AS we start looking ahead to our 2018 holidays, it’s not just us humans who are in need of a break. It turns out, we could have more in common with our four-legged friends than we first thought, and just like us, they need a holiday too.
Parkdean Resorts has teamed up with Graeme Hall, aka the Dogfather, to reveal that a getaway will not only benefit our pooch’s physical and mental wellbeing, it could also lead to better long-term behaviour.
Graeme Hall, presenter of Channel 4’s Dogs Behaving Badly, says: “Contrary to what most dog trainers and behaviourists will tell you - dogs are more like humans than you might think.
“Dogs feel overwhelmed too - it's not exclusive to us - and a holiday is a great way to alleviate stress for both dogs and their owners. Just like us, they need a break every now and again.”
The good news is, it’s looking positive for the nation’s canines, with Parkdean Resorts offering a whole host of dog friendly options. The UK’s largest holiday park operator had over 50,000 pets holidaying at its parks in the last year alone.
John Waterworth, chief executive of Parkdean Resorts, welcomes holidaying hounds: “We’re a nation of dog lovers and our pets are widely acknowledged as being part of the family. We’ve definitely noticed a rise in the demand for dog-friendly holidays, which is why we’ve made sure we offer pet-friendly accommodation at 67 of our holiday parks.”
And a holiday is what dogs are made for. Dogs trace their ancestry from wolves, so being active and working in family groups is the norm for them. Even though 15,000 years of evolution have turned them into ‘man’s best friend’, they still retain some of their primal instincts.
According to Graeme, dogs can suffer psychologically from lack of exercise too, with one in three dogs either overweight or obese. He explains: “If kept cooped up for too long, dogs can go ‘stir crazy’ leading to bad behaviour. Some of the most common behavioural problems I encounter in my work can be a result of boredom, and even loneliness. Most dogs are at their happiest being active, preferably outdoors, with their families.
“It’s hard for us to tell how our pets are feeling – we can’t sit down and have a chat with them over a coffee – but the tell-tale signs are there, in anxious behaviour, pining and crying when left alone. All our four-legged friends really want to do is spend time with us and a holiday is the ideal scenario for quality time.”
But all this quality family time together on holiday doesn’t just benefit both humans and dogs on a mental and physical level – as well as a happier pet, it could even lead to a better-behaved one too.
The Dogfather explained: “A change of scenery can be a great time to get back to basics and create new, good habits for your dog. Dog training takes time and a lot of repetition to bed in new behaviour. Holidays often provide more time in a relaxed environment, away from the demands of day-to-day life.” Graeme believes the best dog trainers are always patient and calm when training their dogs.
A holiday could be the answer to improving your dog’s long-term behaviour, according to Graeme, “Practising the wrong thing will see your dog’s behaviour going in the wrong direction. If you have the time and patience to do the right things repeatedly, you’ll create great new habits for your dog that will last long after you holiday is over. It takes time and a little know-how, but a holiday is a great time to kick-start any new regime.”
To encourage more people to consider holidaying with their dogs, Graeme Hall teamed up with Parkdean Resorts to offer his top tips for dog-friendly holidays, which can be found at: