Posts Tagged ‘Airline bag training for dogs’

Travel Dogs are Born… and Created

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Meet Sherpa, Raja's new California cousin!

Raja has a new cousin in California, a Tibetan Spaniel Mix named Sherpa. She was rescued from a place with too many dogs and too little attention, lived for a few months in the foster home and just got her new home a week ago. So, Sherpa has a lot to learn about forever homes, trust and really good food. She also has to learn to play and, very importantly, she needs to learn that every car trip is not a trip to a different way station in a shuffled life.

Focusing on the idea of shuffling, although now a permanent family member, Sherpa will be shuffled a lot. She’ll fly back and forth coastally, she’ll go on ski trips by plane and car and she’ll visit the seashore. Who knows, she might become an international travel dog and trot the globe with Raja. Easily.

But for now, cousin Sherpa has to learn to enjoy sitting in an airline travel bag for 8 hours total travel coast to coast. How will she begin?

Most dogs like the security of a den.

First, we discover that Sherpa doesn’t mind refuging in a small den. She likes to go under things. So we got her an airline approved, size-appropriate travel bag and set it out in the living room with her new favorite blanket in it and her newest toy. Sherpa doesn’t mind going in and out. She doesn’t mind sitting in it when she’s by herself either, as her security camera reveals.

But, zipping her in and taking her out and about is going much less well. Sherpa likes to bark at people who get too close to her bag and she claws the mesh when she has to sit in it in the car. Sherpa does best when she’s being carried in the bag and can see lots of sights outside. As long as nobody gets too close, Sherpa will deal with the bumping and swaying. While it’s important to let her know the bag is a place for her, we walk a fine line between comfort and confinement. We want Sherpa to feel secure in the bag, not stuck in the bag. We want her to feel as Raja does: all major adventures start with a comfy snooze in the travel bag and end in a new climate for fun and exploration. Hop in the bag, take a nap, awake to ADVENTURE!

From today, Sherpa has about one month to go from ambivalent to cozy in that airline bag because she’s scheduled for her first transcontinental flight in 30 days. Raja’s first flight was across the continent. We recommend short one hour flights to start out, but Sherpa, like Raja is being asked to get her wings pretty fast.

Can Sherpa do it? We’ll see…