Whether you and your pup are about to board a flight, head out for a road trip, or just spend the afternoon at your local mall, getting your dog familiar with a pet carrier is an absolute must.
Not only is the pet carrier convenient for you, but, since dogs are naturally den animals, it can actually help your pup to feel safe and secure in their new environment.
I’ve trained several dogs to use the carrier and here’s what I’ll say: It’s important to introduce it in a friendly, non-intimidating way or he’ll just scratch and cry until you unzip the bag and let him free.
Here are some tips to make the carrier experience easier on your dog (and you):
1) Place The Carrier In a Room Where Your Dog Hangs Out
The first step is to introduce your puppy to the pet carrier in a non-intimidating way. So, place the carrier on the floor of your living room, bedroom, or another room where your dog spends a lot of time. With the carrier’s door open, let your pet explore without hovering over him. Let the carrier sit open on the floor for a few days.
2) Make The Carrier a Fun Place
Once your dog is used to seeing the carrier, start putting his stuff in it. A thin blanket, maybe his favorite toy, and even some treats. This will get your dog to walk inside the carrier and realize that it isn’t a scary thing.
3) Try Closing The Door
Once your pooch is going into the carrier on his own, try closing the door for a few seconds and then open it back up before he has time to react. Reward with a yummy treat and plenty of praise. Repeat this step several times over the next day or two, slightly extending the length of time the door is closed each time.
4) Walk Around With Your Pup In The Carrier
Once your dog is comfortable with the carrier door being closed, pick up the bag and walk around with him inside. I recommend trying this in your home, backyard, or neighborhood first. This will help get him used to the motions.
5) Go Out In Public
If you’re planning to use the carrier in airports and other public places then I definitely recommend popping your pooch in his carrier and heading down to the mall or another public place close to your home. This will help get your dog used to being in the carrier while surrounded by other people.