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How We Got Our Dog Pedro Used To His Travel Crate
Gradually assembling the kennel
Hello There, VivBounty here to share with you how we got our dog, Pedro used to being in a portable dog kennel. We were flying from London, UK to Halifax, NS, Canada with a dog who was raised running on a beach and never being contained. This could have been very stressful for him and us, but thanks to the wisdom of my wonderful sister-in-law who has had cats and dogs all her life, it all went very smoothly.
We called the airline to find out their policy and procedure. They wanted all sorts of details including his measurements from floor while standing to the tip of his ears, length from nose to base of tail. He had never been measured before so he was really leery of this tape measure in my hand. Finally, my sister-in-law said as he stood next to her for protection, "Let's just see how much higher than the table his ears go", putting her hand above his ears, "then we'll measure to my hand". Why didn't I think of that?
The airline said he had to be able to lie down, turn around, stand up without ears touching top ot kennel. They also wanted his weight, age, breed, description and inoculation records.
It was also her suggestion that we start with the lid off and his bedding in it. He happily laid in it looking like he was sleeping in a gigantic bucket for about 2 weeks
In transit in the UK, his "cousin", Diji, the cat would hop in during the day and nap in it.
After 2 weeks we put the lid on without the door. Again, to our relief, he went in and slept happily for another 2 weeks.
The cat, however was not so easily convinced, and spent the rest of our 14-week stay sleeping on top of the kennel.
When we put the door on, leaving it open, Pedro went in yet again without hesitation. Once he was in an settled, we pushed the door just touching the edge, not latching it locked. We thought he'd push the door open through the night or when he woke up in the morning, which he did neither, opting instead to wait until we rose to open it for him.
After measuring, we bought the 40" crate but after a week of him sleeping in it, we noticed his nose seemed to almost touch the front when lying down. He could be denied boarding if his nose touched so we exchanged it for the 48" kennel.
We bought the portable dog kennel from Canine Concepts in the UK, specialists in dog crates, kennels, pens and canine stuff in general. When we ordered the larger one, they immediately sent it, saying they would pick up the smaller one. We thought this would happen on the same day, but they didn't come for the smaller one which we had crated up in its original huge carton sitting in the living room for about 2 months. Our hosts were just fantastic about us being in their space with our very large dog, 2 crates, and luggage for 14 weeks.
The size of this dog and his kennel made it necessary to book a large taxi to transport the 3 of us to the airport and make sure the company knew to allow the driver extra time for this transfer. We also had to hire a Suzuki XJ7 in order to fit the dog kennel in until we actually got settled and were able to purchase our Ford Escape which is transporting the three of us very well.
On departure day we dismantled the kennel to fit in the taxi, having to report 4 hours before our flight for Pedro's sake, he had plenty of time to walk outside the terminal before having to be contained.
We assembled the kennel at the airport, put his bedding in, took his lead off and said "in" and he walked right in and lay down. we locked the wire door, followed the airline instructions attaching his lead to the outside of the kennel, tied a tin of food to the door and waved goodbye to our baby.
When we landed in Halifax, finally getting clearance to pick him up at the Cargo terminal, one cargo attendant said he didn't even know there was a dog there, he hadn't heard a sound. Seeing my panic, the other staff assured the first that a dog had indeed arrived safely from London Heathrow. After checking our paperwork, the kennel with Pedro still inside was lowered with a fork lift on to the parking lot near our car.
We opened the grill door, he bounded out, tail wagging happily, straight onto the grass surrounding the terminal, immense relief on his face at finally being able to let go. I got the doggy bag, scooped and disposed and gave him lots of fur ruffling and praise while his daddy dismantled the kennel and then we all happily hopped in the car for the drive to our hotel in Dartmouth.
He was used to riding long distances in a car, but this was his first flight and he handled it like a seasoned veteran. We were so proud of him. As soon as we arrived in our hotel room, he drank some water, ate his supper and happily had a nap on the bed. Pedro's supper digested well and he showed no signs of distress or motion sickness, thank God.
This had been the longest traveling day of all of our lives, yet we had all come through it quite calmly and happily. There was an off-leash dog park very near to the hotel where we went for a well deserved run in the morning.