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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19591
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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He loves camping until the barbecue is lit; he senses the

Customer Question

He loves camping until the barbecue is lit; he senses the smoke and panics wanting to hide
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Clayton is 7 months old
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Clayton?
Customer: No he loves camping until barbecues are lit and then he is in sheer panic. When were with groups he wants to get away and hide
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My dog is a King Charles Cavalier, during a camping outing the barbecue was really smoking and since then anytime a barbecue is lit he can sense the smoke and wants to get to the RV and hide under the bed.. This is difficult since we camp with groups and often socialize not real close to our campsite; we never leave our guy alone so we have to return to our camp and go inside
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

You state that this started when a grill was smoking excessively. Did your dog inhale much of the smoke at that time?

Do you have a crate for him?

How old was he when this happened?

What obedience training has he had?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The smoke probably burnt his eyes and he was 5 months old; we do have a crate but he hates it since he flew in a crate to us from Oklahoma when he was 8 weeks old weighing only 3 lbs. I think he has PTSD about crates. He hasn't had obedience training but he's an amazing and well behaved puppy. We couldn't figure out what triggered his evening freak outs until this last camping trip this week end and now I know it's smoke from the barbecue. Other than what I've mentioned our pup hasn't had any traumatic events, seriously he goes to work with me and is well socialized to dogs and people. He's a happy loving cavalier just freaks when he smells a barbecue
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful.

No matter how well behaved your dog is, he needs to be obedience trained. Not only will he then know what you expect of him when you give him commands but you can control him in situations where he is uncomfortable. Obedience training does teach commands but it also teaches a dog that you are the boss and leader and as the boss, it is your job to protect him from things such as the grill and smoke. Of course, you then have to take that kind of thing into consideration and watch for smoke that gets in his face.

So work on obedience training with him. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Once he knows sit and down and a release command, you should be able to control him a little better. Don't forget a release command. Often people teach sit and down but never a release command. When a dog doesn't have a release command they end up making the decision on when they no longer have to obey which you do not want.

You have to get him used to the crate as well. The easiest way is to start putting his food in the crate and leave the door open. He'll have to go into the crate to be fed. After a week or so, he should not mind the crate so much and eagerly enter for his food. If you give him a treat, toss it into the crate as well. We want him to start associating the crate with good things. Once that happens, you can start shutting the door behind him while he eats but be sure to open it as soon as he is finished eating so he doesn't associate it with being locked in. After a few weeks he should be fine with going in his crate.

I think you should also get a nice kong toy with treat compartment and fill it with yogurt or peanut butter without xylitol then freeze it. You can use this and the crate to help him overcome his anxiety around grills. It won't be a quick easy fix but should be effective. You will have the crate a normal distance from a grill. Put your dog in the crate and give the kong treat. When he is occupied, like the grill but be prepared to put it out after only a minute or two. You are trying to keep him calm during the initial lighting of the grill. If he is calm, give him an even better threat then the kong such as a piece of raw liver or stinky hot dog piece. You will do this at least a few times each training session. Once he is ignoring the initial lighting and putting out of the grill, you can lengthen the time he needs to calm but don't move too fast. You have to only increase it by a minute or so each step. Once he is more used to the grill smoking, you can increase it by larger amounts of time. Moving too fast though can put you back a week or more.

This is an effective way to lessen his anxiety, just be sure the smoke can not be trapped in his crate if it is a closed in type. You should also invest in a dap collar for him. It helps with anxieties and uses a pheromone much like the one a nursing mom produces to calm her pups. It is very effective at calming a dog who is anxious.

Hopefully he will become adjusted to the smoke. If he can not adjust, you will need to do what is best for him and leave him at home for a period of time. Dogs are often left at home and some for as long as 8 hours at a time. Even older children are left home alone, so your dog can definitely be away from you for a few hours at a time. The crate will provide him with a place he feels safe in once he is used to it. You can leave his special kong toy in it when you leave him so he is occupied the whole time you are gone.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.

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