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Holiday Advice for Nervous Dogs

Owning a nervous dog is an incredibly rewarding, yet often challenging experience. Many dog friendly holidays don’t account for the additional needs of nervous dogs, so finding accommodation and recommendations can be particularly frustrating. At Dog Friendly Retreats we recognise that every dog is different and thought we’d share with you some of our advice for planning trips away with nervous dogs.


Dogs can be nervous for a variety of reasons. They can be afraid of unfamiliar humans, other dogs, young children and even environmental factors such as loud noises or flashing lights. Like humans, every dog is different and it’s important to remember this when planning any trip away. Whatever the cause of your dog’s anxiety, there are plenty of steps you can take to make them feel at ease while you’re holidaying away from home.


Travel Outside Peak Times

School holidays are a notoriously busy time to travel. Families flock to destinations across the UK to make the most of their time together. Understandably, this can have a negative impact if you or your dog are nervous around other people. We suggest choosing a quieter time to travel. You’ll get to experience your destination, as well as its dog friendly community without the hassle of large crowds.


This may mean simply booking outside of school holidays, or swapping to a spring trip instead of visiting your destination in the height summer. There are so many UK holiday spots to choose from, whatever time of year you travel.




Let Other Owners Know You Need Space

Did you know that the colour yellow is used to indicate a dog is nervous? If you see a dog wearing yellow while out on your walks, remember he/she may need a little extra space. As non-nervous dog owners, it’s important to keep an eye out for dogs wearing yellow while out on walks, as you may need to put your pup on lead while you pass.


If you are an owner of a nervous dog, it may be worth investing in a yellow harness, collar, bandana or lead. It’s a great way to alert other owners to your nervous dog while out walking. There are plenty of yellow products on the market, from stick on labels for existing harnesses, to yellow accessories adorned with phrases like NERVOUS, ANXIOUS or I NEED SPACE clearly for others to see.




Opt for Self-Catered Accommodation

It’s quite common for dogs to feel unsettled when travelling. There are so many new smells, textures and sights to explore. At Dog Friendly Retreats we always recommend sticking to a familiar routine while your dogs are settling into their holiday. Self-catered accommodation is a great choice, particularly for nervous dogs.


Self-catered accommodation gives you plenty of flexibility while you’re away from home. You can walk when you want, eat when you want and relax when you want. For nervous dogs, we’d recommend choosing accommodation in a quieter setting, such as a rural village or countryside location.




Utilise Local Dog Businesses

Secure dog parks are popping up across the country. They’re a popular choice for nervous dogs and their owners, as they guarantee space that is free from most triggers. They’re easy to book online or in person and are often attached to other dog friendly facilities such as pet shops.


We also recommend researching local dog services, particularly if you’re taking a longer trip with your nervous dog. Knowing a local behaviourist is nearby is reassuring; particularly if it’s the first trip you’re taking with your dog.




Do you regularly bring your nervous dog on holiday with you? What are your tips for owners looking to do the same?

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