Prepare Your Dog for a Summer Vacation Plane Flight
I was at my first Home Dog Training session with a new client and his Yorkie named Mork in Victoria Park. In most respects, Mork was a pretty good dog. He knew his commands, didn’t steal food, walked on the leash well for my client, and was a generally well behaved member of the family. Because he was a rescue and had been from home to home to home; he had some separation anxiety issues. I explained to my client that separation anxiety in dogs was one of the more challenging issues to resolve. But, I also said that it can be cured if he is willing to follow our simple process. He was all for working through the process and we saw some very promising results the first day. As we were finishing up, he mentioned that the family was going on a summer vacation trip to California and Mork was going to come with them on the plane. What were my suggestions?
I explained that getting a dog ready for a plane is not something that can be done overnight. Like most behavioral issues and socialization requirements with dogs, it requires time, patience, and consistency. Mork must be completely prepared for the situation before my client gets in that scary, cramped seat. It is often scary for “us humans” who have traveled many times before. Just think of what it must be like for our dog!
My client said that their trip was in about four weeks and I said that should be enough time to prepare Mork. I suggested:
- Be sure you have an approved and appropriate carrier for your dog. Contact the airlines you will be using and ask them for the proper specifications for the dog carrier. Most Dog Carriers that are “airline approved” will have that clearly stated on the actual carrier or the documentation.
- Be sure to double check on the size of dog the airlines will allow in the cabin. Ask for all specifications you will need to confirm. Different airlines have different rules and they can change from time to time.
- Airlines have a specific number of dogs they allow on any. Make sure that you have a confirmed space for your dog.
- Start to socialize your dog with the dog carrier by placing him in it for short times during the day. Increase the time that he spends in the carrier and carry it around the house. Take him to public places and carry him around in the crate. This will simulate your carrying him through the airport.
- Put him in his carrier, walk from one room to the next, sit down, and put him at your feet. Next, read a book for an hour or two to simulate the flight.
- Make sure that your dog has toys and other distractions in his carrier to keep him busy and to stimulate his mind.
- We don’t want a “poopy accident” while on the plane. Feed him far in advance of the flight and make sure he had gone to the bathroom.
- If he still seems fearful of these actions as you approach your flight day, try giving him Bach Flowers Rescue remedy or a relaxant prescribed by your Veterinarian before you board the plane. (This is the equivalent of all the nervous human passengers hanging out at the bar next to the boarding gate.)
When it comes to a plane flight with your dog, preparation and socialization are the clear keys to success. If you are worried about your dog, you can always give us a call at (954) 242-0170. We have a lot more dog training tips at Best Dog Trainers Victoria Park South Florida. You can contact us directly by going to Dog Training Help Center Victoria Park South Florida.
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