Do you take the opportunity on the Easter long weekend to go camping, perhaps taking your dog with you? Dogs often stress out when their routine changes, which can lead to erratic, even aggressive behaviour or illness. It is important to get them use to the scenarios they may encounter while camping, in the weeks leading up to your trip.
– Pitch your tent or pull out your camper in your back yard and spend time inside relaxing with your dog on their bed. Don’t force your dog inside. Give your dog lots of attention with yummy treats and praise when your dog he/she chooses to come near the tent or joins you inside.
– Take your dog for regular day trips for a few weeks prior to leaving. Pack your dog’s bed and food bowl you intend to use while camping. Try to replicate the situations your dog will experience during a camping trip: long drives, walking and relaxing in a new area, having a meal, your dog sitting in the backseat while you pack the car or while you are at the service station.
– When at your camp grounds, keep your dog on a lead at all times for his/her own safety. Long leads, recall leads or horse lunging leads are great to allow your dog extra freedom. Get your dog used to being on a lead and tethered while at home, so he/she is more relaxed when camping. Give your dog lots of treats when he/she is relaxed while tethered for short periods of time, building up the duration of being tied up. Ignore jumping or pulling on the lead and only let your dog off the tether when he/she is settled.
– While camping, keep your dog’s feeding routine similar to home life. Feed them their usual food at the same scheduled times and don’t be tempted to give them human food, to reduce the chance of an upset belly or possessive behaviours. Feed your dog’s food in a food ball, food puzzle or Kong to lengthen the time taken to consume it.
Wishing you and your dogs have a safe and enjoyable Easter long weekend.
Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page – Positive Paws.