A campervan holiday – perfect for the dogs. Or so you might think.
The holiday season is approaching and many people want to take their dogs. So they get a campervan.
I have just been to a second couple with a campervan and dogs that bark at approaching people.
The question is, how, in just a few weeks, can dogs who so frequently rehearse barking at people approaching their house be taught not to bark when people approach the campervan?
This time it’s Ruby, a rescue Lurcher, joined by Border Collie Mia who they’ve only had for three weeks. Both have wonderful long off-lead walks and are laid-back in the house.
People coming up the drive.
The family share a common drive with other houses. Ruby literally leaps into action if anyone comes up that drive. She jumps the fence to warn both neighbours or deliveries away with aggressive barking. In her mind it works. It’s very intimidating for the people.
They are now raising the fence.
Sadly, the five-year-old Ruby won’t have been sufficiently habituated to different approaching people from the start, when she was a puppy and young dog. She is now accepting of people when out and once they are in the house so long as she’s left alone; she’s fine lying down in the pub with people approaching or walking past.
But their home is their castle. Their campervan is their mini-castle, also to be guarded. Constantly proving at home that aggressive barking drives people away, Ruby does the same from the campervan, now joined by Mia.
People approaching the campervan.
At home, the couple will now need to work on getting the dogs to accept, welcome even, people coming towards their house.
They will also need to work on getting the dogs to accept people coming towards the campervan.
As with my last story, they can park the campervan in a variety of different places and ‘people-watch’. As with Billie and Shaun, other dogs aren’t a problem – it’s people.
Passing people provoke less reaction than people directly approaching, so that is where they will start.
The equivalent to the raised garden fence will be a board which they can put in the doorway of the campervan. When the door is open, the dogs, from inside, won’t see people approaching unless standing on their back legs.
Now, with sudden explosions dealt with by blocking the dogs’ view, they can deal with getting them to at least tolerate people approaching. They will do this in a sytematic and controlled way as per our plan.
At home the neighbours will help, I’m sure. Over time they will be associated with either food or fun.
The campervan is a different matter with different people about and the van itself parked up in different locations. Dogs are like a magnet to dog-lovers! I know the feeling but control myself.
We need to be quite forceful in protecting our dogs from unwanted attention.
It would be great if the dogs became so used to different people approaching and walking past the campervan that they ignored them. A big ask. They need a lot of weekends away!