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Summer holidays are nearly here!

What does that mean for you and your dachshunds?


Golden angel jessie enjoying the garden. (Now a true angel)

Its coming to the end of term and nearly the summer holidays! We might actually get some sunshine....but its hard to imagine today! I think the sun took a holiday of its own and the rain clouds are house sitting!


But, summer holidays are on us all the same.....what does this actually mean to you?


This means the environment is about to change significantly for you and our dogs. Whether or not you have young children!


Try to think about what this may mean and look like to your dogs.


  • Quiet during the day outside - no playground shouting, no school runs, no mad dashes when they return home from school.

  • Busy in the home.

  • Noise in the neighbouring gardens

  • Commotion and playing in the areas around your home.

  • Busier parks.


Now, if you have grown children coming home from university it's likely they're already back. But if not, many of these things will apply.

 

First, lets look at the home environment.


If you have school aged children the dogs peace will be ruined! Especially at the start of the holidays.  Your dogs will be used to peace and quiet during school hours and now your bundles of fun are home and charging around.


Now, if we actually get any sunny weather, this may mean they are outside playing with water slides and the hose, or playing ball.

Your dogs may struggle with this or find it super exciting. 


The sudden quiet at school run time might be disorientating. This is more an issue come September, so remember that for then.


You might find you have less time with your dogs, make sure their needs are met. Exercise, mental stimulation, dietary.

 

What can you do?

  • Ensure your dogs have a safe space to retreat to.

  • Supervise interactions especially during times of high activity.  Children are children, dogs are dogs. Pop your dogs somewhere safe if needs be, make sure it is a positive experience.  If your dogs take themselves off for some quiet, let them!

  • Make sure the children leave the dogs alone when they are resting.  This should be the rule anyway, but reiterate it.

  • Make sure the children do not approach the dogs when they are eating or have chews.  Remember, they are used to having their own space in the day.

  • Other people’s children will also be out playing, so they may bark at the new noises.  Try to help them with this rather than shouting at them continually.  You may need to control the environment whilst they get used to the noise.

  • They will likely be burning more calories – more walks, more running around. There isn’t much worse than a hangry dachshund, make sure you adjust their food to suit the activities.  If they are on the larger side, swap out some of their main meals and add some dog friendly green veg.

  • Do get the children involved in setting up calm activities with the dogs.  This will help them learn how to interact constructively with them.

  • Your children may want their friends over.  Even if they are child friendly, make sure they have a space to retreat to, and make sure they get time away from them.  Children are exhausting!

  • Go outside and sit with them, or lie down on the floor with them. Help guide them when the neighbours children are out playing.



What about on walks?


There will be bikes, scooters, laughing, screaming, and crying. Stressed parents trying to keep everyone happy. Children are discombobulated, fast and loud. We can all struggle with their abruptness at times. 


Remember to help your dogs, especially in busy situations.  Guide them and help them make 'good' decisions. Choosing to rest away from the children when they are tired. Micromanaging the children to ensure they are as calm as possible around the dogs.


Whilst it is not technically your job to parent other peoples children, it is your responsibility to keep your dog and others safe.  If someone asks to stroke your dogs and you aren’t sure your dog will cope it is ok to say no.  You don’t need to be rude, just casually stand in front of your dog, crouch down and answer the child.  It’s great that their parents taught them to ask.  Sometimes they don’t, and remember they may have just got carried away, so take a minute to explain that they should ask, and they can’t say hi today.  I personally always talk to the parents and say “thank you, your child asked, unfortunately it’s a training day today and he’s just learning to watch the world go by.”  

 

What can you do?


  • Think about where you walk.  Don’t head to a place where it will be overcrowded.  We ask a lot from our dogs, and we all know how attractive our breed are to people.  Going somewhere busy will invite lots of attention.  Will your dog be comfortable with that?

  • Advocate for them.  You don’t have to be rude, but politely declining is ok.  Use your position to block incoming dogs and humans.  I often walk in busy places with my dogs behind me.

  • Don’t use flexi leads or long lines in busy areas.  These can get everyone tangled, and they hurt when they catch you.  But they are also clumsy to use.  Don’t be scared to use your lead to guide them away from things, just avoid yanking them.

  • Having people over, or going to a friends.

  • If the sun comes out you might hold a bar-be-que…..or go to one.  Firstly, think about whether your dog will cope.  If not, if they are nervous, can you create a safe space for them to be whilst everyone arrives? When everyone is there and settled, utilise your lead.  Are they comfortable around other peoples dogs? What about food? 

  • Same applies if you go to a friends.  There is no reason you can’t go and enjoy yourselves, but consider whether your dog will cope. If not, and they have to go with you, can you ask your friend if you can pop a crate up in a quiet area of the home?

  • Make sure you are careful with cooking utensils (e.g. wooden sticks) and will rich foods.  Stick to foods and chews they are comfortable with.  Remember to give them nice things in a safe space.

What about going away with your dog?

Any change of environment can be unsettling.  New noises, smells, increased exercise. Many people struggle on the first few days.


What can you do?

  • Take some things with you from home to help them.  A material crate, a radio that you can pop on to mask noises they aren’t used to, some items to give them at different times of day to encourage rest. 

  • Remember even if they don’t usually have separation issues, they might in a new place.  It is best to secure them safely so they don’t cause any damage.  But do a test run first, leaving them to become distressed in a new environment can stress them out.

  • When you go out for dinner or lunch, take that material crate with you.  It will give them a safe space to hide in, and for you to zip up so you can relax.

 

What else?

  • Always prepare for a rough journey. Ensure you can get them out of the car safely if you break down (I only recommend crates for car journeys, if you need to, you can just lift the crate out. But you can also open doors and windows safely without worrying about them trying to jump up or out. It might seem nice to let them have their head out the window, but I've seen some nasty injuries happen this way. Make sure you have spare water, bowls handy, chews, a spare lead and collar/harness in an easy to access place.

  • If you are travelling, take some water from home and transition over slowly. I tend to buy 5L bottles of water and start introducing the local water slowly.  This really helps their tummies.

  • Make sure your collar and ID tags are up to date with the minimum legal requirements at least (Contact name and contact address).  I always add my number and my vets number too.

  • Ensure microchips are up to date.

  • Make sure you know the contact details of the local vet and their opening times.  Give them a call first and make sure they would see you in case of emergency.  A lot of vets are running waiting lists at the minute – you don’t want to find that out in an emergency.

  • Have human and canine first aid kit for the basics.  You can buy them online – here’s a link. https://amzn.to/4cxY1fj.  I also add in dog friendly creams and meds for emergencies just in case.  Ask your vets which ones if you aren’t sure.

  • Remember the ground can retain heat for some time.  Try to avoid walking them on hard surfaces like concrete and tarmac.  Remember even sand gets very hot!

  • Keep them cool and hydrated. If the weather is bad, take towels with you.

  • Take a long line - if you don't know the area, you don't know where roads might appear, or where the rabbit holes might be. Don't take any chances. If they haven't got good recalls, you shouldn't let them off.

  • Listen to them, watch their body language.  This is them communicating to you. If they are not comfortable, help them. Remember, a waggy tail is not nccessarily a happy tail! Here's a blog on body language - Its all about the Body Language baby! (perfectlypolitedachshunds.com)


Finally:

 

Have a wonderful and safe summer.  It can be great for everyone, and you can create some wonderful memories for yourselves and your families.  Just take a bit of time to plan before jumping in. 


Feel free to add any top tips you may want to share with others.



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