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  • Writer's pictureCaryl Wolff

Your Puppy's First Car Ride Home

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Your Puppy's First Car Ride Home

Before the ride, take care of any paperwork and payments and discuss with the shelter worker or breeder about his food, feeding schedule, vaccines, habits, etc. Bring a leash and collar, potty pads, poop bags, paper towels, and an enzyme cleaner in case there is an accident or if he vomits.

If you can, go with another person who is driving so your puppy is in your lap. If you are alone, the safest way to transport your puppy is in a carrier or crate. Please DO NOT let him ride in your lap if you are driving. It is extremely dangerous.

Try to tire him out before the ride so he sleeps.

Before he takes the ride, take him for a walk to make sure he has pottied so he doesn't do it in the car. However, he can't "hold it" for long periods of time, and the movement of the car may stimulate his urge to pee. Because he isn't fully vaccinated, it's not a good idea to let him out of the car at a rest stop, along the side of the road, or at a park. Bring a potty pad with you so you can set it down outside the car - and keep him on leash so he can't wander off. You may have to put several pads down so they are touching each other so his feet stay on the protected area.

You’ll want your dog to feel comfortable when he gets to your house. So to help him feel at home, bring something from his old home to his new home (your home). Take a cloth towel and ask his caregivers to rub the towel on their arms and hands to get their scent on the towel. Then rub the towel on your dog’s playmates, and put this towel in the crate. Now your dog can take smells that are familiar to him to his new home. Put this towel in his bed when you put him to sleep at night to help minimize any “first night jitters” he may have. Also have a chew toy available in the crate - not treats because he may get carsick.

So he won’t become overly stressed, try not to make any stops where you have to leave your puppy alone in the car on his first car ride with you.

If he starts to cry, try to reassure him. Be calm but not whiny! He picks up on your emotion and tone of voice.

Immediately when you get home, take him to his potty area. Treat and praise him when he goes there.

Thanks for visiting Your Puppy's First Car Ride Home. I make a small commission on any products or books I recommend.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.

If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to . We look forward to working with you.


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