You never know when you’ll have to pack up and take an unexpected trip. The only downside of having a dog is that you often have to leave them behind when you travel. With the right carrier training, you can bring your furry friend with you on a plane, train, or a long car ride.
It’s best to get them accustomed to traveling if you want to avoid unnecessary stress for you and your pup. Road trips and long flights are stressful enough for humans; just imagine the impact it has on your furry-friend.
It’s essential to take the right steps in preparing your pup for emergency travel. This way, you can make sure they’re calm and safe. That said, let’s go over a few essential tips for pet carrier training.
The Pleasant Introduction
If the first time that your dog sees the carrier is when you’re leaving home, it may result in scratching and crying. They’ll likely be frightened that they’re going somewhere in the first place, and being trapped inside a small space won’t help. This is why they must be introduced in a non-intimidating way.
Before you expect your furbaby to travel smoothly in a crate, you want to make sure that he’s accustomed to it. As soon as you buy a carrier, you should introduce it to your furry friend. Instead of placing it in storage, keep it near your dog’s bed or toys.
Put the pet carrier on the floor of your living room, bedroom, or somewhere that they spend a lot of time. Keep the door open so that they can wander in and out as they please. Don’t hover over them, and let them sniff out the situation.
You’ll want your pup to have a positive association with the carrier. One way to make sure that they’re comfortable is to play near it. Sit down next to the crate and play tug-of-war beside it; this way, your dog will know it’s harmless.
Once your pup starts roaming in and out of the carrier on their own, try shutting the door halfway. See how they react. If they seem comfortable, shut it entirely. Make sure to praise your pup and give them a treat when you do this.
Repeat the shutting method a few times over the next few days. Each time you shut it, extend the length of time it’s closed slightly. Your pup might even end up feeling comfortable in the small space.
Training Your Pet to Ride in a Carrier
The best way to train your dog to enter a carrier is to establish a command word or phrase. For example, when you say “go in your carrier,” your pup should make their way. You should always use the same command when you’re training. Switching between commands will lead to frustration and confusion.
Start by using a treat to help build a positive association for the command. When you say, “go in your carrier,” place the treat inside of the carrier. Eventually, your dog will enter without needing an incentive.
Once your furry friend is comfortable with going in and out of the carrier on their own, try moving it. At first, pick up the bag and walk around with him inside. Gradually move outside, maybe just around your backyard or neighborhood.
Before the situation arises that you have to travel, take some short trips, like going for casual strolls. Some people tend to save the carriers for going to the vet or dropping their furbaby off at the sitter. These events can be stressful for your little loved one.
It’s best to take short trips to places that your pet enjoys. Try going for a stroll to the dog park or the beach so they’ll have a positive association. Go for short drives with them still in the carrier. This way, they get used to being around the engine noise somewhere comfortable.
By taking short trips in public, your pooch will get used to being in the carrier while around people. This is an essential step in training, especially if you’re planning on traveling by airplane.
By taking your dog to a park, pet-friendly restaurants, and doggie daycare, you’ll help them to develop essential socialization skills. This will help them feel more comfortable around people, and it reduces their stress during travel.
Prepping for the Journey
As soon as you know that you’ll have to go somewhere, start preparing your pup for the journey. If you’re going to be traveling a long distance, give your four-legged friend plenty of exercise before the trip. Once they’re tired out, they should be able to relax or sleep in the crate.
It’s vital that before you travel, you monitor your dog’s food and water intake. You want to keep them hydrated, but not so much that they have to go potty during the flight. Also, make sure that they’re well-fed. While you think that a snack would keep them comfortable, having food in a carrier poses a severe choking hazard.
Cover the bottom of the carrier with a familiar blanket. If your dog has a favorite pillow or blanket that they sleep on, the smell may comfort them. Put in their favorite toy as well; that way, they have something to snuggle with if they get anxious. Pet life is easier if your furry friend is happy.
A Final Bark
To ensure that your little one is as comfortable as possible, make sure you get the right carrier. Measure your dog or cat from the ground to their shoulders. You also want to make sure it’s long enough. When you’re browsing a popular Pet carriers site, make sure you have their size in mind.
Sometimes, animals are nervous during travel, even if you train them well and follow all of the tips. If your pet is unable to relax in a carrier, talk to a professional. Your veterinarian will be able to assess their health and determine whether or not a sedative is appropriate.