By Kristy Fike
Most gun dogs double as family companions. As family companions, our partners get many truck rides to the field or a park with the family. A dog that whines, barks, or that cannot sit still is a major distraction from the road. Our gun dogs must be well mannered in the vehicle, not only for our sanity, but for everyone’s safety.
One solution to your gun dog’s truck manners includes taking them on the road more. This is common sense, but many people fail to do this for a variety of reasons. Some feel that they don’t have time and others simply don’t want to face the unpleasant behaviors that their dog displays.
Some people have the mentality that they can only take their dog on a ride if they are going to work the dog or visit a dog-friendly store. For a long time, I had this mentality too. Over time, my dogs would get rambunctious in the vehicle because they knew that being in the vehicle meant they got to work or socialize.
It is important to let your gun dog ride places where they can get out and socialize, but they also need to learn how to be calm while riding along with you. If you take your dog with you to run simple errands on a regular basis, you will see a noticeable difference in your gun dog’s truck manners. Your gun dog will also enjoy getting away from the house and spending time with you when you take them for rides.
Since gun dog owners have their hunting companions on the road with them, it is important to store away a few essential items in your vehicle. One of these items is a dog-friendly first aid kit. This can be a store-bought one or one you assembled yourself. Make sure to read the labels on the medications to ensure the heat won’t damage them. Your vehicle gets incredibly hot in the summer.
You should also keep a couple of extra leashes and collars in your vehicle. This is great if yours happens to break, you forgot a leash, or if a friend needs to borrow one while afield. The collars in your vehicle should have nameplates on them just like the rest of your collars, just in case the dog gets lost.
An unplanned situation occurred once with one of my dogs where I had to leave her at another person’s house overnight, and the collar I had on her didn’t have any nameplates on it. That was a major concern because my dog was forty-five minutes away from me in a place she had never been and with people she had never met.
When I realized this just before leaving her there, a family friend that was with me asked if I had any extra collars or nameplates in the truck. I didn’t have any and I learned the valuable lesson of always keeping extras in the vehicle.
It’s not a bad idea to keep some extra high-calorie dog snacks or food in your vehicle too. This could be a vital item for hypoglycemic dogs or dogs that are burning off a lot of calories while working. Hydration is critical for dogs, especially during these warm months. Owners should keep a travel bowl in their vehicle just in case they forget to bring one on a hunt, to the training grounds, or while spending time with the family outdoors.
Traveling with our gun dogs should be pleasant, desirable, and safe. Owners must take steps necessary to make sure that it remains that way. This may include taking your dog along with you on quick errands. Keep extra essential items in your vehicles like first aid kits, leashes, collars, high-calorie snacks, and bowls. These items may not be used often but will prove to be indispensable when you need them. Always remember to never leave your gun dog in the vehicle during these hot months and keep them hydrated while on the road.