Bringing puppy home?

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Christine1992's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-19

Hey everybody!
The big day is coming up...I'm picking up my 9-week old Doberman male on Tuesday! I have everything else sorted (adult-sized crate, bowls, etc) but I am not quite sure how to proceed with the trip home..it will be roughly 2 and a half hours from the breeder's back to my place. I have read/heard a variety of suggestions for the car-trip back, categorized in three basic ones:

-Keep puppy in crate with blanket scented of mother/litter-mates and supply a toy.

-Keep puppy in crate with blanket scented of mother/litter-mates but let him out occasionally to sit on my lap.

-Keep puppy on my lap, preparing for car-sickness/mess.

I am a bit reluctant about introducing the puppy to a crate for the car ride as he has not been crate-trained by the breeders and may associate the crate with negative experiences. Anyway, I would appreciate any and all contributions! Thanks guys!

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

The first puppy I brought home was brought home in a corrugated box with a towel in the bottom for a 1 hour trip. That was years ago. The last dog I brought home in a crate when he was not introduced to a crate previously, was Red who is now 7 years old. That trip was only about 45 minutes.

Bringing Princess home was a day and a half, but she had been introduced to a crate previously by her breeder. I was also give a bag of pre-moistened food that she had been weaned on. This is something you might want to ask you breeder for, as even if you are going to change the food, it is best to have some of the current to mix with the new. Also find out the brand name and type of puppy food he is on. This is in case he does not do well on the new food, you can go back (again mix the food during the transition).

I have found generally that even if the puppy is upset about the crate, once the vehicle starts, the motion puts them to sleep. I have seen some photos of people bringing a pup home wearing a harness and tied into the seat belt/shoulder harness system to protect them.

Car sickness is always a risk, but of all my dogs over the last 40 years, I have only ever had one get car sick, and that was my first Dobe, Windy (my avatar) and fortunately it was my truck with a vinyl interior. Strangely, it was not the first time she was in the truck, but it was the first time the trip was more than just a few minutes (one hour in length).
She never got car sick again, and proved to be a good traveler who made many trips with me to visit my parents in Texas (I lived in Virgina at the time).

If it were me, I would use a dog crate with old towels used for padding (easier to clean than a pad). For Princess, I used a spare 200 size Schnauzer crate (I also have three Schnauzers) with two to three dog bathing towels folded in the bottom. I even had several spares if needed. She did fine. I stopped at least once ever two hours to give her a walk. When I stopped to eat, I fed her as well, on the front seat of my truck. (It was well below freezing outside, so I did not want to feed her outside, lest she get chilled). Once she was finished eating I waited 5 minutes and walked her again. She had a good trip and we got to enjoy it together. When I got home, she was here with me by herself the first night and almost the entire next day. I then went and picked up the rest of my brood from being kenneled at the vets.

Christine1992's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-19

Thanks so much rgreen..You always give the best advice! I will use a smaller crate for the initial transport in the car (it was originally used for one of our cats..13kg extremely aggressive Turkish Angora we used to have lol) and pad it with a bunch of old towels. The breeders already kindly offered to sell one bag of of the puppy food they use at reduced price and add another bag free.
I'll follow your example with Princess and keep the puppy and Elsa separate for the first day or so (she is a small cat).