How can I prepare my dog for attending a festival? Dog Behavioural Advice from Adem Fehmi
The Barking Heads team are working hard to deliver a fantastic festival for the party pooches attending Standon Calling 2022. We understand that some people worry about whether their dog will be comfortable in a festival environment - that is why Barking Heads has worked with Standon Calling to develop special dog-focused areas to allow dogs the chance to chill out away from the hustle and bustle of the main stages.
We asked our wonderful friend and Dog Behaviourist Adem Fehmi for his advice about what you can do to prepare your dog, and allow them to have their very best festival experience:
What are the signs of stress in a dog?
Dogs can become anxious or stressed for a number of reasons, some key factors being a change in routine or a new environment that they are not used to. If you already know that your dog is likely to find such an environment such as a festival stressful, it may be better to seek alternative care for the day so that you both can have the best day possible.
If you will be bringing your dog to Standon Calling, I would recommend observing your dog carefully for signs they may be feeling unsure, anxious or stressed. Signs of stress and anxiety in dogs can include:
- A tucked up body and/or tail
- Ears pulled back
- Whale eye - where the whites of their eyes can be seen
- Panting or hyperventilating
- Shaking or trembling
- Actively trying to avoid something/a place
- Generally being agitated
- Becoming reactive to people, dogs or the environment in general
What can I do if my dog becomes stressed?
If you observe your dog acting in this way it is important to remove yourself and your dog to a quieter, safer space for them (like the Barking Heads Dog Bowl) until they are able to settle once more. In some cases, and if your dog is unable to adapt and feel more confident in their surroundings, this may involve organising for your dog to be taken home.
How can I prepare my dog for attending a festival?
In order to try and prevent your dog from becoming stressed or anxious, I would recommend training for busy social situations before coming to a busy and loud event with your dog. Start off at the periphery of busy places, rewarding calm and confident behaviour with a tasty treat. Over time, and as your dog’s confident grows, move closer, allowing your dog to become accustomed at each stage. If necessary, don’t be afraid to take a step back, and keep training sessions short, sweet and positive. This might take several sessions to achieve over a period of weeks or even months. The most important thing is to build up your dog’s experience and social exposure without creating negative associations that may break your dog’s confidence rather than build it. Patience is key.
Barking Heads is delighted to be able to offer quieter spaces for dogs at Standon Calling in 2022, including the Barking Heads Re-Treat where they can enjoy a bowl of natural dog food, and also the Barking Heads Dog Bowl, a special dog walking area away from the hustle and bustle.
Adem will also be joining Barking Heads at Standon Calling offering a Dog Behaviour Q&A and a demonstration on how to use food to enrich your dogs day.