The decision on which way is best to get your puppy home is a big one to make. It is the first responsibility you have to your puppy and you want it to be the best one. It is wise to make your choice after some thoughtful consideration. But, which way is the right way to travel your puppy home? Many families choose to ship their pup via airline cargo, others choose to travel out to the breeder's facility to see the parents and where their puppy was born, then drive their pup home, and some choose to rely on a pet transport service to drive their puppy home, allowing for door to door concierge service. 

In fact, most families use the our DireWolf Express door-to-door service because of the easy convenience of your breeder hand delivering your puppy directly to you.

In general, pet transport services have become more popular these days as higher regulations and fees are tacked onto air cargo travel, not to mention the serious length of time a puppy must stay in their crate in order to fly the friendly skies. Various transport companies report that they provide luxury or premium service for your young, impressionable pup as well as door-to-door convenience to you. Just like UPS or FEDEX, your little package of fur comes bundled up, nice and neat, happy and content, ready to live out the rest of its days in its new life. Pet transport companies share glamourous pictures of their vans or other vehicles pointing out that they love your pet and take care of its every need while traveling, which airlines certainly cannot provide, being that the puppy is literally locked up tight in a crate in the belly of the plane. But is the random pet transport service really a bed of roses as they portray? And what, if any, are the issues that might arise when you choose to have your pet transported over land?

Here is the low-down on other pet transport services. Take it from a breeder who has shipped hundreds of puppies in all different ways. 

First of all, pet transport is a business. Each company is in the business to make money. In order to make the trip worth the travel time, a person must load their vehicle with multiple pets or other items to be transported. That means that your pet is not the only animal on board. In many cases, your puppy may be one of five to ten different animals, including dogs, cats, birds, iguanas... you name it. This means that your puppy, who has never experienced anything outside of its own quiet, peaceful, and familiar environment in the forests of northeastern Washington state is suddenly thrust into a situation where it may be placed with unfamiliar puppies or other dogs. Think on this... if a puppy from a different kennel that has had parvo or other viruses or parasites comes into contact with your puppy, that has had one puppy shot, your puppy may be in serious danger. Also, if your puppy is allowed to wander around the back of the vehicle with other dogs, what happens if another dog wants to suddenly rip your puppy's head off while the person is driving? In order to avoid this... insist that your puppy travel in his/her own crate. If the transport services does not have a crate designated for your puppy alone, purchase one from us and give explicit instructions to the pet transport service that your puppy must be in the crate without the company of any other dog/puppy while traveling. You do not want harmful diseases or bad dog behavior to be able to reach your puppy. 

Next, it is important to note that pet transport drivers are NOT dog trainers. In fact, they may have negligible experience with dogs. Their only job is to travel your puppy safely to you. You are not paying them to train your puppy, and frankly, they probably do not have the time, anyway. So, without knowing it, you could be placing your puppy in a situation where it is dragged, choked, or made to do something it is terrified of doing. Drivers certainly may not understand a sensitive pup's needs. Even drivers that may have the best of intentions and want to get your puppy excited to be on the trip can inadvertantly allow bad behaviors to thrive. Jumping, barking, whining, pulling, etc could be the first lessons your puppy learns after it leaves its first home. In order to avoid these issues, choose the driver carefully. Make sure you know the driver's background with dogs and make your driver aware of your clear expectations for taking care of your puppy while it is being taken out of its crate to potty and have some exercise time/food/water before getting back on the road. You do not want to have to undo some extremely bad behaviors right when you acquire your puppy from it's trip across the country. I have seen this happen, so take heed. 

Another issue with pet transport is the time it takes to get to your door. Remember that pet transport is out ot make money. This means that they must pick up several different items along the way in order to make the trip worth it. How long are you willing to allow your puppy to be on the road? Do you want your little eight week old puppy traveling with a stranger for a week and a half or more? Going cross country is a long way, but if the driver comes all the way to Spokane, but then has to drive down to California to pick up other items before returning home to the east coast, that could tack on three or more days that your puppy is not home with you. When you choose a pet transport service, make sure you know exactly how long they plan on taking and where they must go after they pick up your puppy. Just like airline travel, you want your puppy to get to you in the least amount of time possible. You can insist that they pick up your puppy last, so that your puppy is last on and first off. If you can, try to get a driver that will make the cross-country trek in four to five days tops. 

Some pet transport services exclaim how they are USDA certified, as if this makes them better able to provide for your puppy. In reality, USDA merely adds headache, in my opinion. The pup must be accompanied by a health certificate, but the travel accomodations are not any better, per se, and some can be worse. It is more important to find out how the pup will travel. Not just what the vehicle is, but how many other animals, what timeframe, how often they stop to rest, where is puppy when the driver is sleeping, do they provide regular updates on your puppy and make sure your puppy is in that crate. Purchase chew treats or toys and send those to the breeder to give to the driver when they meet. This will give your puppy some entertainment while on the road. Check references of the pet transport service. Make sure you give clear and concise instructions. Then, give us feedback of the driver/company so that we can recommend them or not to the next family who wishes to travel their puppy home through pet transport. 

Some pet transport services only use one driver on the long cross-country trek. This is generally not a good idea for two reasons. First off, one driver must stop and rest, understandably, but that elongates the trip. Two drivers mean one can be sleeping while the other drives. Secondly, one driver means they must do all of the work of letting dogs out to potty/eat/drink as well as keep themselves occupied and entertained while driving. Two drivers can talk to one another and help mitigate the travel concerns of the pets on board. Two drivers is preferrable to one driver alone, especially on a long cross-country trip. 

If you would like to consider other pet transport services, here is the one we recommend to start your search. They have experience with our dogs and understand their calm, sensitive nature as a companion dog.

All Aboard Pet Transport LLC