning? I wondered that too! When we moved out of the chaos of the city a bit west, my human's interest in railroads and watching trains roar through town returned! He was greeted by several loud train horns on move-in day! Not sure if that was intentional or not but it was pretty pawsome. Barks, he quickly found or learned that the trains were a bit closer than he expected but definitely as much fun- if not more so! Paws, he can hear the train locomotives from our home too!

Before long, he made a few friends who shared some tips on a few great places in the area to watch the trains go by!

Barkingly, I have to go with him! Paws, my human was concerned about how the noises from the trains, friends, and other things going on in the area would affect me. The locomotives, their horns, some of the railroad cars with squealing wheels, the bells at the railroad crossing, and the like. WOOF!

Paws, I can understand because being around railroad tracks and trains is dangerous and can even be fatal! For a dog who is frightened, afraid, or scared, railfanning is NOT an activity for humans to take their dog.

Before you do, consider these questions-

"Canadian Pacific Leading Norfolk Southern Train"
(C) Allen Pearson Photography
Do loud noises including squeaks and squeals frighten your dog? 
If so, what does your dog do when frightened? Does he run and hide or run to get away from it? Or does he bury his head in his pillows and blankets?

If loud noises bother your dog, you probably should not take him with you!

If noises do not bother him, then you may be able to take him with you. Be careful and considerate of your dog keeping their safety at the forefront of your attention!

Does your dog respond to your voice commands?
Being near, or close to, railroad tracks are no place for a dog to roam free. Nor it is a place to take your dog if it tends to ignore it's human's voice commands.

Your dog should be kept within the confines of your car, except in the summer when he should stay home, and not roaming around the railroad tracks.  However, things come up like taking a potty break or a few moments to stretch- sitting hours in a car waiting for a train does get tiresome to us dogs too. Barkingly, the dog should be leashed at all times. And, be able to obey their human's commands.

Pack items for your dog on railfanning trips.
For my human and I, our railfan trips range from a few minutes, since the railroad tracks aren't that far away, to an entire day. Just depends on how much time Dad has when he gets the urge to go! WOOF! Although, here lately, he's been keeping his Wednesdays free and we've been heading out.

For me, he always packs a handful of the bestest doggie treats ever and bottled water- at least 6 and a few favorite chew toys, a pillow, and my blankie!

Some Safety Tips.
  • Have your human leave you in the car where you can watch the trains safely. Keep the windows down enough to allow air to flow through but not enough for the dog to escape if they become frightened. 
  • Keep the doors to the vehicle closed and secure. Yes, dogs can jump from the backseat to an open door and escape. Make sure your fellow human passengers know this and do it! 
  • Do NOT park your car close to the railroad tracks. Park away from them so the trains do not scare your dog. Paws, it's illegal to park too close to the tracks. 
  • Keep a dog first aid package in your car for any emergencies.
Remember railroad tracks are NOT a place to play, exercise or even walk the tracks. It is illegal to trespass on railroad tracks and railroad property except at designated locations. 

We are NOT recommending humans take their dogs railfanning. Since I get to go with my human, I've heard the questions asked my human so I put together this post. 

Watching the trains roar by is one of my human's favorite hobbies! Barkingly, regardless of what's going on or what train is going through, he keeps my safety at the forefront of his attention.

'"Intermodal Through Bristow, VA"
(C) Allen Pearson Photography

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