As the weather improves and spring arrives – everyone wants to be out and about enjoying the sunshine – that means that we usually want our dogs to tag along – I’ve had a few phonecalls over the last few weeks asking about pets and travel sickness – here are a few pointers to help make travel with your pets less of a drama for all concerned.
If your dog suffers from travel sickness, it is important to remember that dogs don’t get carsick from travel sickness but from stress and anxiety or excitement.
The first car ride that most dogs experience is often stressful; the puppy is leaving his litter with complete strangers in a vehicle. This is for some dogs a traumatising experience that they may then associate with travelling in a vehicle.
The best solution to prevent this type of carsick dog is to condition your dog that travelling in a vehicle is a process to be endured, in order to have an enjoyable time once arriving at the destination.
Stress and anxiety in dogs
Some steps to conditioning your dog that a car ride is a positive experience are the following:
- Place your dog inside the vehicle and secure him, with the engine off, just sit with him. Don’t go anywhere and don’t start the engine. Just sit and listen to the radio for a few minutes.
- When the dog realizes that this is not an unpleasant experience, reward with a food treat and remove the dog from the vehicle.
- When you see that your dog is relaxed and comfortable with this process, then start the engine, however do not go anywhere.
- Repeat the reward process.
- When your dog is relaxed with the engine running, then begin to take very short trips, perhaps just around the block
- Reward your dog every time with a treat and a game.
- Then find a beach or park nearby (5-10mins) where you and your dog can have some quality fun time.
- Then drive back home and give your dog as much attention as you did in the park.
If you have a carsick dog that gets very excited, barking, jumping around in the car, and then gets carsick, it is likely that the problem is that your dog has associated a car trip with too much excitement. In this case, you will need to teach your dog to calm down.
To modify this behaviour, follow the same steps as with a stressed or anxious dog.
- Sit in the stationary vehicle, and wait for your dog to calm down
- Praise him when you get out of the car
- Repeat this process a number of times
- When you are happy that your dog can be in a stationary vehicle and remain calm, take him on short drives around the block, that do not end up at the park, instead he arrives back home again.
This two day seminar will target dogs drive, focus and concentration as well as handlers getting it right for their dogs. Animation will also be covered, along with teaching owners how to understand their dogs better so they can then teach any dog to be a great pet or any dog sport they wish to.
Presented By Karen Sadler Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th April 2015
This weekend seminar is for anyone who would like to teach their dogs to learn in a positive manner and owners that want to understand their dogs better.
It will cover Motivation, duration and creating a better competition dog as well as behavioral issues for all dog owners.
As one of NZ’s most successful obedience competitors, instructors and animal trainers, Karen Sadler’s achievements include a long list of New Zealand titles gained with her own dogs in many dog sports, including 6 obedience champions. Karen is the Director of Agrade Animals Action Limited, which provides training for domestic dogs, competitive dog sports, and trains a range of animals for film and TV. Karen’s work has featured in well known commercials such as the Roly (Purex), Wiska’s Cat, Dulux paint as well as Film and TV credits, Shortland Street, Bridge to Terabithia, and Whale Rider plus many more.
Karen’s training methods have been widely tested around NZ and in Australia. Adding to her vast practical experience, Karen has completed The Principles of Canine Behavior Paper through Massey University to gain an even greater understanding of the way dogs think and learn.
Karen’s seminar will be held at the Empire Bay Public School, Central Coast – cost is $120/day for handler spot and $60/day for observer spot. Morning and afternoon tea will be provided. Individual lessons will also be available on the Monday, $50 for a half hour
Watching dogs play always makes people smile. Interacting with your dog through play is also great fun, good exercise and rewarding for both dogs and humans – why then do so many of us just use food as a reward in our training???? It doesn’t matter whether you are training a pet or a performance dog .
Play is one of the most underutilised reward systems. So what do we mean when we talk about “play”? Is it having a dog haul you around hanging off the end of a tug toy and refusing to let go? It doesn’t need to be.
Experimenting with a range of toys that work for you and your dog is really important.
Build up their desire for the toy. Then you can use this as a reward after they have performed a behaviour. Using play helps to increase their desire and drive to perform a behaviour. Food will help with accuracy, however taught correctly playing tug with a toy will actually help to increase a dogs self-control.
Some dogs such as herding breeds prefer independent play – they will take a ball or other object and have a great game tossing it in the air and amusing themselves. One of my dogs has a hoop as a favourite toy – at the end of a great training session where he has been engaged he may well earn the right to perform his rhythmic gymnastics routine in his own free space. After a period of time I’ll remove the toy and it will come out as a “jackpot” reward another day.
So it’s a matter of finding the right style of play for you and your dog.
Other forms of play involve touching, pushing and using your hands on your dog in a playful fashion some dogs really enjoy just the feel of your hands on them – and the right sort of pat can be really rewarding for a dog.
If you’re not sure what style of play will suit your dog just observe them interacting with other dogs and that will give you a good insight.
