Public transit can be hectic for us all, but bringing a pet with you is a whole new experience. I am going to share the time leading up to the trip, the metro ride itself, and some public transit tips for you and your pet.
Some of you might know our dog Sadie. She is extremely anxious and fearful but has had some improvement since we adopted her a few months ago. We do simple training sessions each day to give her confidence and learn how to respond to us. In the weeks leading up to our planned trip on the metro we did carrier bag training in our home. Sadie was super responsive to the training. She just hung out in the bag and was really relaxed in the bag. We walked around our home with her in the bag, partial closed, working up to the point where she was fully enclosed in the bag. When she was comfortable with that, we did training in our yard with her getting in and out of the bag.
The day of our trip
We thought she was ready, more so, I thought I was ready to bring an anxious dog into a very public environment. As it turns out, neither of us were ready for that trip. Outside of the metro, Sadie had a difficult time on getting into the bag as there were many distractions and she was too curious. We walked around the metro station building so she could adapt to the busy atmosphere and explore the new smells outside. The physical exercise was also a way to lower her stress levels.
Eventually we got her into the bag and onto the metro train. She cried and whined for the duration of ride. We give her a dental stick to chew on (her favourite) but even that could not distract her. When we got outside again and unzipped the bag, she couldn’t get out quick enough. She shook herself off and continued to walk with a wagging tail.
Meeting her new friend
Sadie has not be good with meeting other dogs (we are working on that with her) and we were slightly worried about her meeting a cat. She was so friendly towards Sterling, and even give him a little space for him to warm up to her. Overall, Sadie did really well with the meet. For her to be in a new environment, she was really relaxed and playful. We are so proud of her. It was important for us to keep Sadie on her schedule while visiting a friend so it didn’t cause any extra stress. She ate at her normal time and had a walk around the same time as usual. While at our friend’s place we did some simple training and carrier bag training. We did this in the hopes that the carrier bag would be a positive association again.
Journey back home
Sadie was a lot quicker on getting into the bag on the trip home. It was later at night and there wasn’t as many distractions for her. She was doing really well for the first few stations. All of a sudden a large crowd of people filled the train as a nearby sports game ended. Sadie freaked. She barked, cried, and was scratching at the inside of her bag. As I faced her away from all the people, I hugged her through the bag to provide her with some comfort. We only stayed on for a few stations and got off because her stress level was getting to high. She calmed down as soon as she was out of the bag. We walked the rest of the way home (not too far) and she was completely relaxed on the walk home.
The stress on the trip back could have easily been avoided if we planned our trip better. We are going to continue with carrier bag training to encourage a positive association.
Tips that will create a less stressful trip:
#1: Plan your trip and times to ensure you avoid stressful situations
#2: Really reinforce when they are doing good in the carrier bag
#3: Continue training after the trip to reinforce positive things
Good luck on your journey! Feel to tag us on Instagram @CraftLoveCraftLife with pictures of your pets on public transit. Share your experience on Facebook (CraftLoveCraftLife).
Guest Post by: Rebecca Ewing