How to stop your dog damaging her stitches

Is your dog injured? And nibbling his stitches? You have to protect the wound to promote healing, but there are many ways to do this! | FREE EMAIL COURSE | dog training, dog health | #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogscratching | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

At some stage in his or her life, your dog will need stitches. Could be for neutering, a gash or tear, or something more serious.  

Some dogs will lick obsessively at a wound. This causes skin changes, it inhibits healing, and can introduce infection. So it’s essential that the wound is allowed to heal without being licked and nibbled at.

Many years ago one of my dogs came back from the vet wearing a modified wastepaper bin on his head. They’d cut the base out of it, leaving nasty ragged plastic edges. While protecting the wound they had made in surgery, it created sore patches and cuts all around his neck where it chafed. 

Vets now use a ready-made collar which comes packed flat. This is known as an “Elizabethan” or “Buster” collar to attach to your dog’s own collar. These are large lampshade-type constructions which will fit any size dog. 

They annoy mightily, but they don’t do any damage. Except when the dog catches it in a doorway and it digs into his neck. Or gets food all over the edges. Or is unable to get a drink without spilling the water bowl.

For indoor use only

If your dog needs this to protect the wound, then go for it. But if he’s well enough to go for a walk with you, please take it off! It crashes into things, its appearance will cause problems with other dogs, and it distorts your dog’s hearing so that when you call he’ll head off in the direction he’s facing - as that’s where the sound seems to be coming from! 

If your dog is busy running around, sniffing, and being a dog, he won’t be licking his wound.

There are alternatives. I haven’t tried one, but there are cushion-type collars that are supposed to prevent the dog turning his head round to reach the wound. I guess these could be very effective, depending on the position of the wound, and the elasticity of the dog. For dogs who are able to turn and meet themselves coming back, this probably wouldn't work.

A t-shirt that covers the area may be quite enough. Depending on the size of your dog, you can put a child’s or adult’s t-shirt on him. Tie all the excess material in a knot over his rump, so he can still pee without getting in a mess. 

If your dog can’t leave the wound alone, then obviously the bonnet stays firmly on. 

Coco looks like Buzz Lightyear in his bonnet! You have to protect the wound to promote healing, but there are many ways to do this | FREE EMAIL COURSE | dog training, dog health | #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogscratching | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Not just licking!

Another time when it’s essential is when the wound is on the face or head. A quick scratch with a powerful hind leg can do untold damage in seconds. Dogs never seem to do the minimum scratching necessary to relieve the irritation - they scratch for what seems a pre-determined period, by which time the stitches may all be ripped out. Keep your hat on!

Here's Coco doing his Buzz Lightyear impression ...

But I’ve found that often nothing at all is needed. If I’m watching over my dog I can interrupt any interest in the wound site. The techniques good vets use these days mean that the incision is often tiny and can have minimal stitches or staples or glue to hold it together. So you don’t get the pulling and tweaking you can get with lots of stitches.

Years ago a surgeon told me that they had reduced healing time in his wards dramatically by making the bandages impossible for the patient to interfere with - thus letting the healing take place unhindered - and by having a lounge between the different-sex wards where patients could mingle. This added interest gave them something else to focus on! 

You can do the same by ensuring your dog can’t get at the wound, and by giving him lots of other things to amuse him, including walks, or play in your garden, if appropriate and advised by your vet. Otherwise you can stick to “brain games” - searching, chewing, unwrapping, etc, or just plain ole companionship.

So try relieving your dog of the burden of the dreadful bonnet! You may find it’s only needed occasionally if at all.

 

Want some ideas on dealing with everyday dog and puppy problems? Get your free email course and get some imaginative answers
 

How Can Your Family Dog Teach Your Children Empathy?

Can your dog teach your children empathy? Oh yes! And so easily. Plenty of ideas and resources in this post | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Dog training, new puppy, puppy training, dogs and children | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

“You have to share.” 

This is a concept we all want our children to learn. Preferably before they become known as the mean kid at playschool. 

