I’m a 170lb St. Bernard and I have a complex. I don’t fit in a bag, nor do I fit in an average crate. I envy the dogs that can travel with the owners in a cab or a train, because Dad won’t let me drive the Prius.
If you have a dog that can fit in a bag or a crate, by all means, take advantage of public transportation and take them everywhere! Socialization is not just about hanging out with dogs at the parks. It’s about exposing them to the us to the beach, we love romping in the sand! Take us hiking in the Adirondacks– we love bouncing through the woods. Take your dog shopping; many shops welcome dogs so long as we are well behaved.
Keep in mind that NYC can be a tough place for dogs, because our capacity to smell is hear is far more pronounced than humans. The city is full of noise and scents, and an urban hound’s olfactory and auditory sensors are constantly challenged in the city. Therefore, preparing your dog to travel in the bag or crate to make sure that it’s a comfortable experience is imperative. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and happy during transport in the train or taxicabs.
● For city travel with small dogs, get a soft, comfortable carrier. For larger breeds or airplane transport, find a hard case crate which is large enough for your dog to stand and circle in the crate.
● Introduce the carrier well in advance before you plan on traveling with your dog. Leave the carrier open and allow your dog to thoroughly sniffspect the item. Place soft towels or blankets in the carrier and make it into a comfortable “den” for your dog. Encourage your dog to go in, and provide treats during this process. Toss treats in the bag to encourage him to go in. You’re showing your dog that bag time means good times. Make a game out of the introduction. Don’t close the crate until your dog is fully comfortable with going in and out of the carrier.
● Once your dog is comfortable with remaining in the carrier, start closing it for short durations. Take your time with this process. You should not open the carrier if he protests. Wait for the moment he is quiet, and release. Repeat this exercise daily.
● Ideally, you should get to the point where he identifies the carrier as his room. Encourage him to sleep or rest in the space.
● On the first day of travel, exercise him a few hours prior to being placed in the carrier. A tired dog will be less anxious, and might even be happy to snooze during transport. To prevent motion sickness, water and food should be provided a few hours prior to travel. Immediately prior to traveling, he should be allowed to eliminate to make sure that his bowels are empty.
● Start traveling with your dog when they are young. The sooner they are exposed to sights, sounds, and scents of the city, the better.
● If your dog is anxious about travelling on the train on the first day, don’t give up. The more you do it, the easier it is going to get for your pup. The trick is to make him understand that getting on the carrier is a good thing– that the destination is a fun location like Dog City! Sooner than later, your dog will be hopping in the bag to go to work with you with a consistent routine.