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dog sitting in a car

Travel Anxiety

Car Phobia’s and Fears in Dogs

Do you dread the days you must take your dog in the car; does he make a run for it when he sees the keys? Or is he just a poor traveller but braves the stress of the road?

Travel anxiety is one of those behavioural issues that many people would like to solve but the right information and advice is simply not there. What we see is more clinical and veterinary advise which leads you more down the line of medication.

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Like any other fear, travel fears do not just develop from nothing. They are more likely to be a negative association to the activity like being sick or not settling down and consequently being unsteady as your vehicle moves around.

We all know that dogs learn by association, so if your dog has had a terrible experience in the car then this will cause the apprehension.

dog looking out of a car

However sometimes this fear doesn’t come from a learnt association, but from a simple lack of exposure to travelling. We are told by our Vets to not take puppies out until we complete its vaccinations, unfortunately many owners take this literally and it can cause so many of these early stage problems with travelling.

So, the sad side effect of this can be the puppy’s first experience of the car can be traumatic. As the positive association with travelling has come quite late in the development, and the puppy’s ability to cope has dramatically dropped.

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There is no sure way to overcome a dog’s fear of travel, but we must start somewhere and with a puppy it is easier than an older dog with standing and ingrained fear.

Remember whatever technique you follow always use positive reward and make sure your dog is enjoying the process, the moment you see and signs of stress you must step back a little.

dog looking out of a car

You are looking for follow your Lead so make it fun, as a result if you get it right your efforts will pay off and your dog will eventually happily enter your car without any issues. They will gradually see the car as exciting and start to jump in on their own.

The end game is to develop a good positive association with traveling. Start with short journeys that always end with your dog having an enjoyable experience like walkies at the local park.

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Take your time and slowly increase the journeys and in time the distance can be increased. However, you do this, whatever process you use it all comes down the more time and effort you put in everyday, the quicker the you will see the results.

dog running with a pitpat

Pitpat counting every step of our pawsome friends

Can the PitPat activity monitor help your dog?

It’s rare to come across a product that is simple in its implantation that it quickly becomes irreplaceable. The Pipat is such a device, a simple no nonsense product that does its job and does it well.

pitpat in a box
pitpat device
pitpat on a dog

My first interaction with the developers left me somewhat deflated. At first I was excited to discover more about what was on offer from this orange paw. But my perception of what it could do was way off, that was my mistake.

My assumption was that I could record and track the movements of my dog on top of all the activity (walk, play and rest). Which the representative from Pitpat pointed out that in doing that wouldn’t give the 12-month battery life, it could also mean subscription costs or a higher device price.

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Easy Setup

Setup is one of the easiest I have seen. Velcro keeps the PitPat secured to your dog’s collar. During all our forest walks and lake swims Ziggy has been unable to shake this device from his collar.

Click to view PitPats Setup Page

With that our call ended, my authoritarian in all things break and play related arrived on cue tail wagging and plenty of drool to boot. Grabbing his lead, we headed out for some much needed air.

My mind set during our conversation was of how will this product help the owner? This is a very broad question which PitPat answers quite well on their website. The question needed to be; ‘How will this device help Ziggy (my distractor) and I’.

Ziggy is an 8-year-old, Yellow Labrador. Strangely for the last 12 months or so his weight has been a nightmare to control. I know Labs, right, eat everything in sight. You spend all day stopping them eating so they don’t get fat.

Not Ziggy, he drops weight! Vet visits, blood tests but no real clue as to why. Has he just gone off his food as most dogs can at some point. No, nor was his exercise regime contributing factor.

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Continuing our walk, I notice a flyer highlighting that there had been incidents of dog thefts, within the area. Where the perpetrators had initially marked the house before coming back to carry out the heinous act of steeling ones loved one.

Obviously, I am concerned about this, but it did get me thinking about the Internet of Things and their hack ability. Everything is hackable by someone, something or both and we would be foolish to think otherwise. As criminal’s progress through the range of devices that are available, god forbid, if there was a chance that would-be criminals were to get past the developer’s strict security protocols of any of the current devices available. In that context why would I want to use something that would put a beacon on Ziggy?

