Toby’s First Train Ride to Manhattan

Regular readers might find this hard to believe since I travel by car with Toby all the time, but Saturday was his first trip on the train into Manhattan. I was a wreck! After a little barking incident on the train into the Manhattan, he did fabulous! I was so proud of him!!!

Although Toby is only a 12 pounds, he is long and has long legs, which makes him a little big for most bags. I’ve tried a variety of them, and they’ve either broke, he’s chewed through them or he whines so much and gives such a fuss, he just won’t stay in them.

But, around Christmas time, I decided that was it — Toby was going to learn how to stay in at least some type of travel bag, because he can never come with me to all the fun events in Manhattan, and in theory he’s small enough he should!

A few days later I was shopping in Target and came across their Boots and Barkley pet brand carriers. It rolled, looked large enough for Toby to stretch out in it, had plenty of ventilation and looked just a little smaller than the crate I use when traveling with him in my car. I can’t remember the exact price, but do remember thinking if he chews through it, it wouldn’t be a total waste. Plus, I figured since it was a similar size to his crate it would be a good way to ease him into something like this.

Toby of cource hated it at first, but I used treats to get him used to going inside and showed him how he could just walk right through it. Little-by-little he got used to it, but was still not thrilled. .

This past weekend, I decided it was time to finally bite the bullet and try it out with him. He gave a little fuss getting in,but way less than in the past. He was a little obnoxious on the train at first, because he would bark every time it stopped, but by the time we got to Penn Station he had calmed down, and I didn’t hear a peep out of him.

Once we were done with the trains and subways, I let Toby out of the bag to walk and get a little energy out before we got to where we were going. Before we went inside, I made him go back in the carrier and was inside a bit before I let him back out.

When it was time to leave I let him walk out of the building and put him back in the carrier just before getting onto the subway. He stayed in there until we got back to New Jersey and was done with train travel for the day.

What came in really handy was a collapsible bowl Studi Products gave us a while ago. It was small enough to throw in my purse, but then big enough to open and give Toby water in. Plus, the squared edges were perfect to pour the unused water back into the water bottle when there was nowhere in the train station to dispose of it.

I was trying to figure out why this bag and trip worked so well as compared to other failed attempts, and here is what I came up with. Hopefully it can help you if your dog has some of the same issues:

  • From the moment I brought the carrier home, I used the word crate to describe it and nothing else. Toby loves his crate, so it was almost a natural progression.
  • I took him fun places in it. Toby always goes to see my mom in the nursing home, and he loves it. After I got the carrier, I used it to take him to see her, and where we went in Manhattan was a fun place, too. So he associates it with good things. 
  • Toby plays off my emotions — big time. Saturday morning all the way until we came home, I was extra happy and excited, conveying positive vibes to Toby. I was relaxed, so he was relaxed.

Was the carrier a bit cumbersome? Yes. But, it was a good way to get used to it, before trying something a little smaller or an actual bag that I can carry over my shoulder.

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