Nagging your child whenever he has something - but wants to keep it to himself - is not the way we want to interact with our family. Being told to share can push a reluctant sharer the wrong way and increase his feelings that his possessions are being threatened.

And it can backfire. Witness toddler Connor who wanted a taste of his mother’s glass of wine. When told no, he gathered up all the authority a 2-year-old can muster and said, “You have to share.”

So, to dodge this particular minefield, how about bringing in a helper who will teach your child the joy of sharing without any pressure - or even parental input?

Your Family Dog!

There she is, waiting in the wings, always happy to oblige with a bit of company.

Careful introductions

You have doubtless put plenty of effort into ensuring that child and dog got off to a good start - starting early in pregnancy acclimatising your dog to baby gear, sounds, smells (see Resources below for help with this). 

Puppies and children need no-pressure interactions from the start. Plenty of ideas and resources in this post | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Dog training, new puppy, puppy training, dogs and children | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Exposure to each other should be limited and always actively supervised. The child should never be allowed to badger the dog, and - of course - you never leave any child alone with any dog, not even for a moment, not even while you answer the phone. Always take one of them with you.

You’ll need to teach the dog a default  Leave it - check out the step-by-step book here - so that boundaries (toys, food, beds) are clear and there's no confusion. And your baby will need to learn the same trick! It’s part of learning respect for others and their space and things. 

Oh, and no cutesy pictures of the baby crawling on or hugging the dog please! A little study of Dog Body Language will show you how close many of these babes you see on the internet are to a bite.

Toddlers and older children

So, having carefully worked through all that, the pay-off is that your small child should already have a firm relationship with your dog, enjoying the fun she brings to play, and the comfort of a soft, fluffy friend to commune with when in need of company or reassurance.

You can encourage your child to include the dog in his plans. You can encourage him to think of her needs. 

Puppies and children are a mix made in heaven. But things could go badly wrong! Check out the ideas and resources in this post | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Dog training, new puppy, puppy training, dogs and children, dog biting child | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #dogbiteschild | www.brilliantfamilydog.com
  • “What’s Maisie having for dinner?” Your child can help prepare her something he knows she likes, and learn to see to her needs before he gets his own supper.
  • “Where’s Maisie going to sit?” you may ask when being shown a splendid “treehouse” in the hedge. This is probably just a muddy hole with some branches over it - but it’s an important construction! And there may well be a place for your dog built in to the plan already.
  • “Shall we bring Maisie?” You can discuss how Maisie may feel about the proposed outing, and whether she’d be happier coming or staying at home. 
  • “Do you think Maisie would like to be left alone to sleep now?” Oh how important this one is! Maisie has a right to her own privacy, and will need to sleep at least as much as your baby does. You can juggle the waking and sleeping times so that there are only very few times when both are active and need that constant supervision from you. An under-rested dog is just the same as a fractious overtired toddler - she can’t cope when she needs to be asleep and is being poked and prodded. Don’t test your dog’s patience!

Spontaneous Sharing

Sharing his treehouse, his games, his excitement, his sadness - and sometimes the food he doesn’t want to eat, secretly dropped into Maisie’s waiting mouth below the table - will give your small child a way to express himself and his feelings without the complications of human interactions or sibling competition. 

If he doesn’t want to feature the dog in one of his games or imaginings right now, then she’ll be happy to doze in her bed till she’s needed. No offence taken.

He will learn the pleasure of sharing in a simple, natural way - without us having to keep telling him.

Putting the dog’s needs first, helping her with the things she can’t do herself, and appreciating the things she can do so much better than he can - having her find lost shoes, for instance - will teach your child empathy faster than any other way I know.

The Darlings in Peter Pan had Nana. You have your own nursemaid. Put her to work for you!

Get your free email course to sort out lots of puppy problems

I wish I could take my excitable dog on family outings!

Do you long to take your tricky dog on family outings? You can! Follow the suggestions here and you can make it work, and really enjoy your family dog | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #problemdog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Yes! You can!

