Photo: NeedPix

Now that you have decided on what kind of dog you want, you should equip yourself with all the accessories you need to have fun with your new pet. Most places do not allow dogs to walk around freely, even when on a leash. Thankfully, dog carriers make it easy for dog owners to bring along their pets wherever they go.

Whether you are taking your dog to the veterinary clinic or the airport for a flight, you will find that a carrier is one of the most important accessories you will own for your pet. Carriers can also be used when you are house training your puppy or as a quiet place for your dog to retreat to when he wants to sleep. It is important to get a carrier that is the correct size for your dog.

The size of the dog carrier depends greatly on the type of dog you are purchasing it for. It is not advisable to use a small carrier to transport a big dog and vice versa. Your dog should be able to stand up without hunching his head or his shoulders and should be able to lie down comfortably.

However, getting your dog acquainted with a carrier may not be an easy task. This could occur for various reasons. Perhaps your dog may not like small spaces or may not find the carrier comfortable enough. Here are some ways you can help your dog enjoy travelling in the carrier.

•  Using Treats

Try placing a doggy treat or your dog's favourite toy in the carrier. This will entice your dog to enter the carrier on his own. Once inside, he may even consider exploring the space as well. You can also try placing your dog's blanket or a sheet it has played with inside the carrier.

That will help the carrier smell more familiar and will make the carrier comfy as well.

•  Practice Makes Perfect

If your dog decides to lie down in the carrier, try closing the door and see how his reacts. Talk to your dog calmly when it he is inside the carrier and do not ignore him if he starts to whine or bark.

If your dog appears uncomfortable or scared, open the door and let him out. Try again another time when your dog is in a relaxed, laid-back mood. If you are preparing for a major trip, try doing this regularly a few times before he the trip to get your dog accustomed to the carrier.

You can try taking your dog in the carrier for short car rides so he will be used to travelling in it. Make sure the carrier is locked properly and that it remains locked when you are travelling. Only unlock the carrier when you are in an environment that is safe for you and your dog.

•  Refrain From Using Force

Whatever method you decide to use, never force your dog into the carrier. This will only worsen his fear of the carrier and make things harder for you when you need to travel. Do not try to rush the process as well, as dogs take their own time to get used to things.

Once your dog is accustomed to its carrier, you'll find the outings much more pleasurable.  

* This article was updated on 10 July 2020. It first appeared in Pets Magazine, 29 Aug 2015