My husband and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and took the day off last Friday (October 2010). Although the fall colors are a bit past peak, we still enjoyed the remaining colors and drove down to Cripple Creek/Victor area for a drive and a short hike. We took our dogs with us even though most of our day was spent driving.
Our Greyhound has always been loose in the back of our SUV when we travel. While I would prefer to have her safely in a crate, I can't fit a crate for her size in my SUV. However, I was determined to use a crate from the start when we brought home Romeo. So he always travels in a crate. There's not room for much else, but they do both fit.
Jahzara, our Greyhound, has never enjoyed riding in vehicles. From the day we brought her home, she would always jump in because she wants to go with us, but she was always stressed the entire trip whether it was 5 minutes or 5 hours. She used to pace and pant the entire way, so by the time we got anywhere, she was already exhausted. Several years ago, I began using the Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy. I would give her 4 drops on a dog biscuit about 30 minutes before we left. While she still does not love riding, she will now actually lie down for most of the trip. She never entirely relaxes, but she's much more comfortable than she used to be. So, while not a great traveler, she is pretty good.
Romeo is a great traveler. He easily goes into his crate, lies down, and naps for most of our trips, no matter how long they are. (His longest trip so far was from Colorado to California for Christmas last year, and he did great!) You might think he was always a great traveler, but you'd be mistaken! Early on – from the very first trip when we brought him home – he cried and cried. Sometimes he would be quiet for a bit, but for most trips, he would cry.
What changed? I had to experiment a bit, but I found something that worked well for him. I did not use Rescue Remedy with him, but I certainly could have tried it. I found something else that worked for him that didn't cost me a cent. I would sing to him. Mind you, I would never sing with anyone else in the vehicle, as it might drive others to leap from a speeding vehicle, but for Romeo it worked. I would sing, and he would settle down and nap. I did that for quite a while actually, and now he's great on rides.
Since Romeo goes with us a lot – to classes, for walks and hikes, to pet-friendly stores, and other places – I need him to be a great traveler. And now he is. It makes life easier and more pleasant for all of us.
Funny thing is, his nickname when he was with his litter, was “Traveler.” He got his original nickname because he was the first one out of the whelping box and traveling around exploring. Guess it was a sign of things to come.