One of the reasons you got a family dog was the enticing thought of outings - to the pub, the cafe, the beach, forest parks … What could be nicer than enjoying a walk in beautiful scenery, and ending the visit in congenial surroundings with everyone tucking in to good food and drink?

But the reality arrived in your fluffy bundle of puppyness, and you soon discovered that your family dog had other ideas about how life should work!

So you may have a dog who’s ebullient, boisterous, loves everyone, and you feel you can’t inflict that on a pubful of people wanting a peaceful refreshment stop. 

Or maybe your dog is reactive - shy, anxious, “aggressive” - and struggles to be in the same space as strange people and - worse - their strange dogs.

Your ideas of family outings with your dog have been put on hold for an indefinite period, until … until what? Until he gets to age 11 and calms down a bit? Until he suddenly decides he’s no longer afraid of people and dogs? Until he’s able to pass a dog on the path without a meltdown?

You could be waiting a long time!

So let’s speed this up - a lot. 

A portable parking spot

One game all dogs should learn is how to relax on their mat. Once your dog knows that if the mat is on the floor, then he should be on it, calmly waiting for you to reward him for staying there, then you can consider going out to places.

For precise, step-by-step, instructions on how to achieve this, go to my Books page where you’ll find that a whole book on calming your dog down is free! Yes, really …

Want to take your dog on a picnic? Follow the suggestions here to prepare, and you can make it work, and really enjoy your family dog | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #problemdog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I can’t tell you the number of students who have found this skill so useful - at home, when friends visit, in cafes, on trains, on buses, at training class, on holiday, at the shops, at friends’ houses, at the vet’s - the list is endless.

If you’re starting with a puppy, so much the better. This can all be part of her valuable socialisation program.

“We thought about delaying getting our new German Shepherd puppy because we had already arranged a short holiday with friends. Our breeder persuaded us that we shouldn’t wait and that a holiday was an ideal time to have our puppy bond with us. So we collected our 8 week old puppy and spent 2 weeks getting to know one another, then headed off with our friends by car and then ferry to the Isle of Skye. Before she was 11 weeks old, puppy Elva had been in the car, on a train, and on a ferry - and she took it all in her stride. People might worry about meeting enough people in the important socialisation phase in a puppy’s life but everywhere we went, she was a people-magnet with everyone wanting to pet her. She loved all the attention and we loved that she was interacting with so many people!
I’d had concerns about travelling with a puppy but we’d started crate training right away. Our travel crate was invaluable in the car and a great place for a tired puppy while we went out for dinner with our friends. By evening, she was more than happy to sleep quietly in her crate until we came back.”
Amanda and Elva, German Shepherd puppy

And Ellen travelled a lot with her Border Collie pup Selkie, even at only four months!

“The games have helped greatly with making puppy trips easier and laying the foundations of good communication. She's particularly great on her mat on buses, trains and in pubs!
 
Teaching your dog to lie on her mat is an invaluable skill for being able to go on family outings later | FREE VIDEO COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #problemdog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Mat is King!

So matwork will get you part of the way there - and may be all you need for your excitable dog. You also have to make life as easy as possible for your worried dog.

For this you need to work on techniques and strategies to help him adjust to our world - there are plenty here to get started on at Brilliant Family Dog

And the most important thing for your reactive dog is distance. So a good place to start would be an establishment with a large, open, garden where you can get away from other people and be out of their way. If you go to a crowded place and your dog surprises you by being “fine” with all the busyness, think again. It’s more likely that your dog is exhibiting a learned helplessness - he can’t escape, it’s all too stressful, so he shuts down and waits for it all to be over. 

So heading off on this type of outing can only be done when you know there’s a good chance that with all your preparatory training, your dog will be able to cope. 

Forward planning

Either way, you need to plan this trip! 