Build up your dog’s play drive and then try using it as a reward instead of food, it doesn’t necessarily replace food rewards but it will certainly add another layer of enjoyment and interaction between you and your dog.
Tell us below in a comment, whats your dog’s favourite style of play?
A dog sits quietly next to its owner. While she chats in an animated fashion to a friend. They are in a park and it’s a lovely spring day – plenty of sounds and pleasant dramas fill the air.
The dog is a golden retriever – it stares off into the distance. The dog doesn’t look in the owner’s direction. Nor for that matter, the owners friends’.
A couple of young children come around the corner followed by their mother, without checking with the owner first they run up to the dog and start squealing and patting the dog. Giggling and chatting at the same time, the dog just burrows its head and is tolerant. As the mother walks away she say “What a good dog”.
Observing this reaction and series of events started me wondering. What is a good dog in the eyes of an average pet owner?
- One that never asks for engagement or interaction from its owner and will never chose to great a friendly stranger
- One that never turns its head to identify that unusual sound; squealing children or a verbal greeting
- Never strains at the lead or runs off to investigate the smells at the dog park
- A dog that silently endures children
- Doesn’t bark at strangers approaching
- Quiet acceptance of anything and everything around them
When it was time to leave, he quietly plodded along next to his owner on a loose lead. An accessory of a perfectly behaved companion – I am often intrigued by owners and their expectations of daily life with a pet dog. What starts in the form of an ‘idea’ can rapidly turn into an unbelievable struggle to contain the chaos that an addition of a canine companion adds to everyday family life.
Dogs have needs that go way beyond the simple need for food, water and shelter. Different breeds with specific genetic traits have different requirements for activity and mental stimulation. Sometimes owners become overwhelmed rather than content when their new pet cannot just behave and meet the criteria of a good dog or an ideal pet.
Some owners get a dog for a specific purpose. They think that they are just being practical, here are a few reasons;
- To be a companion for an existing dog in the household
- To guard the house
- As a playmate for the children
- To help motivate and increase physical activity
While these are all valid reasons – dogs don’t arrive in any household understanding what their ‘job; is. Deciding to get a dog to address something in your life or perhaps to be a catalyst for change isn’t a bad thing but it is important that owners are prepared for the reality of owning a dog and the journey they are beginning. Own a dog can bring plenty of benefits but it will come at a cost in terms of time, energy and money.
Unfortunately there could very well be some problems to solve along the way. Dog ownership is never plain sailing – and I can tell you from experience that a great deal of my working day is made up of helping owners who have discovered that owning a dog is different and more challenging than they realised. Perhaps the expected a calm, quiet buddy instead they have a happy, focused play driven dog. Whatever the situation, the end result can be matched to the owners intention for their new companion.
We need to redefine what we believe to be a ‘good dog’ means. The traditional view that dogs should remain quietly out of our sight until we want them to do something is outdated and certain demands of what our dogs are capable of can be unrealistic. Instead we need to think of a ‘good dog’ in terms of what they can be taught and how much value an appropriate relationship with a dog can bring.
Well – despite what you may think – not all dogs are a fan of water. Some like to tip toe in up to their knees and that their lot. Others like to body surf in amongst the waves – some prefer to chase seagulls while others are just content to sit and look after all the beach belongings. Just like humans you’re furry friend will have their own thoughts on how far they want to indulge in terms of aquatic adventure!
My advice take it slowly – let them explore at their own pace and make sure that you don’t take your young pup while they are working their way through a developmental fear period.
Some dogs due to their length of coat, structure, temperature despite your best intentions are never going to be swimmers. I have had the pleasure of owning a variety of dogs and they all vary in terms of their aquatic bravery and enjoyment – their skills and style of swimming are diverse.
Basically – here are a few pointers
First outing – take to a shallow lake or similar spot where the water and environment is calm – let them explore calmly at their own pace.
Here are the important points to remember
- Avoid excessive noise
“Take them to an area that’s not crazy and hectic,” just like kids can become overwhelmed if there’s a lot of noise and activity around them. The object is to keep them calm and focused on the swimming lesson.
- Use encouragement
Just like teaching a child, keep your voice upbeat and positive, and use treats and toys to encourage your dog to enter the water. However once they are in avoid throwing too many objects as gulping at the treat or two until they are experienced can leap to inhaling large amounts of water
- Never throw them in
Just as you shouldn’t throw a child in the water and expect it to swim to safety, the same applies to a dog, in some cases dogs are just not the right structure and can sink like a stone. Take the process gradually – begin with them getting used to the feel of the water around their feet.
- Support their weight until they paddle
Even if the dog is wearing a life vest, support the midsection and hindquarters in the water until they start paddling and feel comfortable.
- Show them how to get out
Getting a dog in the water is only half the battle. If you are using a swimming pool it’s even more important that they are shown where the steps are in the pool so they can get out.
- Keep an eye on them
Even in the water, dogs can wander off. Dogs that swim naturally and well can jump in the ocean and keep swimming until they’re lost, keep a close eye on them at all times.