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Planning on doing some traveling with your dog?
Whether this may be by car, train, plane or anything else, these training tips will help to make the journey go so much more smoothly.
MASTER BASIC OBEDIENCE
Traveling with your dog instantly becomes so much less stressful if your dog has some basic obedience skills.
What Exactly is Basic Obedience?
It refers to the essential commands that every dog owner should teach their dog.
The list includes:
The first few commands on that list are ones that most dogs out there know. However, it's the last command in particular that you should focus on before traveling with your dog.
The Settle Command
So, why is the settle command especially important when traveling with your dog?
Because, no matter how you may be traveling or where you may be traveling to, there will always come a point when you need your pooch to just lie down and relax.
There are several ways to teach your dog the settle command. One of the easiest is by saying your cue word, such as “settle”, every time your dog settles on his own, and then rewarding him for this. Make sure that your dog remains settled until you say your release word, such as “okay”.
As you continue to do this, your dog will soon learn the connection between the action of settling down and the command itself, meaning that he will then be able to settle on cue.
Once you have mastered this command at home, make sure that you practice it in busier places with more distractions, such as train stations, shopping malls and restaurants.
Is your dog able to go to the bathroom on command?
This may sound a little militant, but it is quite an important skill to teach your pooch if you plan on traveling with your dog.
Unless you are traveling by car, there are likely to be long stretches in your journey during which time your pup would need to hold his bladder. If you get the chance to take your dog out for a bathroom break, you need to make sure that he will actually go to the bathroom, rather than waste those few minutes sniffing around.
How Do You Teach a Dog to Go to the Bathroom on Command?
This is actually quite an easy one...
Keep a jar of treats near your door. Every time you send your dog out to go to the bathroom, keep an eye on him and wait until he is just about to go. Then, say your cue word, such as “go bathroom”, and give him a reward as soon as he's done.
Those steps will require quite a bit of repetition, but your dog will soon associate the command with the action required.
CRATE AND HARNESS TRAINING
When traveling with your dog, you need to have some form of control. This would usually be in the form of a harness and leash, or a crate.
Of course, the method you choose does depend on your mode of transportation. While a leash and harness may be enough for a car or train journey, you may be required to crate your pooch when traveling with your dog on a plane.
Harness Training Your Dog
Harness training a dog is pretty easy, especially if your dog loves walks.
Begin by measuring your dog and making sure you get a harness that fits. Comfort for your dog is key here! The harness should also not affect your dog's gait and range of motion.
Then, when introducing your dog to the harness for the first time, have plenty of treats and praise available. Keep treating and praising as you place the harness onto your dog.
Allow your dog to wear the harness around the house for a while. Then, attach a leash to the harness and let your dog go outside, with the leash trailing behind him.
You can then start to pick up the leash and lead your dog around.
Crate Training Your Dog
Your dog needs to think of his crate as a safe and happy place.
Begin by making the crate comfortable and inviting.
Then, start feeding your dog his meals inside his crate. The same applies for any snacks or treats you give your dog during the day.
Try to encourage your dog to spend more time in the crate, and praise him whenever he goes into his crate on his own.
Once your dog is comfortable inside the crate, shut the door and keep it shut for a minute or so. Then, open it and let your dog out, giving him plenty of praise.
Keep doing this, extending the amount of time you shut your dog in the crate for.
It won't be long before your dog is happy and comfortable in his crate for extended periods of time.
Of course, keep in mind that you should never leave a dog in a crate for more than a few hours a day.
Planning on traveling with your dog by plane?
It would be worth taking your dog to the airport, in his crate, beforehand. This will allow him to get used to the many sights and sounds around him, as there will be so much new stimuli for your pooch to soak up.
Doing this will help to prevent your dog from feelings stressed on your actual day of travel. Make sure that you keep things calm for your dog, giving him enough time to adjust to his surroundings.
Traveling with your dog can be such a fun experience, but you do need to make sure that you have some training under your belt in order to make the journey stress-free. A well-trained dog will be so much more receptive to the traveling experience, and the two of you will be able to make some long-lasting memories together.