Dogs love to travel as much as people do. Pet owners also feel they need to take their dogs with them whenever they travel.
However, taking dogs along on travels can be challenging. You must think of a way to keep them secure and beside you.
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This is when a pet carrier can be a great help. Pet carriers are designed to help you carry pets wherever you go.
Not all dogs will adjust to a pet carrier right away. Getting your dog used to the carrier may take some time and effort.
Many people wonder, ‘how do I make my dog comfortable with my pet carrier?’. If that is a question you ask yourself, we can help you to find the answer.
Here we explain how you can make your dog feel at ease in a pet carrier so that you can take it along with you on your travels.
Whether you want to take your dog on a cross-country road trip or want to take it to a convenience store, a pet carrier can be helpful.
It helps keep your furry friend safe and sound while you enjoy your travels. You must first let your dog feel comfortable in the carrier to take it with you. Here are the steps you can take to do this.
1. Introduce The Carrier and Identify Your Dog’s Comfort Level
If this is the first time your dog will use a pet carrier, then it will take longer to adjust to it.
First, introduce the carrier to your dog. Keep it on the floor where your dog can come and not only see but smell it.
Your dog will safely explore the bag, which will help it get used to it. Keep the bag sideways so your dog can quickly get into it and explore further.
Make sure that it explores the pet carrier under your supervision.
2. Start At A Very Young Age
Anything you introduce to your dog at a very young age will help it adapt to it quickly. It is the same for a pet carrier. Start using a pet travel carrier when it is in the puppy stage. It will help your puppy get acclimated to it.
Let your puppy sleep in the pet carrier at night. It will help it get more used to it while still at home. Therefore, your puppy will gradually feel comfortable leaving home in a carrier because it is already familiar with it.
Your puppy will start feeling that the carrier is its den.
3. Keep The Carrier Where Your Dog Can See
One of the most crucial steps in getting your dog used to the carriers is to prevent it from getting intimidated. To do this, you need to keep the carrier in a place where your dog hangs out often.
When your dog sees the carrier each time it passes by, it gets inquisitive and wants to find out more about it. It might explore the carrier too.
You may need to keep the carrier open for a few days in a place your dog hangs out a lot. It could take a few days for your dog to get the courage to go and explore the carrier.
Once you get used to seeing the carrier often, any fear it had related to the carrier goes away, and your dog may feel more comfortable with it.
4. Create A Positive Association With The Carrier
Your dog must continue to have a positive association with the carrier. It helps to encourage your dog to use the carrier more often.
One of the best ways to do this is to associate food and treats with the carrier. You can feed your dog meals in the carrier and even give it treats to encourage it to use the carrier more often and help it feel more comfortable.
Occasionally, you can reward your dog with treats for staying inside the carrier instead of full meals.
You can also make the carrier a fun and comfortable space for your dog by putting on your dog’s favorite blanket or plush toy.
It helps your dog associate the carrier with things it loves and enjoys, helping it feel more comfortable with it.
5. Put A Familiar Scent Inside
Dogs have sensitive noses and feel comfortable with familiar scents, especially of their owner and family.
Therefore, your dog will feel more comfortable if you put a familiar scent inside it. It will remind your dog of you and put it at ease inside the carrier.
To do this, you can wear an old t-shirt or blanket. These will have your scent on them, reassuring your dog when traveling with you inside the carrier.
6. Close The Door With Your Dog Inside
Call your dog to the pet carrier and give it a treat. Say ‘bag’ or ‘crate’ and point to the carrier while you have another treat.
If your dog enters the carrier, praise it and give it a treat. If your dog is too tiny to climb the carrier by itself, you can carry it and put it inside.
Remember to praise your dog and give it lots of treats if it enters the carrier by choice. Close the pet carrier for a few seconds and open it back soon before your dog starts whining or crying.
Praise it more and give it more treats for doing a great job with the pet carrier. Repeat this procedure until your dog sits quietly and calmly inside the carrier for at least five to ten minutes.
7. Take Your Dog In The Carrier For Test Walks And Drives
Once your dog is comfortable staying inside a closed carrier for at least five to ten minutes, it’s time to take it for a round inside the house.
Zip your dog inside the carrier and take it around the house to stimulate the traveling experience and to make them feel comfortable moving around in the carrier.
It will prepare your dog for the journey ahead, for which it would have to get used to traveling in a carrier.
8. Watch For Bad Behavior
You need to watch for your dog’s behavior inside the carrier. Set clear boundaries around how your dog should act inside the carrier.
You need to make them understand early that they shouldn’t bite, chew, or scratch the carrier. You should discipline any negative behavior of your dog, which includes barking.
9. Be Prepared To Experiment
You should not be afraid to experiment with your dog in the carrier to make it get used to the new experience.
Each dog is different and will have different needs for getting acclimated to something new.
Try taking your dog out to your backyard or the neighborhood in the carrier, and see how it responds. Once your dog responds well, it may be ready to go on road trips and travel by air.
10. Go On A Trip
Once your dog is fully acclimated to the carrier, it is time to take it on a trip. You can try going to one of your dog’s favorite locations.
A dog park or the beach is an excellent place to take your dog on a small excursion. Once it does well on these trips, you can take it on longer distances.
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If your dog refuses to go inside the carrier, feed them in front of it. Keep the plate in front of the carrier and give them their meal there.
After your dog gets comfortable, you can put the plate inside the pet carrier. Start by just passing the door, then the middle, and deep inside the carrier.
This entire process can take a few days to weeks to accustom, especially for nervous dogs. However, your dog will ultimately get accustomed to the carrier and will be willing to go inside it.
Here are a few more tips to help your dog become more comfortable in a pet carrier.
- Make the carrier a fun and safe place with interesting things and things that your dog loves.
- Walk around the house daily with your dog in the carrier.
- Add items belonging to you inside the carrier so that your dog will feel more safe and familiar with it.
- Gradually increase the time they stay inside the carrier when getting used to it.
- Keep your dog locked inside the carrier while you are away.
- Do not leave your dog in the carrier with a collar on. Even the vibration collar for dogs is not meant to be worn inside a carrier.
Staying in a carrier might feel intimidating for a dog, especially at the beginning. However, with time and practice, you can make your dog feel comfortable inside a carrier.
Be patient and take one step at a time. Remember that familiarity breeds comfort, so keep something of yours inside the carrier. Keeping your dog’s favorite toy or blanket inside the carrier would also be helpful.
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1. Are Dogs Comfortable In Pet Carriers?
A: Pet carriers are safe and comfortable places for dogs to travel. Finding a carrier for your dog’s size and making it comfortable while staying inside it is essential.
2. Does My Dog Need To Be Able To Stand In The Carrier?
A: Most dogs may not be able to stand up fully inside a carrier, which is fine. However, your dog should be able to turn around comfortably inside the carrier.
3. How Do I Calm My Dog In A Pet Carrier?
A: Practicing at home is vital to get your dog used to staying inside a carrier. You can keep your dog’s favorite toy or blanket inside the carrier to calm it down and make it feel comfortable.