We are pleased to be co-hosting the 5th WOOF blog hop along with Oz the Terrier. WOOF (Working Out Our Fears) Support is where reactive dogs and their owners can come together to share similar experiences. Are you a reactive and/or fearful dog or its owner? We’d love to hear your story! This month’s theme is: Traveling with a Reactive Dog. Whether your travels take you all over the country, your state or just your neighborhood, tell us how you cope while traveling with your reactive dog. The Blog Hop is open through Sunday.
My hubby and I don’t really travel a lot; it’s rare that we leave New England. On the occasions that we do travel further, we don’t take the dogs with us. Even our closer getaways don’t involve the dogs. My hubby feels that in order for us to really be able to relax, we should leave the dogs at home (with a sitter). We have a fenced in yard where it’s easy to take care of them, and if we go places without that, it’s actually more work for us to leash them up to take them out for their potty breaks. Plus we’re just not sure about leaving them behind if we wanted to go out to dinner or something. But part of the reason we don’t travel as much is because I hate leaving the dogs behind; I miss them so much. I’m trying to convince him to let us take the dogs on our next trip.
First we have work to do. Cricket is not only leash reactive, she’s fearful of riding in the car. I had told you in our last WOOF post that we planned to try the Anxiety Wrap on her to deal with some of those fears and maybe even to get her to relax on walks. We didn’t have much luck: I tried it on her for car rides and she was still shaking and panting. At first I thought she was better but that only lasted a few minutes. I haven’t given up on it completely, but I’m feeling discouraged about that tool.
For now we work on our travels around the neighborhood, and we also take short drives to get to some other trails as well. I’m hoping she’ll get more used to the riding that way. One thing I’ve learned with Cricket now is that running (jogging) is really great for her. She seems so much more relaxed when we jog than when we only walk! I’m not sure why but some of my thoughts are: 1) I’m keeping up with her pace better. She’s a fast walker and a puller, but if I’m jogging she isn’t pulling at all. 2) Jogging seems to give her more of a purpose, perhaps she feels more like she’s doing something constructive.
Even when we slow down to a walk, she seems more relaxed and isn’t pulling. She’s even stopping to sniff things like most beagles do! She has rarely done that in the past, she is all about go, go, go, when we’re out. Just this week I got a SnapLeash to try (review coming soon) and this can be used as a hands free leash. It went really well using it that way with Cricket. I was afraid I’d feel less in control of her but that wasn’t the case at all. It was almost like she felt more relaxed without my constant tension on the leash, but we’ll need more time with it to know for sure.
We had another positive experience on our street when we were out on a run a few weeks ago. We had just left the rail trail and headed up towards home when I heard someone behind us. It was two women on horses! I immediately expected the worst of Cricket, and we picked up our pace but couldn’t stay ahead of them. I looked back and told them that I wasn’t sure how she would be, and they said not to worry, the horses would be fine with her. I thought sure Cricket would be afraid of them and start barking, so we crossed the street to let them pass. She was so good! She started to woof just a little bit and I told her no, and she stopped right off, and just watched them go by. I was so pleased!
I feel the key to lessening Cricket’s reactivity is getting her to relax when we’re out and about. We’re making progress here, but I have to be honest, she hasn’t really been put to the test. We haven’t run into any other dogs, on or off leash, lately. I’m the one that needs to get brave and get her out to places to meet other dogs. If you read my post last Friday about what happened when walking Luke and our neighbor’s dog coming running at us, you’ll understand that I’m wondering if that would have gone differently if I’d had Cricket and not Luke.
For now I’m continuing to work with Cricket, and also working on my husband, and maybe next year when Luke is a bit older I’ll talk him into taking the dogs on a trip. I’ve recently been hearing more and more people who do find places to take their dogs where they have fenced in yards for them. I think it would be great for the dogs and it’s something to look forward to. A change of scenery could be good for all of us!
Do you travel with your dogs, and what special things have you done to prepare them for it?
2 brown dawgs says
I think you are on the right track. We really only travel with our pets…lol. OK once in a while we leave one or two home but normally we all go together. Of course we have out cabin which helps them to have a familiar place to go to.