Here’s a wonderful example of just how effective this can be, from Kerina, one of the students on From Growly Dog to Confident Dog

“We had aimed to go to the pub today and had it planned out to the letter. If either of the dogs got too stressed we wouldn’t stay for lunch, just a drink. We plotted the route yesterday.
I was prepared, had packed toys for the dogs, frozen kongs, coolmat for Spud and blanket for Robin, water from home and some kibble and treats. We chose a table that was at the side, right by the river, and both dogs settled.”
Teaching your dog to lie on her mat is an invaluable skill for being able to go on family outings later | FREE VIDEO COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #problemdog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com


Later the dogs enjoyed more of their river walk and a swim. They couldn’t have had such fun from the day without the thought Kerina and her sister put into it.

It didn’t take much to take all this stuff with them - think how much a toddler’s family has to pack for a couple of hours! - but it paid off many times over.

An important part of Kerina’s plan was to abort the trip if things weren’t going well. Always be ready to get out of Dodge. If your dog is stressed it’s not going to be much fun for any of you. And if your dog’s having an exciting walk, with lots of running and sniffing, be sure to factor in plenty of downtime. That’s when those prepared foodtoys and the mat come into their own. 

So get everything ready, do all the training first, plan a trip, plan your exit strategy, and enjoy the family outings you were so looking forward to when you decided to get a dog to share your life. 

Yes, it can happen.

 

Got a difficult dog? A shy, anxious, worried, aggressive, “growly” dog? Join our 5 day Workshop - entirely free! - and learn new ways to make the changes you want | FREE VIDEO COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #problemdog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

 

 

You’ll find a week’s worth of tips for calm walks and outings here in this free Workshop!  

Check it out here

 

I'm too busy to train my dog

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Gone are the days when you had to march round a hall for what seemed like hours on end to train your dog. Those bad ole days when we were instructed to practice only whole exercises instead of breaking them down into tiny component steps.

No longer do you have to prepare a training session like a military campaign, getting everything in place before you fetch your controlled and manipulated dog from the white room he’d been placed in so that he didn’t get too excited/bored/whatever. 

You don’t have to take copious notes on what you do in every session. Note-taking certainly has a place, and if you’re a professional animal trainer, working with a host of different animals every day, it’s a must. But for the average dog-owner, with just one dog to work with, you should know what you last did and how to progress it next. 

Most of my training is done on the fly, as part of my everyday life with my dogs. 
A delightful morning greeting! | All-Day Training, force-free training | #dogtraining, #puppytraining | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

First thing in the morning, for instance, my dogs are released from their beds to give a delightful morning greeting. Here’s Lacy’s morning smile to me, leaning over my pillow … What could be nicer?

Straight downstairs and they all sit at the garden door waiting for it to open and to be let out by name, individually. 

So already we’ve used matwork, impulse control, turn-taking, and waiting for - and acting on - a personal release cue. These all have their own intrinsic rewards - no need for treats or toys. 

While the others do their business, Rollo will be too busy watching the hens emerging from their house for another day of clucking and scratching. His “Hurry up” cue sends him straight to the pee-side of the garden for some action. Back inside again, they are free to greet the cat, keep me company getting ready for the day, to chew bones, lie on their beds - generally amuse themselves. So that takes more impulse control, self-confidence, feeling comfortable in their own skins. 

And so it goes on, through the day. While I work they can do what they like. An off-switch is an essential here! Preparing for a walk or van-journey incorporates impulse control and patterning. 

Coco waits quietly on his mat at the coffee shop | FREE EMAIL COURSE | dog training, matwork, dog impulse control | #dogtraining, #dogimpulsecontrol, #dogrelaxation | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

A visit to the shops or cafe brings in more of their everyday training. Here’s Coco on his mat at the coffee shop, waiting for victims to come through the door to greet him (so he thinks). More matwork, more impulse control, polite greetings. 

Once we’re out we either have an exploring walk, or play with toys (each dog has their own toy so that there aren’t any mid-air collisions or spats), and the two that have difficulty with things suddenly happening - strange dogs, people, children, bikes, plastic bags, or hot air balloons - get to work on their reactivity with carefully-designed strategies for them to adopt instead of barking, lunging, and shrieking. I help them cope with the hazard, then on we go again. Here we’ll have used a number of reactivity-geared techniques, counter-conditioning, recall, loose lead walking, retrieve, stop mid-hurtle, down, sit, and any other tricks I fancy asking for. 

