Summer Vacations With Your Pet

If you are planning a trip, have you considered whether or not your dog gets to come along? Do you know how to travel with your dog? Traveling with your dog can be loads of fun if you make all the right arrangements. However, poor planning can really ruin the vacation for everyone. If you think it would be best for your dog to stay behind, then look for a pet sitter or find a kennel where you can board your dog. If you have decided that your furry companion should be part of your trip, let the planning begin.

Start by keeping a collar with current identification on your dog at all times. A microchip or dog tracking collar may also be beneficial for extra security. Before you travel, your dog should have basic training so he will be well-behaved during the trip. Then, plan the transportation, accommodations and daily activities. Learning how to travel with your dog can make the experience less stressful and a lot of fun!

Travel By Air

Air travel for dogs is not always a great idea. Though canines are not cargo to us pet parents, they are usually considered such by the airlines. The cargo hold does not make for a pleasant travel experience, even for relaxed dogs. This is not to say that flying is not an option, just that it is not ideal. Small dog owners are in luck, though. Some airlines will allow you to bring your pet in a pet carrier if it can fit under the seat in front of you. Learn the finer details of air travel with dogs so you can be fully informed before you book a flight.

Pet-loving entrepreneurs have been developing pet-friendly airlines that may actually be affordable. One such company is Pet Airways, a pet-only (no human passengers) airline that allows pets to fly in the main cabin rather than cargo. However, these flights are only available in a limited number of cities. Until these types of airlines are more accessible, many of us will have to make do with the rules or scrape up the dough to charter a plane.

By Automobile

The automobile is usually the best way to travel with dogs. If you own a vehicle, chances are your dog has ridden in it for trips to the vets, the park and so on. If not, now is the time to start. Some dogs have anxiety over riding in cars. The more positive your dog’s automobile experiences are, the more likely he will enjoy the rides. If your dog only rides in the car for vet visits, and he dislikes the vet, his anxiety is understandable. Try taking him for short, frequent car rides that end up at the park, dog supply store (where he will get a toy or treat), or another pleasant place. If your dog does not adjust to the car, then a road trip is not a good option. If you must bring your dog for a long car ride, ask your vet about possible anti-anxiety medications that can make the trip a bit easier on everyone. Otherwise, you should seek out other options. Remember, medications should be used sparingly.

If you’ve decided that Rover can handle the trip, make sure you make all the proper arrangements.

Plan Ahead

Plot rest stops along the way while traveling with your dog, and plan to stop every 3-5 hours to allow your dog to relieve himself, drink water and stretch his legs (more or less depending on your dog’s needs). Make a list of several veterinary hospitals that are easily accessible from your route, preferably within one hour’s drive from any given point. Check that they will be open during your travel.

Bring for the car ride:

  • Lists of rest stops and veterinary hospitals
  • Leash
  • Dog seat belt or crate / kennel
  • Water and Bowls
  • Treats
  • One or two toys
  • Blanket and/or dog bed
  • Bags to pick up waste
  • Medications, if applicable
  • Your dog’s medical records

Hotels and Dogs

If you will be staying at a hotel while traveling with your dog, cover all your bases in advance. A pet-friendly hotel is more than just one that allows pets – it is one that welcomes them. Some hotels offer special dog beds, turndown service (down to the treat on the pillow), dog spa services and doggie day care. Ask what amenities are available for your dog, but remember to find out what cost is involved. Many hotels charge a non-refundable pet deposit upon arrival, then a daily pet fee. Some even tack on a special cleaning fee. Bottom line, before you choose, do your research about pet-friendly hotels.

Bed and Breakfast / Inns for Dogs

Inns and B&Bs are typically not equipped for dogs. However, they do exist. It is essential that you know how to prepare for the trip prior to finalizing your plans. Learn about bringing your dog to a B&B, then look for a dog-friendly location.

Camping with Dogs

Camping with your dog can be the perfect way to spend time together while communing with nature. However, camping with dogs is not always a wise choice. Before you decide to bring your dog, make sure the campground you are considering actually allows dogs. Many state and national parks do not allow dogs. Above all, learn how to have fun and stay safe while camping.

BE PREPARED

Emergencies do not only happen close to home, they can also happen while traveling with your dog. Advance planning can make these emergencies less stressful. Before the trip, make a list of veterinary hospitals in the area where you will be staying, along with a map. If your dog shows sudden signs of illness, that list can help save your dog’s life. Before you leave for your trip, make sure you have not forgotten anything. Use this list as a guide while you are packing. Add your own personal touch as needed.

