By showcasing their pet-friendly caravan add-on – the Simply Pawsome pack – at the Manchester Caravan & Motorhome recently, Willerby proved that bringing a pet on holiday can be made less stressful for both dog owners and their furry friends.
David Campbell, co-founder of The Animal Behavior Centre, tells our editor Victoria Galligan why parks are trying to be even more dog friendly than ever before…
Why did Willerby decide to create the Simply Pawsome pack? Is there a big market for dog owners in the caravan trade?
With approximately 8.5million dogs in the country, many owners prefer to have a family holiday in the UK and their pets play a big role in their family life. Dog owners make purchases with their animals in mind, they may choose a specific type of car for their pets to ensure that they travel safely or even buy houses with their dogs in mind. Holidaying is no different, ask most dog owners and they will say, “If my dog isn’t welcome then I don’t want to go.”
What does the Simply Pawsome Pack offer to make like easier for dog owners?
The Pawsome Pack contains some practical features that makes holidaying with your dog easier: for example there are times when you may wish to restrict your dog’s movement to a specific area of your home such as meal times, when they are muddy or when visitors arrive. One feature of the pack is a child and dog-friendly gate system that allows for this. A second feature is a stable door that can be fitted instead of a solid door – this allows your dog or young puppy to remain safely within your living space without wandering outside while you relax or carry on with your chores, whilst at the same time enjoying fresh air by having the top door open. The third feature, whilst simplicity itself, is a real bonus to those of us that enjoy walking our dogs on the beach or when it is muddy and would prefer that our pets left the sand and mud outside before coming indoors – and that is the option of an outdoor tap to wash your dogs off before they come inside. I said it was simple but the best ideas are, I only wish someone would invent an outdoor tap for my car!
How do dogs respond to the Pack?
Whether you choose some or all of the features offered by Willerby, your dog will benefit from those additions. Dogs gain much of their knowledge by things remaining consistent and so regular use of an outdoor tap after exercise, or times of restriction such as meal times will allow your dog to relax and gain confidence in his new surroundings. Of course it is not always possible to have your dog in sight but the addition of a stable door will give both you and your dog a feeling of greater safety and well being.
What other tips do you have for park owners when it come to accommodating dogs?
As an animal behaviorist and trainer, my role not only includes working with animals but also educating owners and other professionals who work within the the pet industry. This may be with regards to issues they are experiencing or simply offering tips, such as reminding dog owners that whilst on holiday they should ensure their dog’s identity tag is relevant to their current location so their pet can easily be returned should they go missing. Park operators and owners understand the importance of preparing for the season to come and pre-empting how busy they are going to be at key areas of the season such as Bank Holidays and weekends. Unfortunately whilst their clients are having a well-earned break, so are many other professionals including local vets and so it is well worth contacting the vets in their area to see if they operate a 24 hour service should the need arise. Of course not everyone loves pets and whilst I have found that very few people actually dislike them, many can consider them to be a nuisance and so it is important that a balance is kept – for example if you provide a dog-free children’s play area, why not also provide a dog area that is open to adults and supervised children only? And, of course, provision of a dog waste bin or two will make life easier for all concerned.