I’ll walk one, two, three, or four, dogs as the fancy takes me, and as the need arises. Multiple dogs in a home can soon turn into a gang of hoodlums if their individual needs aren’t catered for.  


William Henry Davies had it, when he penned his well-known poem Leisure. He knew the value of living in the moment:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Breaking down what you end up with into tiny steps

Those recalls, for instance, aren’t something you teach by telling your dog to sit, marching away, facing him like a statue, then barking out a command for him to come to this imposing figure, and sit. Life is not an army camp! And your wayward dog is not going to learn by you just yelling at him when he’s a couple of hundred yards away, hoping that somehow, miraculously, he’ll understand what’s wanted. 

When I call my dog I want him to respond to me with a “Hey! That’s my name!”, a head-turn towards me (a stop and turn if they’re racing away), whole-body turn - then a race towards me where they’ll be greeted not with a stony face, but with joy. No requirement to sit - just to race back. So each of those parts is taught entirely separately, and only occasionally put together as a whole. And each of those parts is practiced in isolation, regularly. 

Practice makes perfect

Yes there are little impromptu training sessions dotted about the day, one dog at a time, while the others wait their turns on their beds - or perhaps all at once to see who’s listening!

Lacy searches a car smaller.png

And when I’m teaching a completely new skill - scentwork (in the photo Lacy is searching a car for contraband), teaching them their sign to give consent when I want to handle or groom them, fun things like stacking beakers or dinner bowls, fetching and carrying things for me, formal obedience stuff, like Sendaway or dressage-style Heelwork - these will be slightly more planned, but still slotted in for a minute or two here or there. In the back of my mind I know what I want to achieve, and what small steps need to be taken to get to the desired result. Then I just peg away at it when we are all in the mood.

In short, instead of planning training times with my dogs, which would inevitably be postponed because time slid away, or I felt too tired, or I’ve timed things wrong and they are now exhausted from a long walk . . . I grab the moments I already spend with them and use those times to teach new things or practice old tricks. (It’s all tricks to them.)

We don’t line our children up in the morning and give them a ten-minute lesson on what we want them to learn, then ignore them for the rest of the day! We interact with them all day long - a word here, a story there, a little advice or teaching slid in to a conversation, appreciation for something they’ve done which pleases us. We don’t need to allocate special time for all this - it all happens as the day unfolds, during the time we are already spending with them. 

And that’s what happens with my dogs here. A frequent note to self that “What you expect is what you get,” ensures that I keep the training going at all times - although to my dogs it’s just daily life, interaction with me and each other, cuddles, food, fun.

This is what I call “All-Day Training” - just bits, slotted in here and there.

Who’s doing the training?

How many people have a dog of eight or ten years old, and say - “Oh, Harry never comes back when he’s called,” as if somehow it’s Harry’s fault that they never took the time to teach him!

It’s never too late to teach your dog skills that not only may save his life, but which make daily life so much more congenial. If you wait till the time is right, all your ducks are in a row, and you are going to “do some training”, you’ll have missed the boat. 

Full of care, you’ll have missed out on the squirrels and the stars, and the smile in the eyes. 

Forget about formal sessions. Forget about sits and downs and marching about on a lead. Stick to All-Day Training and see how easy it is. 

If you want to find out how to break things down and teach one minute at a time, check out my Online Courses, and my step-by-step books. Develop the bond between you and your dog, enjoy watching him blossom as you work together, and things will all pan out very nicely.

You’ll be a family.

 


And for lots of quick ways to learn some of the things in this article - and which you can fit anywhere in your busy day - get our free email course here

THIS E-COURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME

 

 

 

Dogs in cars: what's the safest way to travel?

