Traveling 101

My trip to bring Lucy home from the breeder was more than 2 1/2 hours (of course it decided to downpour that day, so driving through Philly + a  paranoid first-time pet owner = slow trip). We also live a minimum of 2 1/2 hours from our families. All of those factors meant that I was crossing my fingers and toes that Lucy would be a good traveler.

Well, Lucy is more than good – she’s great. From the day we brought her home she’s been a champion traveler  – no real fussing, no whining, no barking. The biggest factor for that? I’m lucky. I’m very lucky to have a dog that is naturally happy (or least not angry…) to be on car rides. However, I’ve also picked up tips over the past few months that make traveling with a puppy or dog much easier.

When I travel with another person, Lucy is always on the back seat in her cage. Always. With her small cage I buckled it in; now with a larger cage it moves around much less even without being buckled in because it’s essentially wedged up against the front seat.

Ok, she may not look happy, but it was the end of a long day!

This keeps Lucy contained and it allows me to focus on the road. There’s nothing more dangerous for the driver, passenger or dog than to have a puppy climbing all over the car while you’re trying to drive. It also gives her a clear view of us so she never feels alone back there.

After Lucy got to be a bit too heavy for me to lift her into her cage in the car, I allowed her to start sitting in the front seat when it was just myself driving. I tested it out on a short drive and she was tremendous; every dog is different, but Lucy is a very happy little passenger.

Facing the wrong way, but whatever.

(Dad, look away now because yes, that is dog hair and drool on the seat)

We never travel more than 2 1/2 hours at a time without taking a break for Lucy. We let her out at a travel stop, make her do her business and walk around a bit. Sometimes it can be a hassle to get out her water bowl, fill it with water and have her drink two sips – or none at all. So to prevent the wasting of water, we take a Lucy-designated water bottle on our trips and let her drink out of the bottle itself; we simply turn it upside down, let the water flow out and let Lucy at it. She loves drinking water this way and there’s a lot less water that goes to waste.

We also travel with a box full of her food, toys and snacks and give her ONE indestructible toy in her cage for the trip. Also, when she was very little I took her collar off when she was in the cage – it can be easy to get it stuck on the side of the cage. Now that she’s older I don’t worry so much (although maybe I should…).

So chalk it up mostly to luck that I have an easy travel buddy, but I’ve learned few things for easier travel along the way. It also helps  that Lucy has the same taste in music that I do. 🙂

Matchbox Twenty’s new CD “North” for those of you who were wondering.

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