Pippin’s First Holiday
Sally and Carys are two of our trainers who live with their lovely boy, Pippin. We're lucky to have them because they've been through most things with Pippin The Bear, and are very good at reassuring many of our clients by sharing their experiences. They've gone through a lot of highs and lows with this clever, sensitive boy. He's joined the ranks of our 'Fizzy Teens' - all young dogs who have learned that using the Thinking-Dog 3 Cs helps them manage their lives well.
Those 3 Cs are: Calm, Connection and self-Control - with a big dollop of 'P for Preparation' thrown into the mix!
Sally's words and Carys's photographs convey how they managed Pippin's first holiday away from home successfully.
When you have a fizzy teen you don’t go looking for excitement or adventure! Fizzy worlds need to be kept small, and calm and full of positive encounters. At certain times Pippin’s world has been very small, for example when he was attacked during lockdown and was too terrified even to leave the house. Taking Pippin on holiday has long been a dream for us and this year we thought he was ready to try. We set out our criteria for Pippin’s perfect holiday – not too far away; an enclosed garden; an isolated spot where he wouldn’t get into trouble for his barking! Our requirements were secondary! We scoured the internet and facebook for recommendations and eventually came up with a dog holiday company and, following some long chats with the owner, found a bungalow by the dunes in Norfolk.
We started to build up Pippin’s exposure to days out and travelling longer distances with a view to a few nights away as practice. Then Covid hit…no travel and no nights away!
A week before the date we made a list of everything Pippin might need for his holibobs! This included licki mat, snuffle mat, food, long line, leads, probiotics etc etc. In the week before the holiday we assembled these first – Pippin’s well-being and happiness were key to that of the rest of us!
Day 1 – Pippin was unsettled by the packing and couldn’t wait to get into the car. He sensed adventure. Two hours and 50 minutes drive with not a sound out of him apart from a bark at some field coverings glimmering in the sunlight. We had ensured that Pippin’s belongings were easily accessible so that arriving at the bungalow we could create a sniff trail around the garden. We had been warned that there would be lots of marking so we spent ages in the garden. This was a chance also to assess whether it was safe off lead – it wasn’t. Going inside I did a major sweep of surfaces, removing towels, cloths, mats…Pippin was now ok to go for a little explore for himself!
Pippin has an extra large crate at home which doesn’t fit into our car so the holiday company provided one. We set this up and spent some time rewarding Pippin for going in and out of the crate and placing a kong inside. He seemed quite happy with his new bed. After we’d had a desperately needed cup of tea we took Pippin for his first walk to the sea. The dunes gave us an amazing vantage point to assess what other dog walkers and dogs were in the area so that we could manage any encounters positively. Pippin fell in love with the sea, running in and out of the waves with delight.
The first evening was the most unsettled of the trip. Pippin paced around the bungalow, tired but unwilling to sleep. He went into his crate but could not relax. Living accommodation was largely one room (kitchen, lounge, diner combined) so we were all in his area. Early night for all of us with everything crossed for some sleep!
Day 2 - Pippin woke at his usual time. I took him for a toilet walk in the garden and then made his breakfast. This is totally different from our usual routine. When everyone woke a little later we walked to the beach again. From the second day onwards Pippin settled beautifully. He willingly went into his crate whenever we had to be out of the room and at night. We kept his days manageable – walk by the sea morning and night with time in the garden and bungalow in between. The humans went out in relays so that Pippin wasn’t over stimulated/excited. Pippin loved it. Sharing our holiday with the bear was a dream come true. Pippin was calm throughout – no fizziness the whole time!
Back home – Pippin rushed out into the garden to tell the blackbirds and his toy pig that he was home. He woke very early the next morning and was quite bossy – barking whenever he wanted something. We kept the first days quiet, with just a morning walk and he settled back to being home after his big adventure.
Fizzy adventure tips
List everything you use with your dog in the weeks preceding the holiday. You will feel more relaxed with everything covered.
Sea water, tap water, changed environments can all affect your dog’s tummy. Be prepared for changes in toileting! Pippin has a very sensitive tummy so we took pro-kalin with us and fed him white fish and scrambled eggs to keep him comfortable. He was rather windy!! Pippin is obsessed by bananas… but not it appears when he is on holiday!
Snuffle mats are fabulous for distracting at those anxious times for example when you are packing!
Weigh out kibble/ food where necessary – our accommodation was very basic and there weren’t any scales.
Check out numbers for any emergency vets and any particular hazards of your area – there were adders in the dunes near our bungalow.
Enjoy. It is the most wonderful experience to be on holiday with your dog…but expect to need a holiday to recover!!