Last week, we traveled from Dayton Ohio to Madison Wisconsin because of some family business. Of course Mr. Tyler came with us! Tyler already has some experience traveling–he flew with me from Phoenix when I adopted him. But we had not yet taken him on a long trip by car.
TRAINING FOR CAR TRAVEL
We knew this trip was going to happen, but we didn’t know the timing. So for the past couple of weeks–since Tyler joined our family–we’ve taken him in the car with us on errands when the opportunity presented itself. Tyler is a puppy, with a puppy’s energy and curiosity, and we knew he would need to be somehow confined to ride safely. If we had more time, we might have tried training him to one of the many varieties of doggie seat belts. But we knew that for a long trip (8 hours) on short notice we would have better luck if we crated him.
Tyler trained for our road trip in his Sherpa bag (with the top zipped closed, of course).
Our training consisted of short trips with Tyler in Bailey’s old Sherpa bag–it’s the biggest size so he had lots of room. The bag has a strap along the side that can be hooked over the extended handle of a rolling suitcase or through which a car seat belt can pass to secure the bag to the seat of the car. The weather has been hot, so when we did our errands with Tyler one of us always remained in the car with him to make sure he didn’t get overheated. Tyler objected to being confined by treating us to a puppy song that sounded surprisingly like a kitty cat, but after the first few minutes he quieted down and accepted the fact that he was not in control of his destiny.
And he didn’t get car sick!
WHAT WE PACKED (FOR TYLER)
- Wet wash cloth and towel–to clean paws after going potty at germ-infested roadsides.
- Loaded (with kibble) Kongs®
- Tyler’s favorite toys
- Leash + poop bags
- Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy and Iams Puppy Biscuits–enough for a week
- Food and water dishes
- A “loose” babygate
- Carpet cleaner (in case of accidents)
- Our Sherpa bag (for quick excursions)
- A couple of fabric pee pads
- Some photos of Tyler, in case he got lost
- Updated ID tag on Tyler’s collar that included my cell phone number and information on where we were staying.
- Tyler’s crate, bedding, and favorite pillow
TYLER IN THE CAR
Ready to travel!
Tyler would be riding on the back seat in his crate. The day we left, I wedged his crate as close as possible to the front seats so that we could easily keep an eye on him and so that he would not feel so isolated. I used our suitcases on the floor to give the crate stability. And I wedged several pillows between the crate and the seat back to keep the crate in place. I was lucky that the middle seat belt doesn’t have a shoulder strap–so it easily secured the crate to the seat. I was also lucky that the opening of the crate was on the passenger’s side, not the driver’s side.
Tyler takes time out from his duties as co-pilot to chew on his Kong.
In case I had to pull over on the Interstate to deal with a puppy emergency, I would be using the car door away from the traffic. And (ultimate horror!) if the stinker managed to slip past me and dart out of the car he would not be jumping directly into traffic.
TYLER AS A HOUSEGUEST
Before we hit the road, we double checked with our hostess that it was alright to bring Tyler along. We were very clear that Tyler was not completely housebroken yet.
Tyler's new friend, Buddy.
Our hostess has a Cocker Spaniel, and she was very happy to welcome Tyler as a guest–in spite of his being potty-challenged. And much as I tried to set Tyler up for success, he had some accidents–which we made sure got cleaned up. Before we left, we also made sure that all of Tyler’s poops were cleared from the yard.
Tyler finds a crate-like spot to catch a snooze
As I moved our stuff into the bedroom that Tyler and I would share, I looked closely for things that Tyler might get into–anything chewable on the floor, electrical cables, etc.–and moved them out of reach. I didn’t notice that there was “crawl space” under some of the furniture until I missed Tyler one night at bedtime. I found him nearly asleep under a chest of drawers!
That handy babygate!
Mealtimes presented a challenge because each dog was on a different food for specific needs. During mealtimes, Tyler and I stayed in our room where I tried to convince Tyler his food was just as good as Buddy’s. Tyler and Buddy had a great time playing, and the babygate came in handy when we needed to control either dog’s access to the other.
Tyler's home away from home.
Tyler felt right at home–surrounded by dear friends–with his crate handy for an easy escape when he got tired of all the noisy goings-on. Having the Sherpa bag with us allowed us to bring Tyler along if we went anywhere in the car.
Tyler and Buddy: big rest after big play!
Though it was a sad occasion, we had a wonderful visit with our family, and Tyler had a very positive experience.
What do you do when you travel with your pet?