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Vacation Training Tips for Pets

Many people are including their furry family members in their summer vacation plans. Where to go and what to see are determined by pet friendly hotels and shopping centers. It can be very rewarding to include your dog on your summer getaway! You can practice the following training tips to have a safer and more relaxing vacation.

First, make sure that little Lucy has her ID and rabies tag attached to her collar. Many people, who would have otherwise driven by, will stop and pick up a lost dog if they see shiny tags hanging from her collar. In addition, have your dog micro-chipped in case she slips out of her collar and becomes separated from the family.

One of the most common vacation disasters is Lucy slipping out of the car door at a rest stop or hotel. You might say that your dog would never run away, however, remember that you are in a strange place with new smells and scary noises. To help with this, be sure she knows a “Wait” or “Stay” command before getting out of the car. Teach and practice this command long before the big day comes. Here are a few simple steps to help your dog learn this practical command.

  • With your dog’s leash on, ask her to get in the car with an “Up” or “Let’s Go.”
  • When your dog is in the car, tell her to “Wait.” Keep the door open during this step.
  • Stand at the open door and reinforce the “Wait” command. Don’t let Lucy dart out of the car. If she does, tell her no and have her back in the car.
  • Release her with an “All Done” command and praise her as she gets out of the car.

Repeat the steps. After a few practice runs, tell Lucy to “Wait” and back up a step. Be ready for her to dart out when she sees you moving. Quickly step forward and block her progress. Tell her again to “Wait.” Your goal is to be able to back up a few feet and Lucy stay in the car waiting for her release command. As your dog masters the Wait command, practice it with the door shut and Lucy in the car on her own (Remember never leave Lucy alone in the car for more than a few seconds).

Another common vacation pitfall is Lucy being asked to leave the hotel or campground because of barking (how embarrassing, right?). She thinks that all the little critters in the campground are scary and of course it is her job to chase them off. Also, she might expect everyone who passes your hotel door to stop and say hi. After a couple of hours of barking you quickly realize that the only options are to go home early or try to find a kennel that can care for Lucy (this can be close to impossible in many busy vacation areas). Teaching Lucy a “Quiet” command will save you from these situations.  Again start at home many weeks before your planned vacation and you will be fine.

To teach Lucy her “Quiet” command you will need a can of pennies or a water spray bottle.

  • When Lucy begins barking, tell her once, “Quiet.”
  • Quietly praise her if she stops on the first command.
  • If she continues, shake the can filled with pennies or spray Lucy with the water bottle. Tell her “No. Quiet.”

Practice these steps in situations that cause Lucy to bark – such as the doorbell ringing or the mailman walking by. You will find that Lucy begins to stop barking with the first “Quiet” command.

If you utilize lots of practice and practice early, you will find yourself on a relaxing vacation with a well-mannered dog!

Feel free to let me know if you have any dog training questions!

Katie’s Dog Training offers private, in-home training sessions so that you can experience the loyalty and companionship that a well balanced dog offers. Even though she has graduated numerous training schools, the dogs themselves tend to be her most beneficial teachers. She and her husband share their home with three wonderful dogs, Luka, Jazzy and Honey as well as a crazy cat named D’Angelo.

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cecil grass - June 17, 2010 - 10:32 am

Cool post, a lot of us forget about the basics when taking pets on vacation. Some more great Dog Training Tips over here and a people to chat with and share.

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