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Every Good Boy Deserves a Holiday… and a Waterproof Dog Bed!

Dogs across the country rejoiced this Summer as we ditched the passports in search of something closer to home instead, which usually meant they got to come along. Whether it be a week-long holiday or a brief staycation, bringing your dog to new environments is massively beneficial for their training and overall happiness. We were on the West Coast of Scotland a few weeks ago and Gerry, our 8-month-old Teckel, was in paradise. Here are some tips for taking your dog away on trips and gently exposing them to new experiences. Don’t forget your Travel Tuffie!

Gerry enjoying his staycation on the West Coast of Scotland

Gerry enjoying his staycation on the West Coast of Scotland


Dug Boat

The first new experience for Gerry was his first boat ride. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not going to be on a boat very often in his life but we’d rather have him experience it for the first time relatively early. The new smells, loud engine, and floating sensation were all new to him, and to our delight, he took it all in his stride. The hardest part was getting him to walk over the pontoon which was quite high up. He was happy being carried so we did that the first few times and eventually he was happy walking by himself.

Sailor Gerry Enjoying his First Boat Ride

Sailor Gerry enjoying his first boat ride


Teckels are a pretty hardy breed so maybe it’s easy for me to say, but when your dog gets nervous the best thing to do is take a step back and reward for baby steps, even if it means holding up plans. For example, had he been nervous about the boat, we would treat him for being on the pontoon first, then on the boat with the engine off, and finally with the engine on and then moving. That process might have taken half an hour and held up the whole group for the sake of one dog but that’s better than dealing with a nervous, whining pup for the whole journey and for every boat trip thereafter. Again, easy for me to say with a hardy Teckel but if you have a particularly nervous dog then try and plan ahead to prepare for these situations e.g. Take them to the beach and on the pier to get them used to the idea of being surrounded by water beforehand. Even playing boat engine noises on YouTube will help.

Gerry adjusting well to boat life

Gerry adjusting well to boat life/sulking that he’s without his Tuffies Dog Bed



Joining us on the trip were two young dogs; 6-month-old Viszla, Smeagol, and 2-year-old Miniature Schnauzer, Nelly. Gerry is an ‘only child’ so we are always looking for opportunities to socialise him, making this weekend a great chance for him to learn the dos and don’ts of the dog world.

One thing we immediately noticed was the intensity of play between Smeagol and Gerry. There was no harm coming to either dog and they were both clearly enjoying it, but it’s easy to forget that puppy bones haven’t fully developed and injuries can happen. Therefore it’s important to intermittently break up the play before it goes too far and one of them hobbles off with a limp. Usually, the first day of play is the roughest and things calm down after that, however, it’s good to keep an eye on any playfights in case things turn a bit one-sided. A healthy session will be more or less equal, with each dog taking turns as the ‘attacker’ and ‘defender’. When one bites a little too hard, the other one lets them know either with a short squeal or snarl if they’ve had enough. Look out for these signals and an appropriate response from the other. If one dog isn’t taking the hint and backing off, or if it just generally looks too one-sided then it’s time to intervene and split them up.

Gerry and Smeagol Playtime

Gerry and Smeagol Playtime

Over the course of the weekend, we all spent a lot of time just staring at the dogs and occasionally breaking up these play fights which does disrupt up the human conversation a little bit. However, it’s important to remember that this is the type of practice that will set up your dog for a life of healthy communication with other dogs. More often than not, when you see a nervous dog lash out at another it’s because they didn’t get a fair shot at ‘learning the rules’ as a puppy and have had bad experiences. This is particularly common if, like us, you only have one dog.

Doggy Paddle

Something else we weren’t sure how Gerry would react to was swimming in deep water. He had been in plenty of shallow water but never fully immersed. I am slightly ashamed to admit that we put a life jacket on him on the boat. Probably a bit over the top but we were far out at times and if he went overboard it was a long way to shore. When we arrived at our destination on loch Nevis we anchored the boat and prepared the dinghy to padel the final 30 metres or so. Gerry was desperately hanging off the side of the boat so we lowered him down and he swam the rest of the way. The life jacket probably hindered more than helped!

Gerry and Smeagol swimming to shore

Gerry and Smeagol swimming to shore

A waterproof dog bed is essential if your pup likes to have a swim, particularly in the colder months. The inside won’t get wet so they’ll dry in their own body heat much quicker than on a porous bed that’s soaked right through. A waterproof dog bed will also smell a lot better long term because the inside stays  dry.


Other Considerations Off the Beat and Track

Something that we should have done, and didn’t, was to put a tracker on Gerry. He doesn’t tend to wander off but we still should have had one because there’s always a first time and we really were in the middle of nowhere. Even the most loyal dogs can follow a rabbit or deer scent for too long and lose track of which way is home.

Also, bring a tick remover! These horrible insects have a knack for going unnoticed and they can be smaller than you think. We found about a dozen on Gerry over the weekend, gross!


Good luck planning your trip and hopefully your dog has a bit more dignity than this on the way home…

Exhausted Gerry on the way home

Exhausted Gerry on the way home