Have dog, will travel. Just make sure your dog is as excited about the trip as you are! Follow these guidelines to teach your dog to love his carrier.
It’s getting increasingly easier to take your dog with you to hotels, cafes, bars, and all kinds of shopping. If subway, train, or even air travel are needed to get there, first you’ll have to teach your pup how to travel comfortably in a bag.
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Kinds of Carriers
Here in New York City, even large dogs are permitted to travel on the subways, provided they are enclosed in a bag, stroller, or crate. Look for a bag that zips fully closed and can handle your dog’s weight. Zipping your dog in the bag ensures he won’t jump or fall out, and also puts dog-averse passengers at ease knowing you’re being a responsible owner. If you must choose the tote-style bag with an opening for the head, ensure the top can close and there is a built-in tether that attaches to the dog’s harness. (For safety, don’t attach the tether to a collar or head halter. Can you imagine the damage to your pup’s neck if he tumbled out?)
Before taking his first ride, your dog needs to learn how to get (and stay) in his carrier. The steps here are just a guide. You may find your dog leaps right into the bag, or on the other end of the spectrum, he might be suspicious of this dog-devouring monster for a while. Work at your dog’s pace, even if it’s slower than you’d like.
How to Teach It
After a few rides to the park, your dog will learn that the travel bag and even the noisy train are to be loved, not feared. Happy travels!
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an accomplished author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY. Her books, articles, and videos cover everything from house-training to leash aggression.