The Easter holidays are a great time to get away with the family and spend some quality time together, and more and more dog owners are choosing to include their pets by taking them along on trips too. With lots of companies offering dog-friendly breaks and accommodation, it’s becoming easier than ever to arrange holidays with pets, meaning your furry friend doesn’t miss out on the fun and saving you the worry, hassle and expense that kennels can bring!
It’s important to research where to stay properly to make sure it’s going to be suitable and enjoyable for you and your pet, bearing in mind their age and necessary comfort levels. There are lots of great websites designed to help you achieve this. Once you know where you’ll be staying, planning ahead as much as possible will make your holiday more stress free for everyone. It’s a good idea to check out what’s nearby – any local walks, tourist spots or pubs to see which are dog-friendly for you to plan into your activities. With any trip that involves your dog being away from home, you should locate the nearest vet to your accommodation and have an idea of directions to there in case of any emergencies. Likewise, it’s advisable to have their medical information with you should it be required.
Holidays mean a change of scenery for your dog, and lots of different environmental factors for them to adjust to, so where you can keep other parts of their routine just as normal. This means taking their usual food and enough for the duration of your whole stay; it’s not always easy to find the exact same type somewhere new and an upset pet tummy is this last thing you want when away! Dry food can be packed in individual bags for daily portions to save you time for other activities together. If your dog has a favourite blanket or toy then be sure to take this along to provide a sense of familiar comfort in an unfamiliar environment. Choose a good variety of toys to pack, so you have some to keep your furry pal occupied, such as treat-dispensing toys, and also some for playing outside together for that all-important holiday bonding. Our Busy Buddy® range has a great selection ideal for this. Whenever away, you should respect the area and locals just as you would back home which means taking plenty of poop bags for the trip to make sure you’re not caught out empty-handed!
Before long car journeys with your pet, it’s a good idea to take your dog with you on short trips to gradually get them used to journeys and help you both become familiar with driving together. You should be sure to place your dog in a secure rear area for safety so they can’t distract the driver or disrupt passengers. Always use a harness for restraining them and not their collar, as this could result in injury to their neck if there was a sudden jerk due to firm breaking or an accident. Never allow your dog to have its head out of the window while you’re driving as this can pose a number of dangers; however dogs do like fresh air during journeys so cracking the window a little or using the air con can help. Don’t feed them during the journey, instead take regular stops for a chance to give them a small snack and some water. Breaks should also be used to encourage movement by playing or taking them for a quick walk to release pent-up energy and let them go to the toilet. For in the car, chew toys are good to help occupy your dog and keep their mind off how long it is until you get there!
Doing thorough planning for a trip and making sure you’re prepared and have all the essentials should mean taking your dog along for half term holidays is simply an added bonus of having your furbaby there with you when making holiday memories.
Lots of people get a puppy with the vision of a little fluff ball that constantly follows you around; a furry best pal to be on hand for 24/7 cuddles. For some, the reality can be different to these expectations. This is simply because, just like us, all dogs are different which means each and every one varies in personality and tendency towards physical affection. If your dog is the more independent type, and you crave some extra four-legged love, then there are ways that you can help to encourage your dog to be more affectionate towards you. This is best achieved by working to strengthen the bond between you as this is at the heart of all aspects of your everyday relationship.
Dogs are eager to please their owners, so by leading them into affectionate behaviour and then making it clear that their affectionate behaviour makes you happy your are creating a positive association with such actions which means they are likely to repeat such behaviour. Any training is a great way of improving the bond between you and your dog. For puppies especially, training together and using positive reinforcement from early on can have a significant impact on shaping how they act towards you, therefore it is a good way to establish affectionate behaviour from the beginning. Just as you would use food treats in reward-based training to teach your dog to respond to commands, you can use your own affection to praise physical acts of love.
Trust is vital for a strong and healthy bond between dog and owner, and will affect how they behave towards you. Being trustworthy in dogs’ eyes is achieved through meeting all of their basic needs such as regular food, water and exercise, a safe and comfortable environment, and plenty of care and attention. Make it clear that you are there for your pet and will be no matter what, and they will learn to feel content and secure in your ownership. This in itself will help your dog to be more loving and also leaves you with the knowledge you’re doing everything required to be a good and responsible owner.
It works both ways, so if you want your dog to be eager to shower you with affection then be sure to do the same in return. This means making a point to have regular one-on-one time where they have your full attention; interactive play, grooming such as brushing, or simply relaxed, quiet time together are ideal for this. Be physical – we’re all guilty of talking to our dogs and rightly so as this is important for showing that you’re directing attention to them only. Likewise, it’s good to make yourself on the same physical level as your pet often for some more equal face time. Just remember, the more loving and affectionate you are, the more attentive and affectionate your pet will be!
There are many common myths and misconceptions surrounding rescue dogs, from the reasons why they are in that situation in the first place to how healthy they are or how they might behave. But a lot of these are really just that – myths. Many dogs are given to rescue shelters not because of their own actions but instead for issues relating to the owner: moving house, financial struggles, divorce and simply a lack of time are all common causes which lead to owners parting from their pets. Often, it can be down to the sad reality of failing to acknowledge the big responsibility that having a dog brings or taking the time to think whether it’s a commitment they can take on.
It’s often thought that many of the dogs in rescue homes suffer from poor health, and it’s true that in some cases of neglect or mistreatment medical care may be required. Most shelters subject dogs to a thorough examination and any necessary treatments upon arrival. If a dog does have an ongoing condition that would require regular treatment then the full details of this will be provided so any interested parties are made fully aware. Just as we love and care for family members if their health starts to fail, prospective owners shouldn’t be hung up on getting the ‘perfect’ pet because it is those with a potential need for ongoing treatment that will benefit the most from a kind home and in return will show endless love.
Perhaps the most common concern that makes people hesitant about adopting a rescue dog is surrounding their behaviour. A lot of dogs in rescue homes have no behavioural issues at all, but for those that do most good shelters undertake behavioural assessments to better understand and help such dogs. Importantly, rescue homes can then ensure that they’re able to fully educate any potential future owner about their needs to find the best home possible. Some people assume that rescue dogs are ‘damaged goods’, and due to bad past experiences and mistreatment must have developed issues towards humans as a result. In fact, dogs that are unfortunate enough to have suffered previously are often more likely to build strong relationships and bonds with new owners. With a lack of affection received previously, rescue dogs have bountiful love to give and are always eager to please to guarantee their new, safe home.
Besides the obvious good deed of adopting a dog and saving a life, choosing to see past these misconceptions and re-homing a rescue dog could be the best decision you ever make as it will leave you with a devoted and loving friend for life.