New puppy question

just_imagineApril 25, 2013

We'll be bringing a new (8 week old) puppy home next week and are trying to decide what is the best and safest way to transport him. It will be a 2-3 hour drive. My heart is saying to hold him in my lap and cuddle/comfort him while my DH drives. My head is telling me to put him in a small travel crate in the back of the car where he'll be safe but lonely and probably scared. Does anyone have a better solution or suggestion?

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We had a similar situation about 15 years ago, but our travel time was about 5 or 6 hours.

We spent a while playing with the puppy before we even got ready to leave the breeders so she would know our scent. We put a halter on her and put her into a cat carrier (didn't have a dog carrier) we had lined with sheep skin and that my husband had jerryrigged so that you could open from the top. The first half hour or so was pathetic because she was scared silly and all she did was cry and whine. It broke our hearts. Can't say that we blamed her because it was the first time away from her parents and litter mates.

After stopping and letting her walk around on a leash (which really was more of a new toy for her) and do her business, and of course, more cuddlng and playing, I ended up sitting in the back seat with the carrier and occasionally would put my hand inside and just rest it on her head and back and she would calm. She finally fell asleep and slept almost the whole way home. To the day she passed she always loved going for rides in either of our cars, our boat and our motorhome but had a routine........she had to ride shotgun! No more back seat for her! Of course, the routine included getting her to move to the back seat. She was a huge GS and getting her to move wasn't always the easiest thing to do. But it really was just a game for her.

Personally I would never ever travel with an animal that is loose in the vehicle. You don't know how your new pup will react. If you're getting your puppy from a breeder (if it is a breeder) I would be in contact with them and get their suggestions on how to safely travel with the new little one. You might also contact your vet if you already have one and ask them. If you don't already have a vet yet it still might be a good idea to contact one and ask.

The very best with your new puppy.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:55AM
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The best reason not to travel with a pet in your arms in the front seat is that if the air bag goes off in an accident the pet may be crushed by the impact, or be flung loose and seriously injured. Would you ride with a child in your arms in the front seat?

I like Jenna's solution --- secure the crate in the back seat and ride back there yourself so that you can comfort your new friend to her (or your!) heart's content.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Thank you, Jenna and Poco, for your comments. Very much appreciated. I bought a carrier/crate today and will plan on sitting in the back with our new baby, offering comfort as needed! Will also check with the breeder to see if she has suggestions. This will be our third time to have a puppy but first time with long distance driving. As I recall, the first few nights with a new puppy can be very long ones!

Jenna, what type of dog was your GS?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:22PM
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She was what is called (I believe the term is right) an old style German Shepherd. Her name was Love, and she was. She grew to be a huge, huge girl! I miss her to this day.

What kind of puppy are you getting?


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Some dogs hate crates, some dont mind them some love them Let your dog tell you what it likes. The best way to handle this is to take the new puppy for a walk BEFORE you get into the car. This will establish you are a dominant member of your dogs pack and tire out your new addition, Good luck

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 12:43AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Riding in the back next to your new puppy's crate is a great idea. Also I'd buy a good fitting harness for him to wear in the car, possibly one of those soft stretchy fabric ones, maybe two different sizes to be assured that one will fit him correctly. Pups can't wriggle out of a harness as easily as slipping a collar if he were to become frightened en route. And if you make pit stops along the way, this is a safer means of walking the pup.

I'd also recommend packing a roll of paper towels, water, plastic bags, and an additional crate mat or towel/blanket for the crate, in case your baby becomes car sick.

I would pack drinking water and a dish too.

Another thing I always do with any dog is to be sure he is wearing a collar tag with both my cell phone number and my home phone, in case the unthinkable should happen and your dog should get away from you and become lost.

Congratulations on your new puppy, and I hope the trip goes well!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Excellent ideas from everyone - thanks so much. A harness with a tag makes good sense, along with water, towels etc. Jenna, our puppy is a miniature schnauzer. I was thinking your GS might be a giant schnauzer - but German Shepard makes more sense!
One more puppy question - we're naming the puppy Gunner after his father. Which spelling do you prefer - Gunner or Gunnar?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:32PM
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Spell it like his dad....a junior is a junior.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:29PM
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    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:27AM
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Every pet is different in the car. Some love a car ride and do great, some get sick.

I've had pets positively turn green in a 5 minute car ride. (Labs). Plan on having lots of newspaper in the back seat. And there are some dogs that think its the greatest thing in the whole world and want their head out the window taking in the whole world. (don't roll it down all the way so that they can't jump out).

Use good human judgement.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:29AM
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First, congratulations on your new puppy! We will also be adding a pup (Brittany) but not until June 9th. And we will have to make the trip from NC to NJ with it! So I chuckled at your "long distance" driving! Your breeder is your best source of info--they know what the pup has been exposed to (it should have had car trips to the vet for shots unless the vet does home visits). My breeder did say that you should not let the puppy out to "go" where there has been lots of other dog traffic, ie. rest areas. She recommended bringing antibacterial wipes to clean its paws after being outside since their immunity to parvo is not 100% yet. Also limit water--more water, more need to pee! And a small chew toy to have in the crate.
Best wishes--we almost went w/the min. schnauzer, just worried about the clipping and we have a pet bird. Cute little dogs, though.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:57PM
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You're so right, Cindy, that some dogs do better in cars than others. We had a dog once who would have LIVED in our car if we had let her.

Brenda, good point about stopping at rest areas enroute and using antibacterial wipes on paws. Can't be too careful with these little ones. Best of luck with your Brittany. They're beautiful dogs.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:35PM
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I would definitely use the crate in the back of the car. Ideally it would have been great to ask the breeder to purchase the proper size crate and let the pup get used to being in it before your trip home with him. I would think a caring breeder would have no problem helping you that way.

I would not rely on a car harness as I tried one on my 4 month old pup when I got him and to this day I have no idea how he managed to get out of it, but he did six different times. I fiddled and fiddled with the straps trying to adjust them just right but nothing worked.

Sitting in the back with him in the crate sounds like the best way to handle it. Never thought about wiping the dog's paws after being in such public area before, but that's a great idea.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 4:05PM
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