Traveling With Puppies In The Car

Dogs are a big part of people’s lives. And more and more establishments like hotels are becoming dog-friendly, which makes travel more accessible for those who like to bring all of their family members on the road – including four-legged ones. But what do you do if your new puppy is afraid of the car? Professional dog trainer Mike Stewart shares how he introduces puppies to the car and helps keeps them safe, comfortable, and unafraid.

Introduction To Vehicles The Wildrose Way : Video Transcript

Mike Stewart: On the road again. We love destination travel with our dogs. So, we have to teach the puppy, or at least acclimate the puppy, to be comfortable in the vehicle when traveling. Well, we don't just start off putting the puppy in the car and riding him around for fear that he might get car sick, and he would have a bad experience. So, we start off with progression. One of the things we've already accomplished is to have the puppy comfortable in the crate because we taught crate training in the home. And we simply move the crate to the vehicle.

We want to start with the puppy with a short ride around the neighborhood. If we detect any fear factor back up. Don't keep doing it, or you could trench the fear. What we would do is allow the puppy merely to just visit the car, walk around inside the vehicle a bit, and play in the car. We can feed the puppy close to the car in proximity. And then we bring the food into the back of the car. Now, we're having a really great experience.

This little puppy's completely comfortable in the crate. And we would be able to close the door and make a short ride around the neighborhood, and just see if the puppy is comfortable. So, let's look at the processes of bringing the pup from the home in the crate all the way to their first ride around your neighborhood.

First acclimating the pup just to get in the car and feel comfortable, the first experience. Have the puppy on a lead and his favorite toy. Doesn't appear too fearful. But it's a little apprehensive. Doesn't want to play with his toy. And so, I'm going to back up a couple of steps just to make sure this pup's comfortable with this situation. What do they like better than their own toy? Food. So, with the distraction of the food, we placed the puppy back into the car and he pays no attention. Now, he's relaxed. His tail is in a good position wagging. He's eating away. No apprehension of the vehicle at all. Take small steps to acclimate your dog to the vehicle.

There's only two ways to safely transport your pup in a vehicle. One is in a crate. And the second is the seatbelt harness. This harness is secured to this little pup. Merely attach the seatbelt and the pup does not become a flying object in case of an impact. You do not want to give a puppy free range inside the vehicle. And second, never leave a puppy unattended in a locked vehicle, or a closed vehicle in hot weather, that can be detrimental to their health. Another dangerous practice is to ride with the windows partially down with the dog hanging his head out. That could be a dangerous thing, if a dog decides to take a jump out the window.

We love our destination dogs. Keep it fun, keep it positive, and you'll be able to take your dog anywhere you go.