Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Rerun of Lions, Tigers, and Vans, Oh My

First of all, would you believe that this is my 500th post? Yikes! That is a lot of words. Tired of me and my hounds yet?In an effort to help Reagan become more comfortable in the van, I drive like a nun. I already drove gently, but now I drive as gentle as I did when I pulled a loaded horse trailer. I am sure the drivers behind me hate me. I want to put a sign on back of the van that says "I am sorry I am driving so slow. Problem dog on board."

I used to run errands and go to the gym while I had the dogs with me. Now, I make to trips to avoid unnecessary drive time. Although, sometimes I think I should just find a dirt road to California and say "Get used to it!".

Luckily, her red head seems to know that the van is a necessarily evil to all the fun we have. She is always excited to go and eager to load, thank goodness. I now give her a Kong or kibble sprinkled over her bedding as a reward for loading and I try not to leave for a 10 minutes. I want her to associate loading with treats and to have time to relax before we take off.Of course, that was not easy when it was 20 degrees out. Reagan and Riley had to be double fleeced to go enjoy frozen Kongs in below freezing weather.I also have been feeding most of Reagan's meals in the van as I drive by pushing pieces of kibble through the bars. Sometimes she will eat and other times she waits for a stop. I have been working on it for nearly a month now and I don't believe I see a difference. Honestly, my shoulder can't really handle the torque so I have stopped. Right now, I am trying a plastic Vari-Kennel. It is hard to evaluate since I cannot see her as well. I tried a body wrap for awhile, but can't figure out how to make the thing stay on. There appears to be no "baby safe" safety pins for sale in the state of Georgia.

I just hope it does not get any worse. Two years old is a little too young to develop a fear of travel as bad as Katie's. If she started refusing to load, it would halt everything we do. I don't even want to think about it. It does make me wonder about future plans.... do we avoid long trips to Greyhound Specialties and Agility Nationals? I would definitely not ever consider flying her like I did with Travis to the Invitational in California.

Riley thinks the extra treats are a good deal. She is like Travis. Both were/are sound asleep as soon as I start the engine. It makes me wonder if Katie was always slightly uneasy and I just never noticed. I don't think so.
It is definitely a lesson learned. I will not take it for granted in the future. Right now Reagan is okay riding in my new car, but she is still alert and sitting up. She does not relax or fall asleep like Riley does. Couple of bad bumps and Reagan will probably not like the car anymore either.