"Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan on summer Fido care
Summer can bring up a lot of questions about our pets, especially when it comes to dogs.
Whether you're planning to hit the road or stay at home with your pooch, there are many things to factor in as hot days take over.
On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," famed canine behavior expert Cesar Millan, host of National Geographic WILD's "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan," answered questions from viewers.
When I leave my dog at home, should I leave the air conditioning running, or is it sufficient to leave the windows open with the fans going?
Depends on the state that you live in. In Arizona, for instance, dogs can't live without air conditioning in the summertime, but in other states, it is OK. It also depends on the type of coat: If your dog is short-haired, then it can be comfortable in warmer temperatures than a long- or thicker-haired dog. The same applies for when you are traveling and staying in hotels with your dog. Always make sure to check the pet-friendly policies of the hotel you will be staying in.
How do I keep my puppy from getting carsick on road trips?
One solution, depending on how big the dog is, can be putting the dog on a bike. Being on a bike, he can learn movement at a slower and easier pace. Sometimes a dog has had a bad past experience, and that is why it reacts negatively to the car. Sometimes in this situation I will have the dog jump in a still car and then wait until it is completely relaxed, then give a treat and take the dog out of the car without ever starting the car. Now, the dog begins to build positive associations with the car. Also, you always have to ensure that the dog isn't picking up on your energy: If you are stressed and anxious about the trip, then she can sense that.
What's your best advice for traveling with pets?
Do your homework. Don't just show up to the airport or a hotel with your pet and expect that they will be accepted. Always do research in advance; call the airlines to determine their pet polices and book stays at hotels that accept dogs, including more than 1,600 pet-friendly Best Western properties worldwide, and all Four Seasons hotels.
What's the biggest mistake families make when traveling with pets?
Not being prepared. People often don't spend time preparing their pet before traveling. Don't make it a last minute "pack-and-let's-go." Your dog will sense your anxiety and tension. Be ready days in advance, so your dog has a normal experience before he gets in the car or boards the plane.
How can I make my dog feel at home when traveling?
Take your dog's scent with you. Honor and respect your dog through his nose. Bringing his dog bed or blanket or toy that smells like "home" will make him feel more calm and relaxed in his temporary home while you're traveling.
If we go on a road trip or stay in a hotel room on a trip this summer, should we crate our dog?
If you do intend to crate your dog, as many hotels require, it is important to begin the process early and get her properly acclimatized to the crate before you leave. Many dogs love the den-like aspect of a crate, but it is important to only have positive associations with the crate. Never put a dog into the crate as a punishment, and always fully exercise a dog before leaving him alone in the crate.
Always respect your environment and surroundings. When staying in a hotel that welcomes pets, it is important to respect your fellow travelers and the hotel environment.
What kinds of crates are best?
What works for the dog. Some dogs prefer a sense of den-like security, others like the feeling of being open. For this reason, there are two types of crates: One type has a vent on the side, and the other is all-wire and more open. They can't tell you what they like best; obviously, you can acclimatize a dog to anything if you introduce it correctly. However, if it is an older dog, it may already have an idea of what it likes. By a certain age, they have preferences, just like some dogs may prefer a rope or ball or both.
What is the best way to adjust my dog to a new environment?
Claim your travel space. When you arrive at the hotel, walk your dog around the property to ensure he's familiar with the place. When you arrive at the room, enter first. Get the dog to stay where he is. Don't let him wander around, or he'll assume control of the situation. Be calm and assertive, which will help you feel comfortable in the room before you introduce your dog to an unfamiliar place.
We have a small Chihuahua that we love to take camping with us, but its recently started howling when we leave it in the camper alone. Is there anything that we can do to make him more comfortable being alone?
The first piece of preparation that you should always do before you leave your dog alone is to properly exercise it. Don't go against nature by leaving the dog alone all day, full of energy. If you first properly walk your dog, for a minimum of 30 minutes, then he will be more calm and relaxed when you leave. Another important thing to ask yourself is, when you are around him, if this is the kind of dog that is constantly right next to you? If so, you have to start to practice claiming your space and creating some separation between the two of you, even when you are at home. If the dog is always right next to you and reliant on you, then it will naturally be more distressed when you leave.
Since its summertime, I'm worried about my dog being dehydrated. Should I give her more water?
You should always have plenty of fresh water available and monitor your dog for signs of dehydration (red eyes, excessive panting, and lethargy). However do not force the dog to drink water if nothing is wrong with the dog. Be careful about being obsessive yourself, as you can actually do harm by forcing the dog to drink or being nervous about drinking, and create negative associations. If it is hot, a dog will do one of two things: He will either go to find some shade to lie down and cool off, or he will drink some water. Just be sure that there is plenty of fresh water available and, for the most part, your dog will take care of himself.
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