A lot of people with reactive dogs feel as though they have limited options when it comes to traveling with their furry friends.
-No busy cities or tourist spots
-No public stays such as hotels
-No way am I taking my dog on “vacation” when time away from home with them is anything but relaxing.
But the one thing I’ve been pretty diligent about is making sure I include Rufus in as many activities as possible, which has included his fair share of trips and vacations.
Over the weekend, we took Rufus out of town with us. I knew this would be a great opportunity to work on his reactivity. And with the right tools, it was pretty stress-free.
We stayed in a very pet-friendly hotel. And because they were so accommodating, we actually had a personal entrance so that we wouldn’t have to walk through the main lobby. However, we did run into other dog owners and I’m proud to report this dude did pretty well with all of our encounters.
My two tools:
- Lots of treats
- Head halter/gentle leader
That’s it. It has been years since I’ve used the head collar on him and wow! I can’t believe how wonderfully it worked this time around. Having control at that level made it so easy to get his attention and gently correct him when he was getting too excited. It was kind of like magic. Honestly, I feel silly that I waited so long to try this again. It’s a total game changer! He was calm, relaxed, and willing to work the entire weekend.
And at the end of every day, he was pooped. He wasn’t sweatin’ it.
I know I’m lucky that Rufus is incredibly motivated by food. He will LITERALLY do anything for a nibble. It makes life and training so much easier.
And while we still have a long way to go, I have to say that I couldn’t have asked for more from this amazing dude. I love traveling with him and he made our trip so much more memorable. After all, he is my best friend.
Good boy, Rufus.
There are a lot of reasons why we as dog owners/parents/caretakers sometimes allow ourselves to slack on training.
Sometimes life gets hard or hectic.
Sometime we get lazy.
Sometimes we work with other dogs all day and we forget we have a project pup at home…:cough:
Sometimes it’s easier to avoid our dog’s obstacles and triggers than it is to keep it up with hard work and consistency.
For whatever reason, sometimes we mess up. And while that’s completely fine in some behavioral cases, it really isn’t for Rufus.
I know he looks smug and confident, but he’s really a total wuss.
This dude thrives on repetition and positive association.
So after a few incidents in which I found myself avoiding situations or completely shocked by Ru’s reaction to a trigger, I decided to dust off the old “dog behavior” book pile and strap on the treat pouch. Time to get back to work.
The Cautious Canine outlines the most straight-forward approach to correcting unwanted behaviors rooted in fear. And for the most part, Ru’s behavioral quirks (to put it nicely…) are all rooted in fear. It’s a subtle fear, but it’s definitely there…
Here are our baby steps:
- Keep him a safe distance from his triggers and reward him for being brave and calm in those situations. In this case, that means FEED HIM ALLLL THE TREATS!
- Be consistent.
- Slowly shorten the distance from said triggers while continuing to build up his confidence and reward him for his progress.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it works! I plan on making this a mini-series and keeping all of you out there up to date on Ru-man’s progress. I hope you like this kind of stuff as much as I do. Dog behavior nerds unite!
Happy Healthy Dogs<3
Sometimes I really love my job.❤
P.S. Sorry for the radio silence lately. Sometimes life gets hard and self-care must come first. Rest assured I’m still lurking around and adoring all of my fellow dog bloggers from afar!😉
While I was slowly becoming the crazy dog lady that I am today, I didn’t know I could find so much joy in a beautifully well-made collar. There’s just something about finding the perfect collar for your dog that makes me waaaaay too happy. But oh well, right? I just roll with my weirdness.
I’ve tried a few Etsy stores now for dog supplies and I’ve been really happy with all of them. I love Etsy artists and I really love supporting small businesses. I mean, I kind of have one of those myself so it’s important to me to support my fellow entrepreneurs.
Very Vintage collars are a-dor-a-ble! They are organic and well-made. In fact, they even went out of their way to put a few custom details into the ones I ordered.
You may be wondering why in the world I ordered a “girl” collar? Well, I kind of thought my foster pup was going to last more than one day haha…
Luckily Abby was around to model this cute watermelon pattern. Also, I am not above making Rufus wear my favorite summer melon design either. He’s comfortable enough with his masculinity anyway. Such a dude.
Doesn’t he look dapper (and a tad drool-y) in the chevron pattern? The pop of red was totally my idea.
Behind the scenes of a dog photoshoot. They don’t work for free, folks!
But they sure look cute begging, don’t they?
Very Vintage has a ton of other options. I almost chose the pineapple one because…pineapple! I also really love the farmer’s market pattern and well, what PDX dweller wouldn’t love something with a bird on it??
Also, popsicles! Ok I’ll stop now.
If you’re interested in trying out a new shop for your pup’s fashion needs, I couldn’t recommend Very Vintage enough. The customer service was stellar and the shop owner was so kind and accommodating. I’ll definitely be ordering more in the future! Just try and stop me.
That head tilt though!
Ru’s favorite lady.
A walk in the park…
“Quit wasting my time with these photos, lady. I’ve got a neighborhood to patrol!”
All I need is my dog and the great outdoors. Oh, and like a handful of wonderful people…😉
…and a place to rest after all of that adventuring.
This is Rosa.
Rosa was actually in my home for less than 24 hours before she met her now forever family and swept them off their feet.
Now I don’t usually recommend doing introductions so quickly after a new pup comes into your home, but Rosa is of the happy-go-lucky velcro dog variety. She just wanted her people and I could see that immediately.
The adopters had a stellar application and an amazing setup for a dog like Rosa – a community of friends, a momma who stays at home with her two little kids, and a beautiful backyard. It was a no-brainer.
We had a great night getting to know this sweet girl and she became attached to me within the hour. Of course, now she can channel that passion into her forever family.
Even though it was short lived, I’m so happy I got to hang out with this beautiful soul. Happy trails, Miss Rosa.❤