Return to Paws Across America Index.

Bash Dibra


Pets, People, Parks

Press Clippings


Fieldston Pets

NYC Vets

Pet Adoption

Cyber Heaven

Contact Us


Star Pet

Other Links

Problem:  Rob and Jane live in New York, and a special work assignment means that in two months they'll leave for Denver, where they'll live for six months or so. Naturally, they want to take their five-year-old standard poodle, Beau, with them. They have made all of the proper arrangements with the airline, have purchased the necessary crate, and have had Beau checked out by their veterinarian, but are very concerned about how the dog will react to the trip. Whenever they go away they leave Beau with Jane's mother, who lives nearby, so he's never traveled before or been in a crate or cage.

Owners are wise to recognize that an older dog is quite set in its ways and will need some conditioning in order to withstand an airline trip with no major upset. Not only does it need to become used to staying quietly in a crate, but it will also have to learn to tolerate loud noises and strange people all around.

Some dogs will have no trouble adjusting to air travel, but if your dog is nervous or easily upset you'll have to go very slowly to keep the entire experience on a positive note. If the steps below don't seem to be working, or you are particularly concerned about your dog for some reason, be sure to consult with your veterinarian, who may feel it would be wise to tranquilize your pet.

  • Place the carrying case somewhere in the house and leave it, door open, in a spot where the dog can get into it and explore it.

  • If the dog shows no interest in exploring the inside of the case, put a favorite toy or food treat way in the back.

  • Once the dog has become used to going into the case and backing right out, close it in the case for a few minutes while you stay in the room.

  • If the dog becomes upset with the door closed, sit on the floor next to the case and pet the dog, talking soothingly. Let it out before it becomes panicky--you don't want the dog to associate an unpleasant experience with the carrying case.

  • After a time, depending on how the dog reacts, put a favorite toy, chewy, or food treat in the case and leave the room while the dog is in the case. At this point many dogs will go to sleep, but if your dog begins to protest, go back, talk soothingly, and try to persuade it to stay in the case a while longer. Remember to keep everything pleasant. Don't scold the dog or yell at it--you want it to get to the point when it will accept the case calmly.

  • If you have a station wagon or have access to one, it is very helpful if you can take the dog for a drive in the case so it can become accustomed to motion.

  • It's also important for a dog to become used to crowds and noise, especially if it's led a fairly sheltered life. Take the dog on a short leash into malls, crowded streets, railroad stations--wherever there's loud noise, confusion, and lots of people coming and going. Stop, make the dog Focus on you, and talk soothingly to it the minute you sense it's becoming frightened or nervous.

  • Ideally, if you live near enough to an airport and your pet seems to require more conditioning, take the dog to the airport in the travel case for a trial run or two. If you can get permission, put the case on the baggage belt and let it go around a few times. The dog will learn that nothing bad is going to happen to it and that you will be there to greet it after the trip.

  • On the day of the trip keep things calm and matter-of-fact. Allow ample time to get to the airport so you're not breathless and rushed. If you're at all anxious, your dog will sense it and become anxious too. Give your dog a favorite toy or something to chew on during the trip.
[ Bash Dibra ] [ Book Store ] [ Pets, People & Parks ]
[ Press Clippings ] [ Events ] [ Fieldston Pets ] [ NYC Vets ]
[ Adoption ] [ Cyber Heaven ] [ Contact Us ] [ Articles ]
[ Make Your Pet A Star [ Other Related Links ]