How can I make sure my dog is safe in the car?  Read the post to find out what’s best, and why! | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Dog car travel, puppy car travel, dog behavior | #dogtraining, #newpuppy, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.comld my dog travel in a car crate.png

I’m often asked to advise on the best way to travel a dog in the car. Now I’m no lawyer, so you’ll have to check any legal fine print yourself, but I do have some ideas and I’m going to put them forward here. And I’m going to break them down into these main categories

1. Safety of dog
    
2. Safety of others


Dogs and the law

First of all, what are the legal requirements? These will vary from country to country, but I’m hoping that most civilised countries have something similar to what we have in the UK - or, indeed, something better!

In the UK this subject is covered principally by these acts:

  • Control of Dogs Act 1992  
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • Road Traffic Act 1988

And if you're not familiar with Rule 57 of the Highway Code, now's the time to brush up. It states that drivers are responsible for making sure dogs (or other animals) are suitably restrained in a vehicle so they can't distract or injure you - or themselves - during an emergency stop: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

What you use is up to you - but you must use something! Your dog must be restrained while travelling in a car. It’s commonsense, and furthermore, your insurance company may find a loose dog in the car the perfect excuse to refuse to pay out on your policy. This could be very, very expensive.

I’ll look at the different types of restraint mentioned here further in this article. I’m not going to compare brands or models, as there’s such variation around the world. 

For more advice on car protocols for dogs, get our free email course here!


1. Safety of the Dog

Safety first. A loose dog is considered an unrestrained load, and as a projectile could do a lot of damage to driver and passengers in the event of a crash. You need to restrain your dog so that any impact from a collision is minimised. A dog doing pirouettes on the end of a car harness is not a good idea.

Your insurers may be happy to negate your insurance if the dog could be presumed to have interfered with car safety.

Your dog needs to be able to shelter from direct sunlight, or to keep warm in a cold car. Having a crate you can cover with cloths also prevents the dog seeing out and becoming motion-sick as a result, and may minimise car-barking.

A tethered dog would be easy to see in a car, and easy to steal as you’ve obligingly put him on a lead already. Basically - don’t leave a dog tethered. The risk of getting tangled, breaking a leg, or being strangled is too great. 

When you arrive at your destination, you need to be able to get your dog out of the car in an orderly fashion. So your dog will learn to wait till the lead is fixed to his harness before being allowed to jump out of the car.

 

2. Safety of others

Dogs travelling in cars - what’s the safest way? Read the post to find out what, and why! | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Dog car travel, puppy car travel, dog behavior | #dogtraining, #newpuppy, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

The driver needs to focus on the road, not be distracted by a dog licking his ear, or hanging out of the window, or be worried about whether the puppy has got his paw caught in the strap again …

In the event of an accident, rescuers need to be able to help the people in the car, and the dog too. Not easy with a loose - or tethered - terrified, injured dog.

There is also the danger of the dog escaping from the car in an accident. Dogs have been lost for ever this way.

Now to the types of restraint you can use. You have to balance safety, convenience, and budget. But will the convenience and the money-saving be worth it if something bad happens? You'll see that all these methods specifically exclude dog-on-lap, dog bouncing from front to back of the car, dog on parcel shelf, dog hanging out of window, and so on.

Car crate

  • Crates must be restrained or fixed in some way
  • Crates can be removed to free up space when you’re transporting other things - even people, perhaps!
  • Much better for carsick dogs as the mess stays in the crate
  • Reduced danger of injury
  • No need to release dog when you leave the car
  • Easier to allow proper ventilation and protection from heat/cold
  • If your dog has never been in a crate, you must teach him first in the house. Here’s a good method 

Loose crate

  • An airline crate is good and well-ventilated
  • Metal crates for the home are usually too rattly, and too flimsy to give any protection
  • Fabric crates - dogs can overheat in these. And your dog must be acclimatised to a fabric crate out of the car first. Not suitable for puppies.

Custom car crate

  • Best solution
  • Shouldn’t rattle
  • Will have escape hatch to the inside of the car in case you're rear-ended
  • You can have a hole to pass the lead through.
  • Can fit your car exactly without wasted space, possibly with storage space below or above

Tethering

  • Car harness - not suitable for puppies or wriggly, excitable, dogs
  • Don’t tether to a collar: this will cause stress and possibly injury
  • Tethering anywhere in the car: ensure dog can’t leap out and hang himself.
  • A car-sick dog will make an awful mess of your upholstery …

Dog Guard

  • The dog is restrained in one area of the car and can’t interfere with the driver. 
  • If the dog is small and the boot large, they have too much space to race and jump about.
  • Nothing to prevent them leaping out into the road as you raise the boot. 

