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Archived Message

introducing to travel bag

by Malisa Sims

Hello all! My family is traveling for about four months with my 10 year old maltese. We are flying there (it takes about 4 hours total with layover) then we're staying in one place for several months and taking the same type of flight back. We have a medium Sherpapet bag for him which I am thrilled with. We are leaving in about 3wks. and I need some suggestions on how to get him used to it. He has never flown before, but he will be in the cabin with us. I have been leaving the top open and the front door open. We have been feeding his food in there--he loves his food, but he leaves as soon as he is done. I have given him treats in there which he will retrieve and promptly exit. I keep it whereever I am and he started to lie in the opening across the door on the ground. One other thing I did was to take out the the sheep skin liner that it comes with and put his own sheep skin which is his buddy for several years in the bag. That way I figure if he's in the bag it smells familiar and if he's out of the bag he will lie on the new sheep skin liner which he has already proceeded to do. He does not have ANY toys to lure him in except food and treats. So, I am asking your expert advice on getting my 10 yo very nervous baby used to his new crate. He is trained in a hard crate for the last 10 years which he is very comfy in, yet too big to take on the plane. Any advie would be appreciated for a nervous mom and dog! Thanks,Malisa Sims


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Dear Malisa: You are doing an excellent job in acclimating your Maltese to the travel bag. The only thing I would add to his training is to begin a regime of closing him into the bag, starting with 15 minutes at a time and increasing up to the amount of time which the flight will involve (from beginning to end). Be sure to add a favorite toy or treat (perhaps a hoof as it keeps them interested for longer periods of time). If he cries, you'll have to ignore him. After all, on the flight, you will not be able to take him out as they do not permit it (remember what happened to Zsa Zsa whenever she insisted on taking her pets out?). If he stays in the bag quietly, tell him he's good and reward him after you remove him. Otherwise, ignore his pleadings as you don't want to send a message that if he persists long enough, you'll give in. By the date of your departure, you should have him acclimated to staying in the bag for the necessary length of time. Hope this helps! Jacquelene :))

Train and familiarize your Maltese with the Sherpa Bag. Before your trip, leave the bag open with a toy or treat inside. Allow your Maltese to wander in and out of the bag. Praise and reward him each time. Train your Maltese to associate the bag with a pleasant experience. Carry it around in the bag so it becomes used to the new environment. The more pleasant and relaxed he becomes with the bag at home - the less anxiety you both will have when traveling. The bag will become his personal den. Patience is the key. Never leave your Maltese alone in a zipped-up bag!

Plan Ahead: When you make your airline reservation, be sure to make one for your Maltese - at the same time! Do this as early as possible. Only a limited number of pets can be transported on each flight, and this number varies according to airline and aircraft type. Airlines charge a small fee for pets that travel in the cabin.

Airline Restrictions:Ask when making your reservations if there are special policies regarding pets in-cabin. Rules, regulations and charges vary from airline to airline, so always check first. Dimensions of pet carriers quoted are for hard carriers and do not apply to Sherpa Bags, which are soft-sided and flexible. What is important is the size of your Maltese. He must be able to fit comfortably under the seat in front of you, and have room to stand up and turn around inside of the bag.

Absorbent Liners: Airlines insist on them! THE Sherpa Bags have liners, or you can use a towel. Take extra towels if your Maltese gets motion sickness, and disposable pads would be helpful. Always keep a clean liner in the Sherpa Bag.

Feeding: Feed your Maltese lightly when traveling. To prevent air sickness, no food should be offered within six hours of departure, and no water within 2 hours of flight time! An ice cube during the trip will provide refreshment and entertainment.

Walk Your Maltese: Before entering the terminal take your Maltese for a stroll, but away from the entrance and other travelers. One of those plastic bags in the accessory pouch will come in handy for pick-up and proper disposal. For a leash, use the shoulder strap from the Sherpa Bag if necessary.

Keep Your Maltese in the Bag:He should not be let out of the bag, from the time you enter the terminal until you exit the terminal at your destination. This is a training issue and is in your Maltese's best interest. Inserting your hand and stroking during the flight will be soothing, but make sure his leash is attached to the safety ring inside the bag! Watch the zippers - keep them both pulled to one end to prevent him sneaking out.

Keep a Low Profile Being allowed on board an aircraft is a privilege and there are passengers who surprisingly do not like pets! The Sherpa Bag is designed to not call attention to the fact that you are carrying a pet.

Always make sure your Maltese has an identification tag on its collar, and use the leash ring. Practice safety in the automobile, too. . . Place the Sherpa Bag in the middle of the back seat, lengthwise. Hook the seat belt through the side strap and tighten it. If the Sherpa Bag is on the end of the seat, put the car's shoulder belt through the strap.

Happy Travels! ;-)

I recently purchased a bag for my four month old. For a few minutes, she was resistant. I put a thick phone book in the bottom and then a towel before I snapped her in place. I did not zip the top. She really enjoyed the ride (1hr each way) and never tried to get out. She slept like a baby riding in a car. Now she seems to know that the bag means going somewhere. I think the vibration of the car or plane helps soothe them--and also if they can see you. The telephone book enabled her to see better --I'm sure I'll eventually remove it but for now it has worked out great!! Good luck with your travels!!

I have used a small Sherpa Bag for all the traveling my Maltese does. He goes everywhere with me including lots of planes and loves it. The key is to use it daily for all the times you can take your pet. They are wonderful and the dog likes what he gets usd to. Good luck. Bonnie

Can anyone tell me where I can get one of those airline bags? We will be traveling this winter and I would like to start training my baby now. Thanks!

R.C. Steel Co. sells them. A med sized one is $54.84 and it comes in Dk Green, black or red. Item#S38-0560 (10"W x 17 1/2"D x 10 1/2"H) The phone number to order is 1-800-872-3773

Hello. When I needed to get my new baby (almost 6 months ago now!), I met him at the airport with a sherpa bag. It was his first time away from his mom, his sister, and familiar home. His first plane trip, and his first time meeting me. He had never even seen a sherpa bag before, but I had decided it would be the most comfortable way for both of us to fly. He was completely content in the bag, and on the plane. To this day, he never goes in his bag just to be alone or to sleep. But every time I put him in it to take him somewhere, he still gets really excited. Jazz just loves his sherpa bag, and loves to travel. No training was required. I don't know if I just got lucky, but, if so, good luck to you, too.
-Marsha O & Jazz

I have a funny story about Touquet and his Sherpa Bag. Last Christmas we flew with Touquet in his Sherpa Bag to visit my family. When the time came to return home, we put all our bags by the door to go out to the car, including Touquet's Sherpa Bag. I picked up Touquet to put on his little Polartec jacket (it was -35 outside). He struggled with me and got away. He ran at full speed to his Sherpa Bag, found a little hole in the top where the zipper wasn't quite closed, and disappeared from sight into the bag. All of this took approximately half a second. It was so funny to see that we all practically fell over laughing. There was no way he would allow us to leave him behind! He figured if the bag was going, he was darn well going to be in it!!!

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