Bringing up puppy is always a bit of a matter of judging the development and react accordingly. You can’t really say that there is a definite, safe time when you can take puppy along without him being sick in the car and there is no definite time when he can be allowed the communal dog beds that the other dogs use in the back of the vehicle as opposed to his choice of bespoke dog beds in his cage.
I set out very early with Pontus, my GWP puppy, having to leave him in the car at 11 weeks old for a few hours at a time. He was born 28th May and weaned at the end of July with the Glorious 12th coming up soon after that, where I spend a lot of my time working the adult pointers on the moor. Poor Pontus had to put up with hours waiting in the car. Of course I wouldn’t just leave him loose on dog beds in the back of my truck as he would not be safe and certainly not be feeling safe. I have a cage that fits nicely on the back seat of my car’s cab and whilst travelling, he would sit in the cage where I could keep an eye on him. He used to be sick on the dog beds, so I actually put some towels on top of the luxury dog beds so that he could be sick on them. Every time he had been sick, I just stopped and gathered up the towel, wearing my disposable rubber gloves, stuffing all the dirty towels in to a plastic bag and cleaning up with kitchen roll. I actually thought that puppies couldn’t LEARN to travel, I thought they would just be sick on their travel dog beds till their balancing censors in their ears had developed sufficiently purely with age, but accordingly to friends, it is just a matter of training them and travelling often with them to get them trained to the rolling of the car. Certainly Pontus has got used to it now, he is only just over 12 weeks and perfect on journeys. He did adapt a self taught technique of lying down with his head buried in the dog beds and covers from the very start of the journey in order not to get sick. I know from sailing that if you are feeling sick, you either stay up and keep your eyes on the horizon or you go down below and lie down. I think Pontus worked that one out pretty quickly.
He is now not a little squirt anymore and I trust that the older dogs will not attack him and he will not get lost under the big, heavy bespoke dog beds in the back of the truck, so he now travels with the others in the back. Also, when I leave him in the car, he lives in the back, where it’s guaranteed not to get too hot. He can have all the chews and foods he enjoys in order to reel away the time.
The other day a completely different danger appeared though: As we were negotiating very difficult ground, travelling in on the bumpy roads across the moors and rivers, the big, heavy spare wheel, which is designed to fit UNDER the car, but is now living on the dog beds in the back with the car, fell off its hooks and luckily didn’t squash puppy…. it is very, very heavy. It bounced on the dog beds and if anyone had their paw in the way, maybe the softness of the waterproof and soft covered dog beds saved them.