Dogbox fixed to the towbar

  • The mind boggles at what will happen to your dog in the event of a car running into the back of yours …


As you can see, a custom crate is my preferred solution. Yes, they cost money. But so did my dogs. And the amount of love, care, and money that has gone into them since they arrived is massive. So what’s another few bob to keep them safe?

But who cares about the money? I want my dogs to be as safe as possible when I ask them to travel in my car. I provide approved protection for my human passengers, the least I can do is provide appropriate protection for my precious dogs!

 

My dog wants to be everyone's friend! 5 Ways to make walks easier

Edited and reprinted from positively.com with permission. This post hit the spot with thousands of readers when first published, so I thought you might enjoy it.

My Dog wants to be everyone’s friend! 5 ways to reduce frustration on walks | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #dogtraining, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com


I’ve come across a few instances lately of people actually being pulled off their feet - and in one case rendered unconscious! - when their dog saw another dog approaching and decided he either wanted to play with it, or to dive forwards barking to make it go away.

Whether this poor behaviour is from a fear reaction or an over-friendly one, the upshot is much the same. Broken noses are no fun. So, unsurprisingly, the treatment is also similar.

I have given you some techniques in It's Not the Dog, It's You to help specifically with fearful dogs. A lot of that information is useful for absolutely any dog, including those who don’t appear fearful. 

So, keeping those methods in mind, let’s focus here on the super-friendly, over-ebullient dog who is determined to have a party with every dog or person he sees.

Picture the scene: owner is happily walking along the road, with dog on lead. Dog spots another dog! Hallelujah! Dog stands up on hind legs squealing with excitement before plunging forward with shrieks and barks towards the other dog.

It’s no use waiting till this is happening to try and change things. A knee-jerk response is not likely to do anything at all to help. Everything that needs to be changed has to be done beforehand, at home, in your kitchen, just you and your dog.

So let’s have a look now at what we can do to change this, before any more bones are broken.

1. What the Well-Dressed Dog is Wearing

If your dog is wearing a collar, then this is giving him terrific power to haul you along. Think where the collar goes on a horse in harness - right over the shoulders. Using the strongest part of a quadruped’s body - the rear legs and haunches - the horse or the dog can get great traction, to shift that heavy cart, or to pull you face down on the road.

Does your dog want to play with every dog he sees? Find out 5 ways to change this, for happier walks all round | FREE EMAIL COURSE | Reactive dog, problem dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | #dogtraining, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

When a dog is straining into a collar and tight lead, his body language is distorted. His eagerness can appear aggressive - this sends the wrong message to the object of his attentions.

The stress on the throat can also cause physical damage - and in the first place it'll serve only to wind your dog up more!

Pulling backwards against this power is fruitless. At best you’ll have an undignified retreat with you hauling your dog backwards, screaming. The dog will be screaming - but you may be too by this stage!

You need to teach your dog to respond to the lead, and turn of his own volition. Instead of a ten-ton block of frantic barking and scrabbling paws, you get a quizzical look from your dog as he turns and trots towards you. Really!

So the first move would be to investigate a no-pull harness. This is the one that I recommend.**  

One that attaches front and back will be the most effective. Good ones have an almost magical effect on even the most determined pullers. The harness needs to be comfortable to wear.

I would not use a headcollar for a “frustrated greeter” which is who we’re talking about here. If your dog is fighting to get the thing off his nose (most dogs hate them, unless slowly and carefully acclimatised) this is going to increase his level of frustration till he may possibly lash out (“redirect”) onto the nearest leg or hand. That would be your leg or hand. Ouch.

