holiday with dogs

Holiday with dogs

Just after a Christmas each year, we try and get away with our kids, to slow down a little, refresh, reflect and breathe.

K9Pro is super busy all the time and breaks like this just allow me to change the pace a little and let off the gas pedal, so to speak.

We had planned to travel to the Sunshine Coast, a bit of a drive from our reality and a beautiful location.

We brought our Labrador puppy from our Herzhund E litter, Herzhund Extra Nutella Please.

He is only five months old, so this is not like travelling with our mature, trained dogs.

He may need more management and attention than they would, but this is an educational opportunity for him. So very worthwhile, and although it may be a small impact on our holiday, it will provide so much return for us and Tella, it was very worthwhile.

A great “return for investment” you might say.

holiday with dogs

A while ago we bought a large family caravan so I could spend more time with my kids. We do still travel overseas on holidays but this gives us a chance to see and explore Australia and also to spend our holiday dollars in the land we make them.

We fitted out the back of our car with a secure dog transport crate and this is where Tella travels with us.

He is safe and inside the car with us, his space is air conditioned too.

When we set up our van he has his place bed and a crate to help manage him too.

He came everywhere with us and I experienced something I have to describe as “bittersweet”.

First, the sweet.

Tella as we call him has been in training with my wife Alison since before 8 weeks, we bred him after all.

She has really focused on his life skills, teaching him how to behave appropriately.

My wife is not a dog trainer, she manages the business.

YES she is using my training programs, but NO I am not training him at all.

She has focused on just 6 simple things which we call LIFE SKILLS. 
Check out the video below.

Bite trained working line Malinois

Tella walked through very busy markets, past dogs both wanting to be friends and lunging at him aggressively, people cooing and calling him, even when he was being good, a change of environment daily when travelling, relaxing at cafes and restaurants and taking it all in his stride.

No leash pulling, no over excitement, no barking or whinging and NO PROBLEMS!

Which means no reason we would not take him again.

The bitter is that I saw thousands of dogs on our trip and with the exception of two ladies I saw at the beach car park, who had 5 or 6 dogs with them all under control, just about every dog I saw was horribly behaved.

The two ladies who had the pack of dogs who were well behaved were near the dog wash area at the beach car park. All their dogs, of many different breeds were off leash and stayed when asked whilst they washed their dogs.

When they were leaving I said “it is refreshing to see well trained dogs, well done!”.

The other dogs we encountered though, lunging and barking to get to Tella, dragging their owners towards him and making owners give the “he is friendly” speech.

Some were not at all interested in Tella, which was nice, but they completely ignored their owners too, ignoring being re called, whistled and bribed in favour of anything they pleased.

Busy markets

Now I am quite used to this, given my profession so it wasn’t a big deal to me, but I did look at the people who did not have dogs and were watching these displays.

I was watching the people who were watching the dogs. They were annoyed, agitated and generally pissed off and tolerating or barely tolerating the existence of these dogs in their space.

And I hate to say this but. I could see why.

Having your dog at a cafe is a privilege. Cafe owners and managers certainly want your business so they allow your dog, but not at the cost of other customers who will not return because of your dog’s behaviour.

Any time we wanted to have lunch or dinner with Tella, I asked if it was ok and assured them that he would be no trouble.

Most of the people I asked were delightfully surprised I asked. They all brought Tella a bowl of water and smiled as he remained calm and in a down whilst we ate.

I call this common courtesy and the worst reply I got was that I was asked if I could make sure he didn’t try and steal anyone’s else’s food.

Imagine the difference between being welcomed everywhere with your dog and invited back and being driven off with your dog, came down to just 6 things.

6 things that my non dog trainer wife has mastered with a 5 month old puppy!

holiday with dogs
Dogs walk past, people, food dropped, he remains like this.

And in public it is not even that many, loose leash walking and a long down would probably see you welcomed back to a café every time and other diners smiling at your well behaved dog!

Two things!

Tella stayed with us without being restrained, he walks through highly stimulating environments without more than a look and mild interest.

Saying it again, 5 months old.

Here are some things that you need to change if you don’t want people being annoyed at your dog in public.

Teach your dog manners and train them to display them in public, your dog may be fine at home, or he or she may not be, but dogs also need to be trained how to cope and behave under distraction.

Stop letting your dog drag you to other people and dogs. Smiling and rolling your eyes saying “she just wants to say hi” does not excuse this rude behaviour. To dog trainers, it makes you look ridiculous the general public probably worse.

If your dog will not immediately recall, don’t let him or her off leash. It is against the law. Use a long line to help develop your dog’s recall. Calling your dog and your dog ignoring you is teaching your dog he or she doesn’t have to come.

If your dog will lunge and bark at other dogs or some people, stop taking him or her to cafes but instead get help. Your dog is rehearsing an unacceptable behaviour. Dogs could come with us to Bunnings until people were bitten by dogs that were known to be aggressive. Now its muzzled or Managers discretion.

