How to keep dogs happy on holiday
There are plenty of dog-friendly campsites in the UK but, sometimes, there’s a dog that’s not friendly even if the site itself is.
Comfort Insurance has teamed up with pet expert and pet behaviour counsellor, Kris Glover of Pets in Practise, to offer sound advice to ensure the holiday goes as smoothly as possible for both you and your four-legged friend.
Fear-related behaviours in dogs are very common. Dogs tend to show aggression through fear, towards other dogs. Not only is this unpleasant for all dogs involved, but it’s unpleasant for the owner. So if your dog dislikes other dogs, or vice versa, here are five tips on how to ensure the holiday goes well.
Be mindful where you pitch
The end of a row and not completely surrounded by neighbours is ideal. The more secluded it is, the better. This gives the possibility of only having one potential dog neighbour.
When erecting your dog’s garden area, choose a location which is out of sight of the neighbouring dog’s garden and spend time in this area with your pet. Don’t allow for any unsupervised time out there.
The solution when accompanying them is to offer treats to distract them from any neighbouring dogs. Ultimately, the less chance of them seeing another dog, the less upset they will become.
Keep curtains drawn
When staying inside the leisure vehicle, keep the curtains closed on windows where views of neighbouring dogs is possible. The less aware your dog is that other dogs are close by, the higher chance your dog will be happier.
If you have a barky neighbour, then attempt to drown out the sound with a radio or TV. This will again help to make your dog less aware of the noisy neighbours.
Work on your dog’s dislikes of other dogs, in advance of going away
Before going away, you should attempt to work on making your dog more comfortable with other dogs. When doing this, make sure your dog is at a distance from other dogs to help keep them calm. As soon as your dog spots another, praise them and offer a reward.
This should be repeated so that your pet will start to view other dogs as a predictor of reward, rather than show aggression. At all times, ensure safety is guaranteed. The roadside borders of a park are a good site to do this training. Most owners will keep their dogs under close control in these areas that are close to the road.
Respect the fact that your dog isn’t a socialite
Don’t be upset or embarrassed if your dog isn’t sociable. If your dog doesn’t actively seek out the company of other dogs, it is likely they just want to be left alone. Respect their decision and help by moving away from over-friendly dogs and rewarding them.
If your dog is always able to escape the approach of dogs, friendly or not, then they will never have to resort to aggressive tactics. Putting your dog into a situation which they will dislike will not help them.
Find safe areas within the campsite to walk your dog
Finally, find safe areas within as well as outside the campsite to walk your dog. Most campsites insist dogs are kept on leads, making it easier for you to avoid other dogs as they can be kept at a distance.
Use this as a training opportunity, practicing methods of acclimatising your pet to other dogs to help with their overall dislike of other pets. There will be times of the day and certain places where you can walk your pet which will be devoid of dogs. Utilise this time to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing stroll with your four-legged friend.