Training Your Dog to Fly in Cabin: Sherpa ‘s Flying Lessons

Posted by Raja on April 26th, 2013 — Posted in Airplane Safety

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Sherpa... soon to fly!

As we mentioned last post, training a dog to fly in cabin isn’t as easy as zipping her in her airline approved bag and taking off. Everybody tends to resist incarceration- at first. How did Raja get so good at it? We capitalized on his most salient desire- to be a constant companion. It wasn’t too hard for him to piece together being in the bag to being in the car and the plane and the train and the gondola and the horse cab, etc.… with us.

Sherpa, however, as a rescued dog, has some unsatisfactory associations with small carrier confinement… being removed from her crowded first home in a crate, carted about to pet shop chain adoption days, transported to a new foster house, etc (perhaps). So, moving off site in a carrier leads toward worrisome expectations, as her experience has proven. Still, the beauty of reconditioning can lead Sherpa to wonderful new adventures near and far (as we say). Same as with people, for animals to be lead away from their fears towards more autonomy and confidence is always always good. So we’re not just going to let this go and end up with Sherpa kenneled back home when others fly.

Last week we mentioned that she likes to hide in a den. Sherpa continues to run under the couch or the bed now and then. She’s terribly sneaky and cute about it, as her video shows. We can work with this. Clearly, she likes a refuge. So, when she slides into any of her several secret spots, we never drag her out and we treat her emergence as a wonderful event. “Yay, Sherpie!”

And always the travel bag stays out on top of her favorite couch, door always open and her favorite blanket folded on the bottom. Don’t know if you can see the Sherpa Security Cam screen capture, but look closely inside the bag. When she’s home alone and nervous, she slips inside. Success is perhaps possible if we’re careful and don’t make her hate the bag.

Sherpa still doesn’t love riding in the car in her travel bag. We get it that she feels she’s being transported to a new home, and she’s pretty much not having that happen! Occasionally she likes to bark at people when she’s in the bag. Not good form.

So she’s taking it slowly. Sitting in the bag when she wants. Transported to short destinations- being carried around the block in her bag, taken out for a burger, a visit to the car wash, carried into the office supply store for a zip drive- or any random item within 15 feet of the door in case we have to make a quick, loud getaway. We have to quickly turn her away from anyone approaching too quickly or anyone peering in the bag too closely. Raja got the idea of the travel bag fast, but he didn’t have his own baggage to mess with his head. Sherpa’s going to have to summon a whole huge load of trust to get herself on that plane. Can she, will she? Raja’s tapping his paw.

Next post we’ll take you with Cy the agility athlete who is going to earn his C-ATCH championship in just a few days! And then back to Sherpa… does she get on that plane and fly cross-continent, or does her barking earn her a drop off in Utah?

2 Comments »

Comment by Buttercup & Pat

Raja &Helen.. That Sherpa is adorable ,and we have our money on her! … She will become a Raja follower and be a world traveler also!

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Comment by Colette

Awww, what a doll. Looks like she’s come a long way already. it’s alot of work, but the end results are so worth it, and certainly for her. less anxiety and nervousness. Great job.

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 5:51 am

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