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Thread: Flying dog to Perth (worried and stressed)

  1. #1

    Default Flying dog to Perth (worried and stressed)

    So I have a 6 year old dog and he's been through quite a lot in his life. He's lived mostly in a loud environment with people fighting and screaming all the time (long story) and I moved 3 years ago. He's a very nervous dog and gets scared of silly things like when I walk him he jumps forward quickly because of the wind or maybe my foot stomps on the ground a little louder than usual and he kind of jumps. He isn't THAT bad but yeah... also he is scared of me sometimes when I call him... he will walk slowly toward me thinking he's in trouble. He always thinks I'm angry at him. I can seriously never yell (like when I'm angry about something or with someone). Other times he just casually comes to me all happy so it isn't all the time that he's like this. In general he's a happy dog, eats, drinks, plays, has a good run when I get the chance to let him off the leash at a park or whatever. But pretty much all his life he's been like a person to me and I've spoiled him crazy. He sleeps where he wants and is always inside the house. I kiss him all the time and praise him for no reason.

    Now to the point, I've had unexpected things come up and I have to move back to Perth (I'm in Melbourne) in 3 weeks via Virgin because they're the cheapest to fly with including the dog on the same plane. My dog has flown ONCE 3 years ago when I came to Melbourne.. he was sent ALONE by jetpets from Perth to Melbourne without no crate training or anything. My brother just pretty much took him to the airport, dumped him in a cage, yes cage and left him with strangers to be put on a plane. I can't imagine how scared he must of been. Actually after all this he's gotten even worse with his nervous and scared problems. Maybe it was a traumatic experience for him because when I picked him up he was kinda scared and shook up but was fine after a few minutes like nothing happened. So maybe I'm over reacting, who knows.

    I got a large crate today and tried training him a little. He's been in and out of it several times but runs back out after he's done eating his treat that I threw in. Though I've gotten him to stay in there for a couple of minutes by letting him eat more before coming out. He won't usually go in at all unless I throw food or repeat over and over to go inside and he doesn't like that. I closing the door on him to see if I could lift the crate up because I will have to but the whole thing was shaking and was hard to keep still. He did not like that at all.. maybe I tried it too fast. But slowly he's starting to get in there again but still doesn't like to stay. I put his sleeping blanket in there with toys as well to make it comfortable.

    I am really really stressed and worried about this whole thing. I don't know what to do. No one can take us to the airport so it has to be a taxi. I am supposed to somehow manage to carry this HUGE crate with my dog in it to the taxi on the day of the flight in 3 weeks. Keep him quiet and calm for 40 mins drive. Then take him out and to the animal section of the airport or whatever. He has to watch me walk away from him and he will think I'm abandoning him probably which is the most hardest part for me. He will probably make noises as I walk off and be so scared and nervous in a crate, waiting for an hour to board the plane. Then a stranger puts him in the cargo where he has to wait for the plane to take off. Then there's the noise that will scared the crap outta him... but apparently dogs fall asleep during flight. I have no idea what he is like. I do wonder what he did on his last flight. The only good thing about this is it's only a 4 hour flight. God I am seriously so so nervous and scared. Probably more than him.
    Last edited by perthwolf; 09-27-2012 at 12:23 AM.

  2. #2

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    Make a game of the open crate. Throw treats into it so he is comfortable getting in and out and it is a fun place. You can even feed him in it. Hide a pigs ear under his blanket in there etc - make it a really positive spot.

    And most importantly, don't stress. He'll pick up on your concern about the whole thing. He'll really be fine. From my last litter I flew two pups from Canberra to Perth on their own at 8 weeks and they had a great time. Granted they had each others' company but still, it really didn't phase them. Another two of my babies went overseas at 11 and 16 weeks and were happy as Larry as well.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattylou View Post
    Make a game of the open crate. Throw treats into it so he is comfortable getting in and out and it is a fun place. You can even feed him in it. Hide a pigs ear under his blanket in there etc - make it a really positive spot.

    And most importantly, don't stress. He'll pick up on your concern about the whole thing. He'll really be fine. From my last litter I flew two pups from Canberra to Perth on their own at 8 weeks and they had a great time. Granted they had each others' company but still, it really didn't phase them. Another two of my babies went overseas at 11 and 16 weeks and were happy as Larry as well.
    Thanks for the reply.. It helped a lot. Just before I read it I was playing that game with him and he's getting better really fast. I bought some yummy schmacko treats. I've been ripping bits of it and throwing it in and he drives in after it. He turned around and I got him to stay in there for like 5 minutes while he was waiting for more pieces for me to rip off. Though when I go for the door he sprints out lol. Gotta keep trying.

