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Hints for a Stress Free Trip Home with My New Puppy

QUESTION: Iím getting a new puppy in a few weeks and the breeder lives about three hours from my house. Do you have any good hints for a stress free trip home?

ANSWER: Yes, before you pick him up, send a blanket or large towel to the breeder and ask them to put it in with the mother and pups for the last week or so until you pick him up. Dogs use their sense of smell as their main way of identifying people and places. By using the blanket or towel, this will allow you to carry a familiar and comforting sent home with you and give Spot a reassuring smell that he knows and trusts.

If you are planning to transport your new puppy home in a crate, ask the breeder to introduce him to one for a few days before you pick him up.

Make plans to bring your puppy home over a long weekend or when you are able to take a few vacation days. You should really spend at least two days with your new puppy to get him used to his new home. 

Ask a good friend to go with you to pick him up. This way your friend can drive and you can give your complete attention to the puppy. 

Ask your breeder not to feed your puppy on the day you will be bringing him home. This can help to prevent carsickness. The trip, any strange sights, sounds, and smells can be frightening to a puppy. Before you leave to return home, check with your breeder to be sure they didnít forget your request. 

Take a few extra minutes to let your puppy get used to your car before you start your drive home. Just in case, cover your upholstery with something because even if you take every possible precaution, puppies can get carsick. Be prepared. A role of paper towels, some all purpose cleaner and a plastic bag should do it. 

Before you begin your trip home, take about fifteen minutes to play with your puppy. It is important for your puppy to get to know you before you begin the trip. It will also allow him to burn off a little excess energy. 

During the trip home, if your puppy whines or cries, don't punish him or coddle him. Punishment will only make him afraid of you, and coddling will only reinforce the whining behavior. Just give him a pat on the head and reassure him that heís OK. This should diffuse the situation. For longer trips, stop for bathroom breaks and stretching about every 45 minutes.

When traveling, remember to keep your puppy away from rest areas and other places that may be frequented by other dogs. Until he has been fully vaccinated, he can very easily catch many puppy diseases.

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