I really do miss the days when we had our camper parked at a campground for the season, it was so much fun taking the dogs there (Kobi and Maggie at the time). I wish we had a place like a cabin to go to!
Small Dogs says
This is so heart warming Jan. Walking with our pets is so basic but it’s a very relaxing feeling right?
It definitely is! And there’s no better way to clear the mind either!
Cricket does look very happy in those pictures. You should feel good that some progress is being made… even if some of the tools haven’t been effective.
We got a SnapLeash too. I’m looking forward to your review. So far, I’m not sure how best to use it. Hands free might not work so well with the big dogs. I used to use a double-ended leash with a Halti and harness, but I’m not using a Halti anymore.
It’s my feeling that not every tool is going to work with every dog, so even though we have high hopes for each one, sometimes we just have to try different things.
I don’t think hands free will work that great with the bigger dogs….unless they are really mellow about walking (which mine aren’t). But I have some other ideas on ways the SnapLeash might come in handy, which I’ll be experimenting with.
Sheba's Life Story says
Sheba’s great at traveling in the car and is nice and relaxed until she spots a dog through the window than all hell breaks loose, It sounds like Cricket is making great progress.
Thank you….we just keep working on it, right, and we don’t give up! Progress can be slow but at least it comes. Hopefully you can find a solution for your car riding too.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Sorry to hear the anxiety wrap didn’t work well for her in the car. How about a vari kennel? Is there room for that in your car with her bed or blankets so she can’t see out as much? I hope you do find a place that takes dogs and enjoy a vacation with them. I love taking my dogs with me on vacation, mostly we go to canada each year and take them with and we all have a ball. I don’t do anything special since they are riding in the car from day one so they are pretty much used to it.
We could definitely fit a kennel in our car, but she’s not used to them. I still might try it though and just see how she does. Sometimes she wants to hide on the floor of the vehicle, so that could be a sign she’d like to be enclosed.
At least Luke is great about riding, and Sheba doesn’t love it but she does OK. So we don’t have to worry about those two.
Jackie Bouchard says
Rita is coming along on our next trip… hopefully it will go well! Luckily she loves to ride in the car. The things I’m worried about are running into strange dogs who are off-leash (in our own ‘hood, I know where to walk to avoid the loose dogs are the fence-runners) and about her barking at every strange noise and annoying the neighbors. Going to bring along some Rescue Remedy and some really good treats, try to tire her out every day, and hope for the best!
Jackie Bouchard says
BTW, I meant to say – that’s great that Cricket is doing so well. Sounds like that new leash is really working well for her. I’d be nervous to try something like that with Rita, but sounds like it’s working for you guys!
I can’t wait to hear how it goes with Rita! It sounds like you have a good plan in place.
I think you have to have the right dog or dogs to do hands free. I tried it a bit with Luke and I definitely wasn’t comfortable with it with him. Once he has more training, maybe. But my hope is really to be able to walk more than one dog at once, and the hands free could definitely help with that too.
We used to travel with Sally and Tino all the time and it was easy peasy – they both loved it and they were both really well behaved. Not so much anymore with these two, although Big Bear went so well, we can now do more!
We just have to get brave enough to do a trial run, right? We used to always travel with our dogs, we camped a lot, until we got up to four and then we stopped. That’s one of the reasons I’d like to keep the crew down to no more than 3, so we can start doing more with them again.
Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes says
Until Honey, I’ve always had reactive dogs and I’ve enjoyed traveling with them.
Do you mind if I share a link to a post I wrote a few years ago? http://www.somethingwagging.com/can-you-vacation-with-a-reactive-dog-without-pooping-in-the-woods/. I outlined tips that have helped me enjoy traveling with my dogs.
And tell your sweetie it was perfectly relaxing, even with the dogs along.
It’s terrific that you’re finding new ways to help Cricket relax on a walk. It sounds like the jogging is really helpful.
Maybe we’ll be hearing about new adventures with her soon.
Of course, I didn’t mind at all, Pamela, and thank you for sharing that link….there was a lot of great information in that post, and I will definitely be referring back to it when we’re ready to travel!
I hope to be sharing adventures in the future….and I will let my hubby know that it can be relaxing too!