  4. #4
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    Google or search youtube "crate games dogs" - there should be quite a bit of stuff that will give you ideas.
    crate games dog - YouTube

    Try not to make all the training happen at once. Pick one element like sitting comfortably in crate when he can do that with you playing open/shut the door, with lots of treats, then play the in / out game to get him to go in and out of it.

    And given you don't have a long time to do this - I'd be hand feeding him all his food (including dinner in the crate) for playing crate games with you, with by far the most of it for being in the crate. When you do send him off in the crate - send him with an old jumper or tracky dacks you've been sleeping in. Don't expect to get these back unshredded.

    Each time he seems really comfy - add some level of distraction - eg close the door of the crate, walk away. walk back, building up to leave the room for a second, come back, building up to quite long stints in the crate with no attention from you.

    If you can find some way of replicating the plane noise and building that up too - that would be helpful. I don't know if you can get ear plugs for dogs - or get them to wear them. The plane noise drives me nuts. I think it must just overwhelm most dogs - hence shutting down and sleeping. And when you get to where you're going - hopefully he will still see the crate as his personal safe place, so keep playing the crate games with him.

    I hope you don't have to return to the noisy home too.

  5. #5

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    Well he spend time in there last night and when I went to bed I put him in there and he slept in there for a while. Don't know how long but today when I got up to try play with him he just didn't seem like he was in the mood acting all funny and scared again. It disturbs me.. I'm trying to play and when I tell him to go in the crate he gets scared like he's in trouble. But last night he was doing better. He just doesn't seem interested today. I try make it a game but he doesnt' see it that way. I tried to slowly touch the gate to see what he would do but he runs out as soon as I go for it. It looks so hopeless he's really scared of that gate closing lol. I'll keep trying but I only have 3 weeks left. I seriously can't imagine him in that crate at the airport.. gonna be a lot of whining and crying when I leave him there

  6. #6
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    Hi and welcome to the forum. Maybe it's too much. Give him a break for today if its making him uncomfortable.

    My friend got me to bring her really old dog from Perth to Melbourne many years ago, she gone over first and got a place then I was going to Melbourne & it was really cheap for him to fly accompanied by a human. He stayed with us the night before, poor old thing, when he got dropped at out place my 2 little fluffy dogs were hysterical and he must have thought "what did I do to deserve this".

    I slept in the lounge with him, he was so nervous, don't think either of us slept a wink. The next morning my hubby took us to the airport, we took him to the animal section. I hate airports, they make me cry, I was crying my eyes out leaving the dog, more tears saying goodbye to hubby (for a week!), but when I landed, I met my friend and we were waiting for him when he came out and it was all worth it to see him so happy to see his mum! (more tears). He was so thirsty though, he drank so much water!

    Once you're settled in, take him for nice gentle long walks, find a nice park to sit in and let him relax. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Keep your sessions short to start with. If you get the crate games dvd - the first session can be quite long as the dog doesn't get to come out until he can hold a nice sit stay while you put the lead on when he's in the crate... and then he's supposed to come out while you stand on the lead and then choose to go back in where the good treats happen. If he's not getting there, try improving the quality of the treats. And feed him his entire ration of dinner for going into or being in the crate. But in five minute sessions at a time.

    If you're practicing duration - try to set him up for success - so you let him out or open the door before he starts getting stressed about it. Eg 20 minutes of whining and then getting out is not what you want to teach him. If you;re letting him out - do it asap or before he starts whining - or not until he stops or takes a breath (stops for a few seconds) - which might take a long time (hours).

    It does sometimes happen they forget everything you thought they learned yesterday, but just start over and be patient.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by findeb View Post
    Hi and welcome to the forum. Maybe it's too much. Give him a break for today if its making him uncomfortable.

    My friend got me to bring her really old dog from Perth to Melbourne many years ago, she gone over first and got a place then I was going to Melbourne & it was really cheap for him to fly accompanied by a human. He stayed with us the night before, poor old thing, when he got dropped at out place my 2 little fluffy dogs were hysterical and he must have thought "what did I do to deserve this".

    I slept in the lounge with him, he was so nervous, don't think either of us slept a wink. The next morning my hubby took us to the airport, we took him to the animal section. I hate airports, they make me cry, I was crying my eyes out leaving the dog, more tears saying goodbye to hubby (for a week!), but when I landed, I met my friend and we were waiting for him when he came out and it was all worth it to see him so happy to see his mum! (more tears). He was so thirsty though, he drank so much water!

