I was in Suwanne last week working with a new Home Dog Training client and his Brittany Spaniel named Johnnie. Johnnie was a great dog and very active. The big problem that my client has with him was his jumping, not listening, and pulling on the leash. Brittany Spaniels are known for their high energy and the behaviors my client needed addressed all were caused, in part, by adrenalized actions (high energy). We needed to direct Johnnie’s focus back to my client and then teach my client how to display a calm demeanor while showing he was the leader. It took several hours, but by the end of the lesson, Johnnie was giving my client respectful focus and my client could easily direct him to the correct actions.
My client was very happy with the results of the day’s training. He commented that Johnnie, even though he had to “give up some of his bad habits”, looked calmer and happier. As I was finishing up, I asked if he had any other questions or issues we needed to address that day. He thought for a moment and then said that the whole family, including Johnnie, was going on a trip to California in the next few weeks. Because the lockdowns were now being relaxed, they just wanted to get out and about. This will be Johnnie’s first trip and he wondered if I had any suggestions regarding keeping Johnnie safe and secure during their travels.
I told my client that this was a great question. We take all the precautions when keeping our dogs safe around the house or even in the neighborhood. We even make a lot of plans and take precautions for ourselves when we go on trips. The problem is that we forget about properly planning for our dogs. We all naturally take trips and travel in the summer. Last summer we had COVID restrictions and all had to stay “in our little pods”. Restrictions are now ending and we all just want to break loose and “get out there”.
It is important that as we “get out there”, we don’t forget that we need to keep our dog safe. I offered a list of suggestions that we have given our clients over the years when traveling with their dogs. No matter if you travel by car, truck, plane or train, we want to help guarantee a safe and pleasant journey with your dog by offering these suggestions: (Robin and I travel with five dogs!)
General Travel Tips:
- Whenever you travel, it is imperative that you have your dog restrained.
- Make sure your dog has his current dog tags on him. If you can, have him micro chipped, which provides a permanent form of I.D. to help make sure he is returned to you if he becomes lost.
- Keep a current picture of your dog on your cell phone to make it easier for others to help you look for him if he gets lost during the trip.
- If your dog gets anxious on trips, ask your veterinarian about using dog tranquilizers.
- Give your pet his usual meal one to two hours before travel. (If your dog is prone to motion sickness, feed him two to four hours before travel.) Do not give him food or water during travel as it may spill, forcing him to lie in a mess during the trip.
Cars and Trucks
- Always restrain your dog, no matter the length of the trip. An unrestrained dog can be hazardous to himself and others. He can become a flying projectile that can injure you, your passengers or himself.
- Secure your dog in the back seat (dogs riding in the front seat can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy) with a pet travel safety harness or dog carrier attached to the seat belt. If you drive an SUV, put up a dog barrier to keep him in the back area of the car as well as securing him in his harness and attaching it to the hooks in the floor.
- If you have to travel with your dog in the bed of a pickup, use a crate or carrier secured to the truck bed do he will stay put and not fly around our out.
- Never let your dog ride with his head out the window. Road debris and other flying objects can injure his eyes.
- Provide your dog exercise before and after your trip. This will help him be more relaxed and able to get used to his new surroundings.
- When stopping for a break and before you open the car door, attach a leash to your dog’s collar so he will not jump out of the car. Even the best-behaved dog can become disoriented when traveling. Always use a leash to walk your dog.
- Stop every four hours or so to allow your dog to potty (be sure to clean up after him), walk around, and have some water.
- Watch for temperature extremes. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.
Plane or Train
- No matter if your dog is in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold, your dog will need to travel in an airline (or train) -approved carrier. Check with the airline (or train) company to make sure you have the appropriate carrier.
- If your dog must go in the cargo compartment, check for restrictions on any health/immunization/size requirements.
- Try to book straight through flights to avoid mix-ups during transfers or the possibility of delays in getting your pet off the plane. See if the airline will let you watch your pet being loaded and unloaded into the cargo hold.
- As soon as you get where you are going, open the carrier once you are in a safe place. Attach a leash to your dog so you can safely examine him. If anything seems wrong, get him to a veterinarian right away.
Please follow these guidelines and your dog will love your family vacation too.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over sixteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.