As obsessed dog parents, we want to take our dogs everywhere with us. But how can we make the process smooth? For little kids, a bribe of a new toy may do the trick. For dogs, it’s not that easy…
We’re talking public transit. subways, taxis, ubers, and planes. These aren’t always the most dog-friendly modes of transportation.
A few years ago a new law was passed requiring dogs to be in bags while traveling on the subway… and NYC dog parents got creative. 👇
But if we want to travel on Amtrak trains or planes with our dogs, the IKEA bag won’t cut it. So, how do we get our dog not just in their carriers, but doing it excitedly and on their own? We’re going to walk you step-by step through the process.
Step 1: Create a Positive Association
This is pretty self-explanatory, but some of us may only put our dogs in their carrier when they’re going to the vet or groomers, or rush them in when we need to get out the door. In order for our dogs to be excited about their bag, we need to create an exciting experience.
You’ll want to start by putting the bag out in your home, and let them explore. Reward your dog for approaching, sniffing, and especially if they jump in!
Dog Trainer Tip: Put a blanket or towel in the carrier and some tasty treats and let them explore and find treasures on their own. This will get them REALLY excited.
Ever since you taught “paw,” your dog decided that “sit” means “sit” and offers ‘paw’ juuuust in case of bonus praise.” Tricks are fun for our pets! When we make “go in your bag” the most exciting thing for us to watch them do, they’re going to want to show off. Toss a treat in the carrier, and when your dog puts their paw/s in the bag, mark with a verbal “yes! Good dog!” and reward.
Once your dog is consistently putting at least one paw in the bag, then work on getting both front paws, then back paws. Bring your rewards farther and lure them to step all the way in.
*Tip: don’t start telling your dog “in your bag” or whatever your verbal command will be until they are consistently getting all four paws in the bag and staying until released. You don’t want your dog to think “in your bag” means to tap it with one paw, or to jump in and out quickly. You want to start using the verbal command when they actually start to understand what they’re doing, so as to create an association with the correct fully-performed behavior.*
Step 3: Get Cozy!
Once your dog is bouncing in and out of their bag with ease, you’ll want to add in a “settle” or “down” command. Once the dog is in, lure them down and toss a treat in the carrier with them. Work on laying in the carrier before you zip/lock them in so that they don’t get scared, and so that laying in the carrier doesn’t mean they’re automatically getting zipped up.
They also have matching bags for you too! To check out this style of the bag (which comes in a bunch of different colors) click here. (Price: $149)
Step 4: Zip it up!
Give your dog their command and lure them in their carrier, then practice zipping the carrier and picking it up. Take a few steps and put them down, so they’re not overwhelmed by too much commotion.
Once again, we’re bringing back the positive association! When your dog is comfortable in the carrier and being picked up in it, bring them somewhere fun! Go to the pet store to get a bully stick, bring them to the dog park, go get a puppuccino from Starbucks, or go see their favorite friend. Doing more activities your dog loves will make the carrier something they look forward to!
Looking to have a cozy bag, luxury bag designer, Max Bone has got you covered. Check it out here. (Price: $295)
Congrats! Your dog now loves their carrier, you’re less stressed, and you’ve got more opportunities to take your best friend with you in your travels. Good luck!