Taking your puppy on road trips

posted in: Dog | 0

Dogs love road trips, at least most dogs that have acclimatized to traveling in a car, do.  But even for those that don’t like road trips, they can be changed through some patient conditioning. Obviously, the best time to condition your dog for car travel is when they are puppies.

So if you are taking your puppy out for its first car ride, make sure you do not allow it on the driver’s seat. The back seat is best. And use a leash; that is what leashes are for. Or else, put it in a crate or small cage. Do not allow your puppy freedom to run around the inside of the car, because it will start thinking that it owns all the space inside your car and then probably start barking at the passing traffic and everything else. It is best if you have someone like a family member seated at the back of the car to reassure it during the first few times you take it out on a road trip.

Several reminders though:

  • Never leave your puppy in the car without the air conditioning on. There have been many cases of absent minded people leaving their dogs and even kids in the car leading to fatalities.
  • Leave your car windows cracked, but not wide open so that your dog can hang its head out. This stereotype image might be cute in the movies, but it’s dangerous for your doggy, because it can get hurled out of the car should you even brake suddenly or have a minor accident. Flying debris may also pose a danger.
  • If you are going on long road trips, do not leave your puppy unattended in the car, at least not for a long period of time.

dog in car ride

Consider using a seat mat, short leash, and barrier to keep your puppy enclosed at the backseat area of your vehicle. Barriers are not nice looking, but they do come in handy if your puppy is the boisterous type and you want to keep it enclosed behind. You may also give your puppy some toys to play with.

For long trips on the road, you should take along some extra food and water for your puppy and stop at the R&R areas to feed it and let it do a bit of exercise. But always use a leash, and never let your puppy off your watch.

Most dogs eventually get used to traveling by car, and after a while, they will find the experience enjoyable and always look forward to it. A friend’s Shih Tzu always keeps so still and quiet every time we go on a trip together with his dog tagging along, that I asked him how he got his dog to be so well behaved in the car. And his answer was simple – Practice makes perfect.