Car Travel

Ray has never expressed any real problems with car trips, although I could write a small book on the numerous “less than effective” ideas we had on trying to restrain his movements when traveling. Ultimately, as long as he can reach us, he is now generally happy.

Ray’s initial choice of traveling positions was to stand, or sit, and watch everything going on. He was never particularly relaxed. Over the course of time and numerous car trips, he started to occasionally lay down with his head on the console between the front seats but, again, he did not seem totally relaxed.

If he was upright, cornering did not impress him as he would then lean over sideways such that his head (sticking between the front seats) would nudge one of us in the head. It could have been interpreted as an affectionate touch but almost certainly not intended to be as such! Over the past month or two, he has decided that stretching out on the back seat, and even napping, is quite acceptable and the motion of the car less challenging.

Where we have really noticed a difference is when getting him ready. Ray has recently been somewhat less than enthusiastic about going out for a walk. The signs are not too subtle. We take hold of his regular harness and he heads for his bed and lays down. We always manage to coax him out (the alternative is being left alone!) and, until a better explanation comes along, we are simply putting it down to him wearing a pretty thick fur coat in 28-30C (82-86F)/ 80% humidity conditions. Once we get him out, he gets into his “happy gait” and all is well. Of course we take rests and offer him water at those times.

In total contrast however, take hold of his travel harness and he comes over with head already lined up to go through it! He loves his car rides! We now have a new problem however! Up until recently, at the end of any journey and as soon as I opened Ray’s door, he would be pulling hard to get out. In fact he would pull so hard that his restraints were tight to the point where we could not unclip him! We had to physically push him back until we had enough slack to release his restraining clip him and let him out. It was literally a case of “release and stand back” because a flying Ray was imminent! How things have changed!

Just the other day we came back from a shopping trip and, as is now the pattern, Ray stretched out on the back seat for the journey home. I backed into our driveway and opened his door. Not only did he not try to come leaping out, but he just raised his head and gave us one of those “What?” expressions (anybody who has experienced teenagers knows the expression well!).

We eventually got him out and all was well so we just think that he likes traveling so much that he wants to go out for another drive, and another, and another! Such a change from a year or two ago!

17 thoughts on “Car Travel

  1. Glad he’s more relaxed! Most of our dogs have enjoyed car travel so much that we’ve been known to take them on a ‘trip’ from one driveway to another when moving cars around. They enjoy it just as much as an actual drive somewhere else 🙂

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  2. I’m sure it’s a relief that Ray now likes the car rides. It surely does take patience to get a very large dog to adapt to riding in a vehicle.

    All my dogs love to ride with the exception of my found Great Pyrenees x Border Collie cross who weighs about 90 pounds now. She is extremely afraid and she requires two people to help me get her in the back seat of my truck. It’s a job that is way more than I can handle. I need to rethink my strategy. 🙂

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    • Ray was very unstable on the back seat initially which we put down to his size. We often wondered whether he would roll off and into the gap behind the front seats. That is what prompted me to make a wooden bench* that “extended” the surface of the rear seat to right up to the front seats. Perhaps your “girl” also feels a little precarious on the back seat?
      *See “Adapting a Toyota for Ray” – Feb 10, 2015

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  3. Colin, our Charlie used to be so good, so relaxed in the car — he’d fall asleep in my arms, resting against me like a baby. Now, however, he’s anxious. In fact, the older he gets the more anxious he becomes. How I long for those puppy days in that regard. Sounds like Ray’s a pretty good traveler, though. That’s good. 🙂

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    • An interesting thought but not for Ray. He has many people friends at our Humane Society and when we let him pick the walk route, he will often take us there (about a 45min walk one way!). His experience there must have been very good! 🙂

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  4. My boys stand at stoplights or stops and lay after the truck moves. They curl up in what I call ‘puperbuns’ as they look like cinnabuns! In/out is the same way here, they are excited to get in and out.

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