Canine at the Cottage: How to Introduce your Pet to Cottage Country
To help introduce your new puppy or old rescue dog to the cottage, try out some of these tricks and tips.
Walk the perimeter
Before unpacking the car, take your pup out and walk with them around the outdoor perimeter of the cottage followed by a walk inside the cottage. Allow them to explore and sniff their new surroundings at their own pace. You can also use this time to look for potential hazards to your dog such as wires and poisonous plants.
Meet new people
Similar to walking around the cottage property, have your dog meet the people who will be staying at the cottage with you. Ask any new people who haven’t been introduced to your dog yet to hold out treats or drop them on the ground near them. Your pooch may be hesitant at first, especially if they are known to be more skittish. Wait patiently for your dog to take the treats and then reward them with positive reinforcement.
Find out where you and your dog will be sleeping or which room you will be spending most of your time in. Set up their dog bed or crate for them so it’s ready whenever they need to take an afternoon nap. Just like us, dogs like to relax at the cottage. Place out any familiar items such as their toys and blankets. This designated area can also be used for when your dog needs to take a break from all the excitement, new smells and new people.
To leash or not to leash?
This decision is entirely up the owner and how comfortable they feel letting their pup roam free. Particular types of dog breeds such as hunting dogs and retrievers may feel more at home at the cottage and take off into the woods to follow a scent. If you are keen to avoid this, you can purchase a long line for your dog to allow them to explore but also stay within your sight.
Most dogs enjoy the cottage water, while some tolerate it. Either way, it’s good to be prepared and bring a dog lifejacket for your pet. Dogs are natural born swimmers but they can get tired in the water and potentially struggle through rough currents. If you bring a dog into a boat, be sure to carry their lifejacket with you.
If your pup is hesitant about the water, it’s best not to force them in. Bring some dog toys you can take in the water and wait to see if they will gradually make their way in. The lake water can also be too cold for some dog breeds so they may opt to laying down on the dock instead and observing.
Identify stress signals
If it’s your dog’s first time at the cottage, keep an eye out for stress signals such as growling, whining, yawing, shaking and lip-licking. It can be overwhelming for dogs to place them in a new environment with people they don’t know. If your dog seems anxious, take them for a long walk to help reduce stress or have them visit their sleeping spot and play with them until they get tired.