It comes down to what you want,
more importantly,
what do you need it to do?

It has been a long road with Ziggy, we have routines in place to manage the problem. He is fed relatively late, if a walk turns into anything longer than the norm, he is rested for a couple days to compensate. Returning back to my question, it was obvious;

I want to keep the weight on him.

In our busy lives the crossover of who does what can in its self be a nightmare to manage. Up until receiving the Pitpat I was the only one allowed to walk Ziggy, just to make sure the level of exercise was consistent to his feeding regime.

Whilst the family joined me most of the time, I did feel as if I was stealing him away from the rest. However, the Pitpat has given Ziggy whole heartily back to the family. With just a click of a button that day’s activity is instantly blue toothed to my phone. Allowing me to instantly see what he has been up to. Too much and I hide the dog lead, too little and we are sneaking out the door for a quick lap of the park.

dog walking with a pitpat
dog walking with a pitpat

Where the PitPat is let down is the app, I’m left wanting more every time I use it. I want more user ability, more customisation.  A longer history to track the where the improvements are. More importantly, not taking anything away from the technological achievements of the PitPat device. It is a simple device, as such should be balanced by the app to deliver a better user involvement.

phone with pitpat app
phone with pitpat app

There needs to be a better integration of sync notifications that could be set by the user from default pre-sets. As the device is so good at working seamlessly that one can easily forget to transfer data.

Another thing I would like to see is a better weight and activity user interface. Obviously, the weight would have to be entered manually like most activity apps. But if combined within a longer history stream, one could get a better understanding of weight behaviour.

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On speaking with developers, a second time it was clear, what makes the Pitpat special is their ability to address all my questions with positive resolutions. Some of which I can’t go into detail, but there are some exciting changes coming to support this little orange paw. Whole app is being rethought to address some of its short comings. With a release date between September – October time, the developers are working hard to bring the very best to existing and new customers.

As the device stands, I whole heartily recommend it even with the few negative points. Throughout our trial the Pitpat has performed without question even with Ziggy enjoying an afternoon swim. With the team behind this device not resting on their achievements and forging ahead for new improvements. I reckon we will be seeing a lot from these guys.

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Dog technology

Technology, we all use it. But do we all need it or is it a case of wanting it?

Need and want are two issue’s I debate at least once a year, slight lie. Every time Apple drops another ore inspiring piece of technology, my inner child goes to war with the grown up within.

I’m sure you can relate, but now the innovators have turned their beady little eye to our pets. How can our dogs benefit?READ MORE

toddler and dog sitting together

Dogs and babies – creating the perfect plan before the expected arrival

For many people, their dog is their baby. In their eyes, the dog is their cherished son or daughter.

But what happens when you bring a new baby into the family? A new-born can dramatically change not only your life but your dog’s life as well. As your routines change your attention will shift from the dog to the baby.READ MORE

person sat on sofa with there dog

Is our labelling obsession affecting our dogs behaviour

Our we wasting our natural intelligence applying labels to behaviour?

Your dog’s behaviour is simply natural coordinated responses which can be triggered by internal and external stimuli.

A dog’s natural intelligence over the years has been gauged by their ability to perceive information and retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems.READ MORE

Dog Pregnancy Guide

What to do during dog pregnancy

By Mary Nielsen, My Sweet Puppy 

When your dog becomes pregnant, it will last for approximately 63 days on average. Each dog goes through 3 trimesters, just like humans do, they may go through a morning sickness phase, usually within the 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy, and it is a good idea to get her into the vet at about 2 or 3 weeks after mating.READ MORE

dog holding lead in his mouth

11 steps on how to walk your dog on a lead

Walk your dog on lead & stay in control 

1Be aware of your energy and body language while walking your dog.

Pre Walk Check list

  • Are you communicating a cool, calm canine state of mind?
  • Is your body language sending the message: ‘I am a confident pack leader that is in control’?