Train’s leaving! Public transport with your dog.

11 MAI 2020

TOBALIE

For some dog owners it is part of their daily routine to use public transport with their dog, for some it is rather the exception. In principle, every dog is welcome in the austrian public transport system and is allowed to ride along, but certain rules and obligations should be observed. What these are and what measures should be taken to ensure a stress-free journey, you can read in this article.

Costs and obligations

Do I have to buy a ticket for my dog? That depends: If it is an assistance dog (blind- service- signal dog) and this is noted in the disabled pass, it can be carried free of charge. This also applies to smaller dog breeds that are kept in closed (species-appropriate!) transport boxes. Owners of an annual pass for public transport do not have to buy an extra ticket for their dog.

All other four-legged friends need a half-price ticket (example vienna: 1.20 Euro, as of 2020). 

Find out about the house rules of the train, bus, tram or which public transport you use regularly. 

Within the public transport system (also tracks, stations, etc.) the house rules apply. For the vienna public transport, this currently means that your dog must be kept on a leash and carry a muzzle (exception: assistance dogs).

How stressful is a trip for my dog? How do I recognise stress in my dog?

Of course you can’t generalize that. Every dog is an individual and deals with stress differently. Some seem to be completely relaxed during the trip, some are extremely restless or anxious. Pay attention to the following stress signals:

  • Increased panting, salivation and yawning
  • Flat, rapid breathing
  • Nervousness and trembling, shaking
  • Crouching posture, ears laid back
  • Retracted rod
  • Increase of reassurance
  • Whimpering and barking

Consider the many impressions (smells, noise, crowds, temperature, …) that your dog has to deal with

How can I help my stressed dog?

Stress can have various negative effects on the dog’s organism. Apart from the physical effects, especially if stress lasts for a long time, it is of course not a nice feeling for your pet. 

How can you support your best friend now? The motto is: prevention instead of treating symptoms. 

If your dog is prone to stress in certain situations, it is advisable to train these situations in advance. 

  • Putting on a muzzle, walking on a leash, sitting quietly, using lifts, so all the things that come up to your darling in the pubs need to be trained in advance.  Under the link – Successful dog training: The way is the goal – you can get information about species-appropriate training or contact a qualified dog trainer
  • Start your training step by step outside of rush hours. 
  • Even licking has a calming effect. It can be both rewarding and calming (licking tube).
  • Stay calm yourself. If you are tense, this will be transferred to your pet. 
  • If your dog is familiar with blanket training, the familiar blanket can give him security and he knows where to lie down.

Where is the best place?

That depends on the size of your darling. If you have a small dog, you can put him on your lap or leave him under your seat. Nobody can get on him so easily there. Especially in crowded public places our dogs are unfortunately often overlooked. So make sure that nobody steps on his paws or tail. Large dogs often need a lot of space, which can lead to displeasure of the other passengers. The best thing is to let your pet sit close to you or between your legs. Whether your dog lies or sits depends on the available space and the height. 

One more thing you should watch out for:

  • Your dog should not run to other passengers.
  • Other passengers should not pet your dog! Because this way it is hard for him to learn that he should stay quietly with you and that public transport is not a playground. 
  • No your dog does not have to put up with everything. So speak for him and say clearly no if someone wants to feed him, pet him or play with other dogs.
  • Riding escalators can be dangerous for your cutie! The paws can easily get caught when you get off. So it’s better to use the stairs or the lift.
  • Some public transport vehicles have a heater under the seat, make sure your dog doesn’t burn himself and change seats if necessary. 
  • Balance. Yes, some dogs find it difficult to keep their balance in a moving bus. You can train with a dog fitness trainer. 
  • Pay attention to the needs of your pet!

Summary

If you follow certain rules, it is no big problem to use the public transport with the dog. Besides the general rules like ticket, muzzle and leash, the welfare of the animal should always be the main focus. It is quite a lot of impressions, to which the dog must get used first. So take enough time to practice. Have a good trip!