Stop making excuses for your dog’s behaviour, your dog is being judged on the behaviour you have or haven’t taught them.

People who do not want your dog around fall into one of two groups.

A: intolerant people who don’t like dogs at all.
B: people who are annoyed at your dog’s behaviour.

You can’t do much about the people in group A, but make sure you are not creating group B.

Anyone who knows me or is around me for a short amount of time know how much I love dogs, but the constant stream of over indulged, poorly educated dogs I saw was disturbing, upsetting and sad for the dogs. 

When my wife’s puppy was the best behaved dog I saw over 4000 kms of travel and thousands of dogs, there is a major problem.

Tella was not a nose in front, he was only one that looked like he had any training at all except for the ladies at the beach I saw.

My 9 year old daughter walking Tella in public

Most owners of these badly behaved dogs just seemed to either sigh and except it or excuse it.

She is just a puppy” said one lady of an at least 3 year old GSP.

He just has to say hello or he won’t stop” to which I replied “then he won’t stop because he ain’t saying hello”. They were then highly offended that I too would not indulge their dogs lunging, screaming and pulling.

We have come to the beach to socialise our dog so he wants to play with yours.” Socialising is NOT playing.

As time passed, I got less and less tolerant.

Parent says to her young child, “its ok go over and pat the dog”, without asking us if it was ok, is the dog ok with children, do we mind?

Lady with lunging snarling Poodle dragging her towards me, “he will sniff and figure out who is boss then he will be fine”.

Me: “Nope, on your way

Lady ties her two Spaniels to a post, they are barking and lunging to get to her, other dogs, other people, the water and god knows what else.

I am staring at her, as everyone else was, as she was sitting 10 feet from them. She reassured us her “trainer” had told her to ignore bad behaviour.

Ignore often means DO NOTHING.

Next minute they are fighting, out of sheer frustration on the back tie. Now she runs over and starts smacking them…

Here is a thought, if you take your dog to the dog friendly beach and YOU interact with your dog, YOU play with your dog and his or her only interaction with other dogs might be a quick sniff and move on with you, this will teach your dog that areas with lots of off leash dogs are environments where he or she should look to YOU for fun.

You will never have a recall problem when your dog thinks your the best.

People, including me are getting OVER sensitive about being approached by out of control, non-responsive dogs.

This happens because we are met with loads of out of control dogs, it didn’t come from nowhere!

Beach recalls, dogs people around.

We have so few places we can take our dogs these days, these restrictions come from Councils and governments responding to complaints and events in which dogs have behaved in ways that has seen them removed from these areas.

By placating your dogs every wish and overindulging their every desire, you are contributing to the reasons that dogs will be banned from all public places at some point.

Yes, we all love our dogs, but seriously the level of atrocious behaviour was astounding.

If you’re working on it, then that’s fine, dog behaviour changes over time, there are no instant miracles and I am not talking about you in this article.

I’m talking about those who accept it as ok, who have given up trying to change their dogs behaviour and the worst of all, those who feel their dog is entitled…

When I grew up, there were no “child friendly resorts”, “adults only restaurants, pools etc” because children behaved. Kids were allowed everywhere, often seen and not heard was the unspoken rule.

Imagine, and I really hope this day never comes, but imagine you were given three months to get your dog’s behaviour under good control, or you would lose your dog.

After the impact of this situation has passed…

How hard would you train?

What would you do?

Do that now.

6 things, or less, surely your dog is worth that?

Most of my programs, even rehab programs may only need 15 minutes training with the owner a day.

You don’t have to be a dog trainer or live on the field, get the right help and don’t stop.

We can help you, success is a journey not a destination, come and let us get your dog just as good if not better than Tella!

I am not flaunting our training here, I am hopefully motivating you to get out there and teach your best friend to behave in a way that makes everyone love him or her just as much as you do.

Love to hear your thoughts and feel free to share this article.

Below is a 3 minute video of Mr Herzhund Extra Nutella Please over the weeks we were away, enjoy!

About SteveK9Pro

Steve Courtney is a Nationally Accredited Canine Behaviour Specialist, Obedience Trainer, Law Enforcement Dog Trainer and ANKC Breeder. Steve has been training dogs all his life and in these articles he shares with you his experience...

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One comment

  1. Oh too true. We travel with our dogs, whom you have seen, fairly often and get constant remarks on how well behaved they are yet we are often confronted by other dogs who bark and lunge at them. My all time favorite, the poodle owners who were having their arms pulled out of their sockets every time we saw them loudly saying “viscous dogs” to my GSD and GSDx who were sitting calmly at my side, alert but not responding at all to their dog. Fourth time I said “your dog is the problem and you have no control. Train your d.. dog”. If children come up to my dogs and don’t ask to approach I say “Stop. You must always ask before you pat a dog” then explain and demonstrate how to greet a dog. Most parents are ok with this if they are not too bad.

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