Keeping Fido Safe on Summer Vacation

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If Fido is traveling along on the family vacation, a bit of training and a few safeguards will promote happy trails and wagging tails. Paul Owens' DVD, "The Dog Whisperer, Vol. 2: Solving Common Behavior Problems for Puppies and Dogs," teaches housetraining and crate training; gives solutions for nipping and biting, bolting out the door, chewing and destruction; and also gives valuable tips for dog safety.

2-Disc DVD: The Dog Whisperer, Vol. 2: Solving Common Behavior Problems for Puppies and Dogs featuring original Dog Whisperer Paul Owens

With high gas prices, many families will be staying closer to home this summer and driving to vacation spots instead of jetting off to distant locales. If Fido is traveling along on your summer vacation, master dog trainer and bestselling author Paul Owens suggests that a bit of training and a few safeguards will promote happy trails and wagging tails.

Owens says, "Even a well-trained dog can be off his mark when he's in a different situation. A new environment is a new context--so even behaviors that are second nature in familiar settings can be off-putting and normally reliable behavior may go by the wayside in moments of stress. A dog who doesn't chew on the furniture at home may find that sofa cushion in the hotel room irresistible. A dog that normally stays close to you may suddenly bolt when challenged by some new sight or sound. And even a dog who has never bitten anyone could suddenly be over-stimulated and respond to a perceived threat by biting."

Here are a few of Owens' vacation travel tips:

  • Prepare a doggie travel pack to include: leash, toys, favorite chewies, sufficient food, bottled water, necessary medications, favorite bed or blanket, and a first-aid kit.
  • Get specially designed doggy seat belts and make it a habit of buckling him in whenever riding in a car.
  • If you need to leave Fido in the hotel room when you go out to dinner or another event, exercise him before you go so he has less energy while you're gone. A crate may be in order to keep him and the room safe. However, if you plan to kennel or crate your dog, it's very important he is used to and enjoys staying in a crate by himself before you use one on your vacation. Never crate a dog unless he's acclimated to the crate. If he has separation anxiety or chews things and he isn't comfortable in a crate, have someone stay with him.

Owens says the number one way to avoid having vacation problems with your dog is prevention. "Anticipate the problem before it happens and keep your dog away from trouble. This means properly using leashes and crates, keeping forbidden objects out of chewing range, giving your dog something else to do to keep him occupied, and keeping him safe. Make sure his vaccinations are up-to-date, don't walk him in hot weather and always feel the pavement or sand with your hand to be sure it's not too hot so your dog's paws don't get burned, have plenty of water available, never leave him unattended in the car, and avoid unclean parks and other areas where he might be injured by broken glass or other animals."

Owens is often referred to as the ''original'' Dog Whisperer because his book (1999) and first DVD (2004) were both released before the National Geographic Television series with the same title.

His newest DVD, The Dog Whisperer, Vol. 2, Solving Common Behavior Problems for Puppies and Dogs, teaches housetraining and crate training; gives solutions for nipping and biting, bolting out the door, chewing and destruction; and also gives valuable tips for dog safety. It will go a long way toward preventing as well as solving problems at home and when you travel with your dog.

Lastly, it's important to stay positive and have fun and not coddle your dog in new situations. Dogs feed off our emotions and stress. Staying upbeat and having fun is what vacations are all about.

Owens' DVD is available at Amazon.com, leading retailers, and at http://www.DogWhispererDVD.com

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Norma Eckroate
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