    Once you're settled in, take him for nice gentle long walks, find a nice park to sit in and let him relax. Good luck!
    That's good to know! I really wonder what my dog was like when my brother sent him alone to Melbourne. I think he was in shock because he was never in a crate before. That was bad! But this time I'm training him so he's comfortable in it. He's starting to sleep in the crate a bit and is okay with the door closed now

    Just a question about the animal section at the airport.. when you went there to leave the dog, do you put the dog in the crate after you get there or before and carry the crate to give to the animal section? I'm trying to prepare myself for that.. I was thinking just walk the dog on the leash and put him in the crate when I get there because him + the crate is a little heavy for just me to carry around and the create just moves around too much when I carry it. I just hope they take care of him and not be too rough with the create when they load it. That is probably the saddest part, walking away from him while he stares at me from a crate. Especially when he will start whining. But as you said, when we land it would of been worth it! Just want to get it over with lol (2 more weeks!)


    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Keep your sessions short to start with. If you get the crate games dvd - the first session can be quite long as the dog doesn't get to come out until he can hold a nice sit stay while you put the lead on when he's in the crate... and then he's supposed to come out while you stand on the lead and then choose to go back in where the good treats happen. If he's not getting there, try improving the quality of the treats. And feed him his entire ration of dinner for going into or being in the crate. But in five minute sessions at a time.

    If you're practicing duration - try to set him up for success - so you let him out or open the door before he starts getting stressed about it. Eg 20 minutes of whining and then getting out is not what you want to teach him. If you;re letting him out - do it asap or before he starts whining - or not until he stops or takes a breath (stops for a few seconds) - which might take a long time (hours).

    It does sometimes happen they forget everything you thought they learned yesterday, but just start over and be patient.
    Yesterday I took him to the vet for a check up and vaccinations. The vet said he was healthy and all good. He hasn't been to a vet in a while so it was interesting to see how he handled that situation. He's doing very well with the crate since my last post. He goes in with almost no hesitation now like it's his little room. He will sit there now without problems. I started to slowly close the door and feed him at the same time and now he sees theres nothing to be afraid of. He use to run out when I went for the door but now he's okay. I closed it several times, walked away from him, came back, opened it and he still stayed inside. He sleeps there when I go to bed. Not sure for how long but he was curled up with the blankets inside before I went to bed.

    So the progress is doing pretty well.. I still think he will whine and be a little scared on the day of the flight. Especially when I leave him. But at least now he will see the crate as his safe haven until we land. Phew, I just can't wait till it's over!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by perthwolf View Post
    Just a question about the animal section at the airport.. when you went there to leave the dog, do you put the dog in the crate after you get there or before and carry the crate to give to the animal section? I'm trying to prepare myself for that.. I was thinking just walk the dog on the leash and put him in the crate when I get there because him + the crate is a little heavy for just me to carry around and the create just moves around too much when I carry it. I just hope they take care of him and not be too rough with the create when they load it. That is probably the saddest part, walking away from him while he stares at me from a crate. Especially when he will start whining. But as you said, when we land it would of been worth it! Just want to get it over with lol (2 more weeks!)
    Glad he's settling in to the crate a bit more now, sounds like your training is coming along very well

    My friend must have hired the crate, I just took him in on his lead and the guy put him in the crate to make sure it was the right size.

    I think these days there are a lot more animals on flights across Australia, I'm sure they'll be gentle and you'll be back to sunny Perth before you know it

    Could you ask the vet if there's some medication you can give him - some kind of sedative to make him drowsy?

  10. #10

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    Hi Perthwolf,

    I can't help with the crate training but I just wanted to offer you some reassurance about the flight - your dog will be fine! It's much worse on us humans than it is on animals. My family flew a very nervous sooky dog from London to Sydney and he was totally fine. Yes he would have been frightened, but they are such resilient creatures and after a week he was back to his happy self. That was 27 hours on a plane, and 30 days in quarantine!!

    It sounds like you a doing a great job working with him to build up his confidence with the crate. Try not to stress too much (easier said then done I know!), it'll be over before you know it and you and your dog will be safely in Perth. The handlers will look after him. Also, not a good idea to sedate a dog in flight (as per the previous posters suggestion), medications plus altitude isn't a great combo for dogs and you don't know how it could effect their breathing.

    Good luck, it'll be such a good feeling once it's all over and done with! Let us know how you get on.

    Luci

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