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Summer Travel and Fun with Your Dog: Think Safety!

Summer is here, and it’s time to take that long-awaited trip with the family, which of course includes Fido! Before you go, here are a few important tips to remember.

Safety and Planning Tips:

1) It’s safer for everyone if your dog is securely fastened or confined during car trips. Consider a soft sided, easy to carry, collapsible crate safely secured in the car, or a dog vehicle harness with seat belt attachment or anchor.

Harnesses offer the advantage of allowing your dog to move, but not to the point of causing safety issues. Be sure to secure your dog in the backseat. Dogs can be seriously injured if you have an accident and an airbag deploys. The only harness to pass the Center for Pet Safety's (an independent non-profit organization) vehicle crash test was the Sleepypod Clickit Car Safety Harness. ALL of the others failed.

2) Microchip your dog prior to leaving home, and make sure his ID tag info is up-to-date and includes your cell phone number. You may also want to check out the new facial recognition app for locating Fido:

3) You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating! Never leave your dog in the car unattended. Temperatures can rise very rapidly in a short time and be life threatening.

4) Locate animal emergency clinics along your route ahead of time. A first aid kit that includes natural calmatives (for soothing an upset tummy and/or to relieve anxiety) also come in handy. Remember Murphy’s Law? For soothing an upset tummy, try Animals' Apawthecary Phytomucil, and for calming, try either Only Natural Pet Relaxi-herb, or Animals' Apawthecary Tranquility Blend. 

5) Does your dog love to hang his head out of the car and flap his ears in the breeze? Then it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of eye goggles to protect his eyes against flying dirt and debris. He will thank you and look WAY too cool all at the same time. (Think Snoopy WW1 flying Ace). Doggles work great! They provide 100% UV protection as well as protection from wind and flying debris. 

6) Bring a spill-proof water bowl (Outward Hound Port a bowl collapsible dog travel bowl, Cycle Dog collapsible dog travel bowl, and Dexas collapsible dog travel bowls), and plenty of fresh water.

7) Don't forget a few durable long-lasting chew toys to keep him happily occupied along the way! Odor free, healthy, long-lasting chews include: Himalayan Dog Chews, Monster Tendons, Bully Sticks (odor free), Antlers, Kong Toys, Jax and Bones Rope Toys, Tuffys, and Halo Spot’s Chew Dental Treats.

8) Some dogs are better travelers than others, and some trips are just too long and arduous for certain dogs. In that case, you may want to consider a pet sitter who stays in your home with your dog. The other option is to board your dog in a sitter's home. Wonder Dog Training offers both! Our pet sitters and boarders are experienced, insured, bonded, and pet first-aid certified, and you can be assured that your dog will get all the love, exercise, and attention he needs. Learn more about our pet sitting and boarding programs here:

Need training too? Check our our innovative board and train camp here:

Road Trip Training Tips:

1) Teach your dog to remain calm, and “wait” or” stay” until you are certain he will be safe upon exiting.

2) Train your dog to eliminate on cue in areas other than the backyard. Use a specific cue, like “go potty” just before your dog eliminates, and then praise and treat to reinforce the behavior. Teaching your dog to eliminate on cue will allow for faster bathroom breaks at rest stops.

3) Teach your dog how to jump up into your vehicle on cue. For large senior dogs or for those that cannot easily get into your vehicle, a folding ramp can be a terrific help.

Whether you ultimately decide to travel with our without Fido, enjoy your trip! You deserve it! 

Copyright © 2015 Jen LaBar, Wonder Dog Training LLC

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Trips to the Vet: Helping Your Dog Overcome His Fear

One of the best things you can do for your dog is to help him get comfortable with, and even look forward to Veterinarian visits. Most dogs are stressed and anxious beyond belief! They freak out about the sight of other dogs and cats in close quarters, the strange smells they encounter, the people who poke and prod them, and of course, the exam itself.

Be proactive and help your dog learn how to relax at the Veterinarian's. Stop by the Clinic for no other reason than to introduce him to the office staff. The more you do this, the better!

Ask the person to crouch down to your dog's level, turn sideways to your dog (this is more welcoming), and offer him several very yummy treats, and lots of praise and petting.

Whenever a new dog or cat enters the clinic, use a happy, upbeat tone of voice to convey that this is no big deal. It also helps to have multiple, easily accessible, tiny, high-value treats on hand at the ready. (Note: these should be treats that he never ever gets at any other time for any other reason. Tiny pieces of cheese work very well for most dogs).

Upon sight of the other dog or cat, start giving your dog treats in rapid succession. The timing here matters. Your pooch needs to see the dog or cat FIRST. Then you feed. Not the other way around.

Lastly, if your dog is highly stressed and/or has had negative experiences at the Vet's in the past, you may want to put a couple of drops of pure, high-quality lavender essential oil on a bandanna that he wears around his neck. You only need a couple of drops since a little goes a long way!

I have also found that dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) sprayed on the bandanna is helpful for the great majority of dogs. In fact, it has been proven to be as effective as the leading prescription calmative for dogs, but has zero side effects! If you need something even stronger, I recommend Only Natural Pet's Relaxi-Herb. It's very safe and effective, but does not cause drowsiness.

Once you and your dog have made multiple visits to the Vet and have only had "happy" experiences, you may find that your dog no longer requires calmatives. In fact, once he learns that going to the Vet means that he gets lots of attention and yummy treats, he may "beg" for you to take him! :-)

Need assistance helping your dog overcome his fears or anxieties? Give us a call at Wonder Dog Training.

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Wonder Dog Training offers private in-home dog obedience training and help for problem behaviors. We come to you! Whether you need help for house training, leash walking, separation anxiety, jumping, barking, digging, aggression, or basic manners, we can help! Our methods are dog-friendly and effective. We serve Carlsbad, Oceanside, Encinitas, Vista, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, and San Marcos. 

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Do you live in North County San Diego? Going out of town and need a boarder or pet sitter for your dog? Our pet sitters are all liability insured, bonded, and experienced! We also offer boarding in our homes. Your dog stays in our home as our guest and is included as one of the family. For more information, and to complete an online pet sitting or boarding request, please click here.

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Looking for a fun way to bond with your dog? Does your dog need a safe way to socialize with other dogs? Is basic obedience training a priority? How about the ability to focus with distractions or in new environments? Are you a new puppy parent who needs some direction and a few pointers? We can help! Wonder Dog Training offers a variety of innovative semi-private group classes in North County San Diego. All our classes are dog-friendly, fun, and effective! Come join us! 
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