Tips & Training

Introducing Your Dog to a Carrier

Copy: Sarah Dickerson

Photography: Sarah Dickerson


Introducing your dog to a carrier can be a breeze for most, but sometimes you can find yourself in quite the pickle. When I bought Coco her first carrier as a puppy you would have thought I had placed a stick of dynamite in front of her, based on her reaction. I placed it on the floor, unzipped it and she bolted in the opposite direction. She refused to go near it or even try to sit inside for any amount of time, even unzipped.

Can anyone else relate?

I knew I had to ease her into it and convince her this carrier/Armageddon bomb was not a scary thing. Here is how Coco learned to absolutely LOVE her first carrier and every carrier since. Now, when we get her carrier out, I am pretty sure she thinks she is going on some sort of Indiana Jones adventure for dogs.

Introducing Your Dog to a Carrier

Leave it out in the open:

Leaving the carrier out in the open, (perhaps living room, corner of the bedroom etc.) for a few days will allow them to walk up to it and sniff it at there own pace, most likely when you aren’t hovering. No explosion, and we are one step closer!

Make it Doggy Disney Land:

Once your dog can tolerate to be near it without dashing for the exit, it is time for the fun stuff. When your dog comes in from doing their business or it is time for treats or toys, ease them into eating their treat closer and closer to the carrier. When they are comfortable have them go inside the carrier to get their treat or place the treat in the carrier – the same goes for toys.

It sound cheesy, but use your positive ‘Disney’ voice to tell them good job and make it fun for them.

If you start doing this every time, they will think more positive thoughts about this so called Armageddon contraption.

IMPORTANT: During this step, avoid zipping them inside the carrier or closing the flap. We’re getting there! We don’t want them to feel this is something that we are forcing; we want them to think it’s something they are choosing.

Move it to the car:

Try placing it in the car where they normally sit so they can go in and out of it as they please during car rides. They will start to understand that this is an item that travels with them and it won’t come as a shock when it shows up on your next trip.

Closing the sale:


Once your dog is voluntarily going inside their carrier and appears comfortable, try closing it half way. If they are still cool with it, close it all the way for a few seconds and then open it back up. A positive voice and words are helpful here.

Keep repeating this until they are 100% down with the carrier. Hopefully after they have had time to bond with it and see it as a fun and positive activity, they will love getting inside and feel secure and safe inside of it.

Happy Training!

 Introducing Your Dog to a Carrier


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Copy: Sarah Dickerson

Photography: Sarah Dickerson

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