That is a good positive thing!! Have you tried crating her in the car? I’m not sure how that would work, but if she feels safe in her crate….or how about a booster seat? http://www.solvitproducts.com/page/info/booster-seats Maybe not being able to move around would make her feel better?
We vacation with our dogs (mostly because I have no-one reliable to leave them with) but last year on the llama farm was awesome, the yard was fenced in and a decent size. And it was very reasonably priced.
I remember your story about the llama farm and I think that’s the first one that got me thinking maybe we could take the dogs places. Eventually my sister may not be able to always help us out, so we may not have a choice anyway, if we want to get away at all.
Cricket has never been crated…we tried it when she was a puppy but she cried so much we couldn’t stand it. But I may look into that booster seat, thank you for sharing that!
Pepper usually barks at other animals too. She isn’t afraid of horses, but she is curious about them. She always wants to go in the horse’s area when we visit my sister, but I don’t let her (for her own safety since she is so small).
Our very first dog chased the horses that were across the street at the time! I think she just wanted to play, and we didn’t realize she had left the yard until the neighbors came over (we were new at having dogs and naïve). We were just grateful she didn’t get hurt. I just had no idea how Cricket would react and didn’t want her to scare the horses!
Lara Elizabeth says
Boca is proving herself to be really calm and adaptable – she would be easy to travel with but I would feel so bad to leave Ruby behind! It is also difficult to find care for Ruby since she is such a challenge to walk. It sounds like you are making progress with Cricket and I hope you will get to travel with her some day!
I’ve also considered just taking one dog, since there are three we could do that, but I just wondered if they would miss each other and if that would make them even more nervous. Thank you, maybe we’ll get there one day!
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Lexus is fearful of vehicles as well, but the other two LOVE going for a car ride! It’s not entirely easy to get around with 3 dogs so I know how you feel. I think you are doing great, keep it up.
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Thanks, Jenna! As much as I love having three dogs, it was easier to go places with only one or two. When we got up to 4 dogs, we just stopped taking them many places, and that’s probably part of the reason Cricket doesn’t like riding…..we just don’t do it enough.
I haven’t taken Sage with us on any long trips, but she does great on a 2-hour trip to the coast. Fortunately, riding in the car is no problem for her.
Our puppy Luke loves to ride; Sheba doesn’t love it but she lies down and at least seems relaxed. Our coast is over two hours away but that’s one place I would love to take them!
Oz the Terrier says
Oh, it is a shame the dogs do not go with you on some of your trips. Ma and Daddy-dog find it quite fun to have me along…even if I do bark my fool head off at other dogs for no reason (that they can discern). Great work on Cricket! Maybe the jogging is giving her purpose as well as providing mental exercise (not just physical) which could be why she is more relaxed?!? Ma is finding that after a bike ride (with me riding in my bike basket) I am a little less reactive…I met two new dogs over the past week while on a leash and did not react at all.
*high paws* to you and Cricket
Good for you, Oz, that’s great news! I think the jogging is definitely more stimulating for Cricket mentally, and maybe less frustrating for her since she’s not always looking back or feeling me tug on the leash when she’s pulling.
When I see all the fun things you do and places you go with your family, it does look so fun for everyone! We used to camp with our previous dogs and did so much more and I miss that.
We travel quite a bit, but with three dogs it is much more difficult. Two is about the max Mom says for easy travel. We also are different dogs when we run. We don’t get as crazy when we see critters, and we run in a heal position almost all the time without ever being asked. Mom says running with dogs is the best.
That’s so interesting, Emma, and good to know it’s probably not my imagination that Cricket is so better running than walking.
I think two dogs is pretty ideal for traveling too (when we had two we took them camping almost every weekend), if we only had two we might not hesitate.
Ann Staub says
I can imagine how difficult it would be to travel with that many dogs. I don’t travel, so I really don’t have anywhere to take Shiner. Vacation wise anyways. Good work by the way Cricket!
Cricket says thank you, Ann! 🙂 When we only had two dogs, we took them camping all the time, and it was a lot of fun. But we stopped traveling with them once we were up to four. Three might be do-able, but I’m still not sure!