A dog can be a really great traveling companion:

  • They will listen to all of your jokes and banter without complaining
  • They won’t argue with you about which way to go or force you to ask for directions

Need more reasons to travel with dogs? Man, I don’t need anymore 🙂

However, unless your dog is properly trained to ride in your vehicle with you, it can make for an annoying ride or one that is even dangerous for you and your dog. Your dog needs to be either properly trained to ride in the car or either restrained.

1. Train your dog on short trips

To start off, it is best to take your dog on short trips where you do not need to get out of your car. For example, taking your dog with you to McDonald’s or to a fast food restaurant where you can use the drive through, is a good way of to get started and to get the dog acclimated to riding in a car.

This will give your dog some exposure to riding in the car with you without having to get out or without you leaving them in the car by themselves.

If your dog is not yet trained, you want to make sure that your dog is in their crate or is strapped in using a pet harness, which is generally anchored into a seatbelt.

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2. Start taking your dog to longer trips

After you have broken in your dog a little bit with shorter trips, it is OK to start taking them on longer ones. However, you will need to ensure that you are properly prepared.

Pack a bag for them that will include treats, water and food. You also may want to bring some toys, any medication that they need or any other necessary products.

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Make sure that if the trip is especially long, that you stop and take some breaks so that your dog can get out, go to the bathroom, drink some water and stretch their legs a bit.

When you are getting out of a car and you have your dog, hold the leash very tightly and snap it and so that the dog cannot run into traffic, run after another animal or dog. This could put them in harm’s way.

3. Always tag your dog

When you are traveling with your dog, always make sure that they have their tags with your contact information in case something happens.

Add your cell phone number if you are going to be on the road so that you can retrieve your dog, if necessary.

travel dog

4. Beware when sitting the dog on the front seat

If you are going to allow your dog to sit in the front seat, you will want to make sure that they know how to behave.

travel dog in a car

Just like you would train them for the house, you will need to train them to sit in your front seat without being a nuisance.

Provide them with positive reinforcement when they behave properly. Redirect, ignore or interrupt them when they act in a way that is inappropriate or dangerous.

There is little doubt that you have seen many dogs drive alongside their owners with their heads sticking out the window. Even though this may be cute, it is not very good thing to do. Dust, debris and wind can get into your dog’s eye, causing them to become dry.

They also can be hurt or even killed. Instead, your dog should be sitting or lying down in their crate or in a harness.

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