I am going to collect a new addition next week – Sam, a Labrador puppy. I live about two hours away from the breeder and will be on my own. How can I make sure his journey home is not stressful?

Sue Williams advises…

Collecting a new puppy is really exciting and it is wise to plan in advance so you are equipped.

Leaving the breeder’s will inevitably be stressful, but there are lots of things you can do to minimise this.

The first thing to consider is car safety. The easiest way, and my preferred way, is to use a crate. Make sure it is secure and can’t tip or move if you have to brake suddenly. It should also be a suitable size – you don’t want Sam thrown around if it is too big, but you also don’t want him squashed.

Make the crate snug and inviting. Cover the floor with something non-slip, such as vet bedding. This is warm and absorbent, making it ideal, as it will keep Sam from getting wet if he has an accident. I also use soft toys and blankets for comfort and protection. Hopefully, the breeder will provide you with a blanket that you can put in and the familiar smell will help him to feel more relaxed. I also provide a selection of chew toys and find that a puppy Kong stuffed with his food will keep a pup occupied.

Remember to pack spare bedding, as many pups are car sick. If you can fit another crate in, or have a double crate, that is perfect. Here is a photo of my puppy, Rupert, when I collected him. I had a double car crate, which meant I could have each side set up. If he was sick or made a mess, I could transfer him to the other side.

Another tip is to play soothing classical music during the journey.

It is highly likely, despite all your best efforts, that Sam will cry initially but, in my experience, pups settle down quickly and fall asleep. Border Collie. Photo posed by a model Rupert, a Labrador. Photo by Sue Williams


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