Aside from the trip home from San Jose at 8 weeks old, Atlas hasn’t gone on any long car rides. That is, until this past Friday, January 24th, to visit our son’s grandparents for Chinese New Year. This was Atlas’ first long car ride with us.
Atlas’ first long road trip was during the day we picked him up. We drove between 6 ~ 7 hours from San Jose back home in Southern California. Atlas was only 8 weeks old at the time and he slept 75% of the way through. Ever since that long road trip, Atlas has gone on short 1 ~ 2 mile car rides. These short trips are mainly to his vet, tag along to drop our son off at school or to the supermarket.
For the first time, we took Atlas on a longer than usual car ride. While the distance is only a mere 25 miles, it did spook Atlas out. I think this was because he turned 11 weeks old and became more aware of his surrounding. Car rides are part of Atlas’ socialization regimen and this is a great opportunity to get him started.
Naturally, he rode in the backseat with our son. We put on his Pawaboo harness and buckled him into the rear right passenger seat belt.
The Pawaboo safety harness serves a dual purpose: a walking harness and a safety harness. It comes with a short belt that attaches to the harness and secures to a vacant seat belt buckle. It is a safety restraint system for dogs and a cost effective solution for small to medium sized dogs compared to the pricier CPS-certified Sleepypod harness. We will reserve the Sleepypod harness for when Atlas maximizes his growth potential. We don’t want to spend $80~$90 only to have Atlas outgrow it in a few months. Then spend another $80~$90 for another Sleepypod harness one size up.
We left our for the road around 6:30 PM so it was already dark. The moment we buckled Atlas in, he whimpered and whined. It was clear he did not want to be there. When we buckled our son into his car seat, Atlas began licking him profusely and tried to be as close to our son as possible, as if to seek comfort. His restraint prevented him from hopping into the car seat with our son. As the car began to move, Atlas lied down and cowered his head at the base of the car seat where it meats the rear passenger seat. He found solace in this position and through the entire 1-hour car ride in L.A. traffic.
We stayed at our son’s grandparents’ home for a good 4 hours. This translates to two hours past Atlas’ bedtime. At the house, Atlas refused to use the restroom. I am assuming that he did not go because it is a new location and he felt anxious. However, once we returned home, he did relieve himself. We did not return home until close to 11 PM. Traffic has died down and Atlas took a nap on the ride home.
We will need to take Atlas on more car rides to get him accustomed to road noise and road trips. Since it is his real car ride since his trip home from the ranch, he gets a pass.