  1. Lists of rest stops and veterinary hospitals along your trip (if driving)
  2. List of veterinary hospitals near the location where you are staying
  3. Crate / kennel
  4. Leash
  5. Water and Bowls
  6. Dog Food
  7. Treats
  8. One or two toys
  9. Blankets and/or dog bed
  10. Bags to pick up waste
  11. First Aid Kit
  12. Grooming supplies, if necessary
  13. Medications, if applicable
  14. Your dog’s medical records (including vaccine history)
  15. Health Certificate (obtain from your vet)

Now you’re all set – be safe and enjoy your trip!

Clicker Dog Training

One of the easiest ways to train your dog is to capture the behaviors you like. Capturing behaviors means waiting for your dog to perform a certain behavior, and rewarding it so he will repeat it again. It won’t work for everything you want to teach your dog, but you may be surprised at how quickly your dog learns to do new things when you use this clicker training technique.

What You Need

To capture your dog’s behavior, all you need is a handful of small treats and a clicker. It’s also important that your dog understands the meaning of the clicker (i.e. a click = a treat). The more clicker savvy the dog, the better this technique works, and the more behaviors you can teach this way.

The Rules for Using a Clicker to Capture Behaviors

The best thing about capturing behaviors is that you can do it anytime and anywhere, as long as you have your clicker and some treats on hand. You can even do it during commercial breaks while you watch television. The only rule to remember is that you should only work on capturing one behavior at a time.

How to Capture Your Dog’s Behavior

First, you need to decide which behavior you want to capture. It can be any behavior you would like your dog to perform – lying down, sitting, rolling over, etc. Then all you have to do is wait. As soon as you see your dog perform the behavior you want, click the clicker and give him a treat.

If your dog is new to clicker training, or if you have not attempted to capture behaviors before, it will probably take him a little while to understand what you want him to do. Start with a simple behavior like “sit” or “down.” You can work on more difficult behaviors once he is used to this training technique. Once most dogs get the hang of this type of clicker training, it becomes a fun game for them.

If your dog is already an expert at clicker training, chances are he will catch on quickly. Once he hears the first click and gets his treat, he will start offering behaviors in an attempt to figure out what you want him to do. Soon after he figures it out, he will begin repeating the behavior you want fairly quickly.

Add the Command

Once your dog has figured out the behavior you want him to perform, and is consistently repeating it, it’s time to add the command. Give the command for the behavior, and wait for your dog to do it. For instance, if you’re trying to capture your dog sitting, tell him “sit,” and as soon as he sits, click and give a treat. You will know your dog understands the command when you see the time decrease between when you give the command and when he performs the behavior. As easy as that, you will have taught your dog a new behavior!

Dog Training Guide

When you brought your dog home, did you know you had to be a leader? You probably just wanted a companion but your dog needs a strong leader. The problem is that activities associated with the leadership role are completely at odds with those associated with the companion role. So if you are going to have a successful relationship with your dog you need to put the ‘companion’ role in the back seat and take up your responsibilities as a leader. Your dog will become insecure and attempt to assume the leadership role himself if you don’t.

It is necessary that you look at at things from your dog’s viewpoint if you are to become an effective leader. There are three principles that you should follow to become an effective pack leader. This training guide outlines three principles that you should always follow.

  1. Manage your Dog’s Time. Create a routine, dogs need to have a routine. Use a dog crate regularly to a predetermined plan. Confinement is most effectively and safely carried out in a crate. Your dog will not need any persuasion because he knows that he will be safe and secure. You should socialize him to it as soon as possible and continue to use it throughout his life.
  2. Direct Activities. When you dog is out of his crate you should have an activity plan available which is not just sit and be quiet. Actively practice obedience commands so that he knows how to behave in your home. The brightest star in your dog’s universe is praise, it is what his world is all about.
  3. Be Consistent. If you are not consistent you will confuse your dog. To get a certain action or behaviour, always use the same words in the same sequence. We all have bad days so make sure that you do not take the stress out on your dog. Good leaders do not behave in a temperamental way they keep control of their emotions.

So there you are – be ready to take up the reigns of pack leader and everything that it imples and you will end up with not just a dog but your best friend which is what you were looking for from the start wasn’t it?

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Common Dog Training Mistakes

These are the most common mistakes people make during dog training. You’ll be surprised at the impact these little, and seemingly insignificant actions can have on your dog’s behavior.

Not Paying Attention

It’s the easiest thing: just shift your attention elsewhere for a little while, and suddenly your puppy is off doing unspeakable things to your living room furniture. And you can not correct him unless you catch him in the act. Puppies have an extremely short memory: five minutes ago no longer exists and they will not connect any action you take to something they did minutes ago. When you can not pay attention to your puppy, he should then be in a safe place, like his dog crate, or tethered to you.

Putting Things Off For Too Long

This is so easy to do. You look at your little puppy, and think “he doesn’t need to learn that just yet”. “That” could be anything: walking on a leash, stay, coming when you call … especially when a puppy’s natural inclination is to stay by your side anyway, without any inducements. But if you let it go too long, you’re suddenly staring dog-adolescence in the face and he won’t want to cooperate anymore. Training while young is the most effective way to get the basics into your dog’s head for good.

