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Old    Orion (chillinoj)      Join Date: May 2009       06-07-2013, 6:18 AM Reply   
About 2 months ago i got my first dog and he's so great, though I'm thinking about going to visit my parents for the holidays and would love to bring him if i can as it would be about a 10 day vacation, so that's quite a while to board him/ be without him.

I'm looking at flying him with me, but unfortunately by Christmas time he'll be too large to stay with me in the cabin. I was thinking about using United for the flight, has anyone used their "PetSafe" program? Does anyone recommend any other airline? Good experiences? Bad experiences? I'll be flying from Houston and going to Lompoc, CA so I have a couple of small airports to choose to go into? Would it better to fly into LAX and just drive up? Just too many options

And since I'm a proud dad here's him at about 2 months and 4 months
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Old    Adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       06-07-2013, 6:29 AM Reply   
I'm sure it can be done...but I dont' trust airline employees...i've seen the way they handle bags, lol. I wouldnt' wanna put my dog in the hands of some guy/girl who's havin a bad day.......

If my dog can't be with me in flight...I'd leave him at home.

Boarding him will help socialize him to other dogs....the place I board my dogs at gives mine warm milk and dog cookies before bed too ha.
Old    Nicolas Kohler (monkey_butt)      Join Date: Sep 2011       06-07-2013, 6:45 AM Reply   
cute bugger ;-) ... to be honest - I wouldn't. I have considered this a few times and ultimately ended up driving (midwest to FL). One is cost - I have 3 dogs so I shell out 450 one way per dog ... go figure. 2nd is the restrictions in regards of heat/cold. Airlines won't accept pets above a certain temperature and not below a certain temperature. So obviously for me - it would have never worked because when it was warm enough here in Minneapolis I didn't bother to go to FL and when it was cold here to go - it was too cold to drop them off ...

Last but not least - timing. You pretty much have to drop your pet off 4 - 5 hours prior to you getting to the airport and you likely also wait an hour or two until you get your pet back. Here in Minneapolis you drop your pet off at Delta's freight terminal - never bothered to check how that would play out in Miami.

What Adam said above: I wouldn't necessarily distrust airline employees but you have to understand this: Your dog is stressed - they are outside the plane - sometimes for a while but even then - it's loud? Wondered why the employees where ear protection? Your dog hears better ... so there's really no surprise that the pets are stressed out - especially when their 'normal' handler isn't around. An airline employee can't be you to calm the pet down and I would assume that's usually when mistakes happen.

Last but not least: I know that quite a few breeders ship their pets to customers using commercial airlines. It works and I would bet that they use downers for that ride as well as the puppies not knowing much yet and no bond with an owner - it will go over w/o issues.

But if you don't plan to do this many times I wouldn't bother to train your dog for this condition - you have to train him for the kennel for extended periods - being lifted around, driving them around in the kennel etc. so your dog is well prepped for the trip. But if you will do this often - that's where I would start.

And to double up on Adam's comment: yes 10 days is a lot and a good boarding place (they have quite nice pet 'hotel's nowadays too - usually a doggie day care provider has a pretty cool setup) won't be cheap but neither is the fare and I would assume for 900 bucks you can choose a pretty nice place for your 'Berner Sennenhund' ;-)
Old    Mike (zimme)      Join Date: Feb 2013       06-07-2013, 7:09 AM Reply   
I always try to drive places if I'm gone an extended period of time so I can take my pup. I like having my car (without having to rent something), and if I'm gone for 10 days, a day or so of travel isn't a big deal to me. Anything over 10-12 hours of driving is a pretty long haul, but doable. But, I can't stand being without my dog, and really hate to board her, so driving is my solution to things.
Old    Onthe Creek (onthecreek)      Join Date: Apr 2013       06-07-2013, 7:18 AM Reply   
i've done it twice although it's been many years. not sure if procedures have changed. both times the dog came into the terminal and was crated at the ticket counter. then carted off to wherever.

pickups have been at the freight terminal and not the smoothest. seems some employees don't deal with dogs enough to know where they are waiting. it was a run around to finally find the right building or person who knew where the dog was. the last time which was in Boston. when I finally found the right building an employee had my dog out of the crate on a leash giving her water and letting her stretch her legs. i was pretty happy with that. but, like the other guys mentioned, you never know what's happening the rest of the time.

i don't like boarding mine for long periods either. my dogs are indoor dogs when at home. almost seems like they change a little and have to settle back down once they get home. almost like they've been institutionalized at the kennel. maybe it's just me.
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-07-2013, 10:35 AM Reply   
I saw a german shepherd sit in a crate on the tarmac fro 45+ minutes in 100+ degree heat with no water. Granted it will be winter, but I can't believe they put dogs through that. Personally, I would never do that to my best friend. I prefer boarding at places that have someone attending and on duty 24hrs a day (Paradise 4 Paws in Dallas for example), or I would almost pay more just to have someone come by and let them out 3-4 times a day and keep an eye on the house
Old    Miguel (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-07-2013, 11:19 AM Reply   
I wouldnt do it.

Make a road trip out of it and ensure your pups safety.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       06-07-2013, 1:31 PM Reply   
II would do a non stop only.. IAH to BFL or IAH to LAX..

I worked in the airlines (AA) for 29 years and pets get treated way better than your bags..

Granted I'm not a ramp rat (baggage handler) but spend plenty of time on the ramp technilizing the jets when they come in and leave..

Most people go the extra mile for a pet because it is a traumatic experience for them.. They travel in heated cargo holds..

If you tie wrap a small bag of food and bottle of water it should get served if it's a connector..

But I would only do non stop with my pups.. This way you know they're on the same jet as you..
Old    Orion (chillinoj)      Join Date: May 2009       06-11-2013, 6:48 AM Reply   
Thanks for all the info guys.

After reading this and a fair amount of reviews of a couple airlines I think we are going to drive. We already know he's a good traveler in the car, so hopefully weather will be good and it all will work out. But wow there are some scary stories out there, and even if it's in a relatively "low" percentage of something bad/awful happening, just hard to risk it with your own pup.
Old    Adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       06-11-2013, 8:14 AM Reply   
Just a thought...I know everyone has a differnt idea about vacation. But you wanna drive half way across the country ( burning at a min 2 days each way) b/c of ur puppy? I love my dog and all......but seems extreme.

It sounds great in theroy...bring your dog...but your on vacation.....you'll have the added "beast" you have to haul around everywhere. Not all places are gonna be dog friendly. Not to mention...dog friendly hotels are just that....dog friendly.....you might be a good dog owner but brutus staying down the hall, may not have been bathed in a year, and full of fleas.....just some food for thought.
Old    Miguel (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-11-2013, 9:01 AM Reply   
Good Call Orion.

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