Do your dogs ride well in the car? Not just short trips, but a trip to Homer or Fairbanks that takes 4 to 7 hours.
Do you take any precautions -- i.e., crate them or put a seatbelt on them? Did you find yourself having to train them to tolerate the long stretches? Do you stop often, for the dogs?
I've brought this topic up in the past, but I find myself wanting to revisit it after I've completed a trip. We went to Denali over the weekend for the road lottery, and I was reminded of the challenges.
On long trips, the Yorkies are strapped into a double-wide carseat. It likely wouldn't protect them in a serious accident, but it's better than nothing.
The challenges come just because they're not used to long trips. We take maybe 2 or 3 a summer, and rarely one like the road lottery that requires a 5-hour drive to the park followed the next day by a 12-hour drive through the park, then a 5-hour drive home the next day.
I tell myself each year that it would be better if I didn't take them. Even though they now tolerate it well -- mostly sleeping -- it's not an enjoyable experience for them. But, for lack of a good alternative, we usually take them.
Back to the challenges: Eddie doesn't like sleeping in the car. He stayed up and fussed until we got to Wasilla on the way out. He'd scratch at the window, let out an occasional woof of displeasure. But he finally settled down after that. He slept in spurts and we'd give him the air he wanted on occasions. We also walked them when we topped off on gas in Wasilla, Talkeetna and Cantwell.
Jillie is a pro. She didn't fuss at all, but she was the first one who wanted out during walk time.
The drive through the park was more difficult. We were stopping frequently, and they thought the ride was over, so they didn't sleep much. Surprisingly, they both did fine, and I walked them every chance I got.
No matter how well they do, however, the disruption of their schedule leaves both of them cranky, Eddie especially. I have to watch him closer around Jillie and around other dogs because his level of patience goes down. I also make sure he gets a good night sleep. If not, he can be intolerable.
I base their level of tolerance on how well they eat. The first few times I took him, Eddie would refuse meals. That told me he was miserable. But he grew out of that. On this trip, they both gobbled down their meals. I also made sure they got some treats during the day because that's our routine.
All in all, it was a good trip, but a long one.
I couldn't imagine doing it with a larger dog. I left Lucy, our Chessie, with the best dogsitter in the world for that reason. At 92 pounds, it would take some serious planning to make sure she was comfortable on such a trip.
How have others fared? Do you regularly take your dogs on long trips? Or would you just as soon avoid it?