Failing to Reward Your Dog For Good Behavior

Your dog won’t know he has done something right, unless you tell him in a language he can understand: happy praise, or obvious reward. Rewards don’t necessarily have to be tangible goods like treats, but your dog will need to connect the reward to his action in order for him to get the message. Immediate praise is the best reward you can give. It’s instant gratification for your dog, and gives you a few seconds to produce the tangible reward if you have one. That few seconds will bridge the gap between “Yay, I did it right!” and “Wow, what did I do to deserve this?” Thi is especially important during early training when you are trying to get your dog to connect actions to commands.

Inconsistency

It’s such a little thing, but it yields huge results. Constantly consistent responses are essential to dog training on every level. Deviate even just once from the usual, and you will have undone all that you have done before.

Begging is one of the best examples of this mistake that I can give. A dog that has never received food from it’s people when they are eating, will not continue to beg. He might try it once or twice early on in your relationship, but consistent “no”s and “go lay down” commands will discourage him quickly.

But if you, just once, give in and give him a chunk of whatever you are eating, he’ll know that it worked. And what works once, will eventually work again, even weeks later. Now you’re in for a battle of wills.

Calling Your Dog For Punishment

Let’s put aside the issues that I have with “punishment” to begin with, and just focus on why it’s bad to call your dog to your dog to your side in order to get mad at him.

Nobody wants to go to a person when they know they are going to get in trouble. It’s true of adults, children, and especially dogs. People know you’re not likely to forget your anger, but a dog is ever hopeful, and will diligently avoid you if he knows you’re mad. And every time you call him to you in order to do something unpleasant, you are punishing him for returning to you, and it just cements it in his head that he doesn’t want to go back to your side.

If your dog is in trouble, or you have to do something he won’t like, go and get him, instead of calling him.

Rewarding The Wrong Behavior

It happens to all of us, and it’s the most common mistake made in dog training. You may not even think of it as “rewarding” your dog. You may see it as “comforting him when he’s frightened”, or letting him in when he barks, or even giving him a stern talking to when he misbehaves. Attention of any kind when a dog misbehaves is a signal to the dog: “hey, this works. It’s not quite I want, but it’s still attention.” Even negative attention is better than none at all.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Clicker Training Your Dog

Operant conditioning is a scientific term that describes the way animals learn from the consequences of certain behaviors. Positive reinforcement is a type of operant conditioning often used in dog training.

Dog clicker training, a common form of positive reinforcement, is a simple and effective training method. The clicker is a metal strip inside a small plastic box that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. The click is much faster and more distinct than saying “good dog” and much more effective than using treats alone. To teach a dog the meaning of the click, a treat is given immediately after clicking. Once the dog learns the positive effects of the clicking sound, the clicker itself acts as a conditioned reinforcer.

Clicker training is not meant to completely replace the use of treats. The sound of the click instantly tells the dog that what he has done will earn him a reward. To emphasize this, clicks should frequently be followed by treats. Otherwise, the clicker will lose its effectiveness. “While some clicker trainers may not give a reward every time they click, pretty much all clicker trainers continue to follow the click with a reward,” says Alyssa. “It’s very important to use strong rewards a lot during initial training stages, and treats are often the strongest reward for a dog.”

Here’s how to you can easily train your dog to respond to the clicker before moving on to basic and advanced training. The following steps are often referred to as “loading” the clicker.

  • Begin with your dog in a quiet area.
  • Have a handful of your dog’s favorite treats ready. Ideally, this should be done when your dog is hungry.
  • Press the clicker and immediately give your dog a treat. Repeat 5-10 times.
  • You can test your success by clicking when your dog is not paying attention to you. If your dog responds to the click by suddenly looking at you, then looking for a treat, you are ready to move on.
  • Next, begin teaching your dog basic commands. At the exact moment your dog performs the desired action, press the clicker. Follow with a treat and praise.

One of the best things about the clicker is the accuracy. “It’s like taking a photo of the exact behavior you’re rewarding”, Alyssa explains. The dog associates his action with the click and, subsequently, the reward. Not only does he better understand what he is doing, this also makes him more likely to repeat the action when asked in the future.

Clicker training can also be very effective for advanced training. “You simply click for small steps toward the behavior and work the dog toward the final, completed behavior,” says Alyssa. “This allows you to be totally hands-off (except for delivering the reward, of course). You don’t need to manipulate the dog into position, which can often slow the process.”

Overall, the clicker is a very valuable tool in the training process and should be an essential part of your pet supplies. When creating an obedience and training program for your dog, consider using the clicker and see for yourself how well the method works.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.