2. Loose Lead Walking, if taught well, is a trick

For your dog to walk close to you, keeping his nose level with your leg, he has to focus and concentrate. It’s not something that your dog will learn overnight - it runs counter to his natural desire to weave and run all over the place. 

The best force-free trainers make this exercise a game which the dog enjoys playing. Trying to frogmarch your dog along on a tight lead while yapping commands at him is not fun at all, for either of you!

The key is to have the lead loose, so that your dog can make a free choice where to walk. This may seem counter-intuitive to you, but it really does work very well when you’re in partnership with your dog as opposed to being his prison guard.

Once you have this skill, you can ask for this circus trick of trotting beside you, looking at you, when you need to distract your dog. If your history of rewarding him is great enough, he’ll be happy to oblige.

3. Impulse Control

We all have to learn impulse control. As children we have to learn to fit into society by containing our impulses and being able to wait patiently. This ability to delay gratification has been proven to be an indicator of a high achiever.

Your dog can be a high achiever too!

See Leave It! How to teach Amazing Impulse Control to your Brilliant Family Dog for a teaching method. Once he understands this skill, waiting politely should become his default behaviour - there’s no need to keep telling him to “leave it”.

And though the quickest way to teach this is with food, it isn’t just about leaving food. It’s about exercising self-control in the face of any temptation - bolting through the door, leaping out of the car, snatching something he wants ....

4. You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours

If you do this for me, then I’ll do that for you, aka the Premack Principle. If, as a child, I demanded something I wanted, The Adult would say “What’s the magic word?” Asking for it again, but adding “please” this time, had the desired effect.

Your dog’s equivalent of the magic word can be a Sit, or Eye Contact, or just plain Silence! So when he starts agitating about something he wants, you can ask him “What do you think you should do now?” Wait for him to stop belly-aching and give you a sit, or look at you, or stop whingeing, then you can give him what he wants.

Don’t tell him what to do - let him work it out!

You probably already do this when you offer a treat - your dog may only get it if he sits. So extend it now - to everything your dog wants!

  • Your dog pulls towards the verge: “You want to sniff that grass?” Wait for a polite response then you can say, “Go sniff!”
  • He scrabbles at your knee: “You want to sit on my lap?” When he sits and gazes meaningfully at you, you can say “Hup!”
  • He wails with excitement when he sees a friend: “You want to say hello to this person?” When he gives you his attention for a moment you can say, “Go say hi!”

Before long, seeing the person or dog in the street will be a cue to your dog to focus on you to ask for permission to greet. You may or may not give this permission, of course, but you can certainly reward his polite asking.

5. Distance is Your Friend

Never forget Distance! If he’s unable to stop squealing and diving, get further away and ask him again: “You want to say hello to that person?”

How much further away? 20 yards? 40 yards? 100 yards? Whatever it takes! When he’s able to focus and engage in rational conversation with you, then maybe - just maybe - he’ll be able to hold it all together while he gets closer to the object of his desire.

He can’t? Then he doesn’t get any closer.

Get Frustration out of the Picture

You can see that these five suggestions have a common thread: giving control back to your dog.

I don’t want to spend the rest of my days trying to control my dogs (or my children): I want them to control themselves!

Nothing is as frustrating as feeling you are a helpless victim who is not heard or heeded. 

Empowering your dog by giving him strategies to get what he wants leads to a happy co-existence which you can both enjoy.

 

 

 

If your dog is fearful - and appears aggressive - rather than frustrated,

come along to our free 5-Day Video Mini-Course and blow your mind!
 

 

 

 


Resources

** Harnesses: 
www.goodfordogs.co.uk/products I supply the Wiggles Wags and Whiskers Freedom Harness in the UK and Europe. If you buy from me I will benefit, but you won’t pay any more!

2houndsdesign.com for the rest of the world.

Leave It! How to teach Amazing Impulse Control to your Brilliant Family Dog

Let’s Go! Enjoy Companionable Walks with your Brilliant Family Dog

It’s Not the Dog, It’s You!

Compliance depends upon consistency, not just marshmallows!

 

 


 

All text and images © Copyright 2018 Beverley Courtney