How can you make train travel easier for your dog?
The train, especially at rush hour, can be overwhelming for us as humans, so imagine how this can feel to a dog; lots of new smells, heat and crowded spaces. However, if you carefully train your dog you can help to make their journey as stress free as possible.
- To begin with, you should introduce your dog to the train in short bursts
- Start by taking them into the ticket hall and letting them get used to the crowds by positively rewarding them when they sit or look at ease. For some dogs you may need to get them to concentrate on you so that they learn to pay attention to you in a busy environment.
- Once they’re happy in the ticket hall, start to introduce them to the ticket barriers by walking through using treats or strokes to make them feel more relaxed
- If you feel that he/she is now confident in the hustle and bustle of the ticket hall you can take your first journey. Start by taking the train to the next station and closely monitoring how your dog reacts and build up the time on trains from there.
- Start training your dog as young as possible
- Pairing new experiences with something nice is always a great way to reinforce calm behaviour
- If you are able to, try to get a seat with space so that your dog can sit/lie on the floor beside you
- Some dogs will be more anxious than others so, if you think that your dog is stressed on the train, try to limit your time spent on them
Signs that your dog is unhappy on the train
If your dog displays any of the following behaviours, you should closely monitor them and make a decision on whether or not to remove them from the situation if the behaviour persists or increases:
- panting excessively
- tail tucked between legs
- lip licking
- excessive yawning
- ears back
- whites of the eyes show excessively
- paw raise
- chewing the lead, which can be a stress reliever
- displacement behaviour/distracting themselves using normal behaviours that they wouldn’t usually display in that particular situation. This can be things like excessive sniffing or scratching themselves.
Travel in the heat
Dogs can quickly become overheated and this can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety, so please monitor them carefully. More information on travelling with your dog in the heat can be found on our website.