Flying Home with Your Puppy

Flying home with a puppy, even with the post COVID and new airline animal regulations, can be stress free with a little preparation. Roman Reign puppies are Puppy Culture raised, logging many hours riding around in a vehicle and traveling in an airline bag. They are either paper trained or litter trained by the time they go home.

Our recommended airlines are Delta (and their partners) and Southwest. Do note that Delta requires puppies to be at least 10 weeks for flying. You will book a flight, round trip from your selected airport to MSP. We typically recommend flying in and then flying out the same day for ease, but spreading it across two days is fine too. We also recommend at least 90 mins between your flight landing and the departure flight so we have ample time to meet you in passenger pick up.

Once you have booked your flight, you will call the airline to book your pet on the flight home. The reservation agent will typically ask of the species, age, breed, weight of dog, type of carrier, and size of the carrier. Most carriers have the sizes listed on the product information. For those who do not already have a carrier, we can get one for $20 or so for you to take home. The typical size of those are 18 x 10 x 10 inches.


If you are looking to purchase a carrier for regular trips (i.e. multiple uses), our favorite is the Sturdibag size large or extra large. These bags are not inexpensive, but they are worth it. I try to find them used on local resale sites or ebay. The extra large will fit under the plane seat. If the airline representative questions it, you can easily use your hand to show that the top is flexible.

When you arrive at the MSP airport, we will pick you up, go to a local coffee shop or park, talk you through all the supplies, and drop you off at the airport. We will provide litter or paper pads for the trip home. We will feed your puppy on the normal schedule, but we do recommend withholding food until you arrive home so your puppy doesn’t need to make a bowel movement at the airport or on the plane.

When you arrive back at the MSP airport, you will check in at the desk for your airline. Most airlines will not allow you to use the online check in for a flight with a dog. You will need to pay the pet fee at the counter as well. For Delta, you will have to go to the Agent Assist counter as opposed to the regular check in counters. Some agents will ask for proof of age when checking in, and you can use the vaccine record or vet exam record that contains the date of birth.

When you go through security, you will go through whichever way your ticket allows. When you enter the screening area, you will put all your items through the screening process, put your dog carrier on the counter, and then take your puppy out of the bag. It is easiest to take out the puppy at the very last minute so you’re not trying to juggle your luggage and a new excited puppy.

Carry your puppy through whatever security device you are required to go through. Sometimes, they’ll want to do additional screening on your items. Things that seem suspicious going through screening are odd shaped dog chews, bags of dog food, and copious amounts of hair brushes. When you get through security, put your puppy in the carrier, gather your things, and head over to your next destination, a flight lounge, the bar, or the gate.

When at the airport, I try to attract as little attention to my dog as possible. Well-meaning bystanders can sometimes cause you trouble. There are a fair share of people in the world who have uninformed opinions about the role of dogs in our society, the role a dog should play in your life, where you should get a dog, how a dog should be traveling on a plane, what kind of carrier is appropriate for a dog, and some sort of Karen disorder. Some of these people will start a rallying cry to the airline representatives to refuse you to board with your puppy. It is best to just avoid getting into the middle of a fight or having to change your plans because someone else can’t mind their own business.

At the MSP airport, there is a dog relief room inside the secure area. If you do not want to use  that room, you can put down a pad on the floor in the human bathroom. I usually go into the handicap stall if it is not occupied.

Your puppy can usually go several hours without having to use the bathroom, but you’ll want to offer the opportunity to relieve him/herself before each leg of your flight home. After boarding, you’ll want to remove all unnecessary items from the carrier like a leash. You can allow your puppy to have a bully stick if you like. On the flight, your puppy will likely sleep for hours. If your puppy gets too warm in the bag, you’ll want to open up the carrier vents to allow air circulation. If your puppy whines, you can slide your feet under the bag and rock your puppy back to sleep if needed. Upon arrival, give your puppy an opportunity to use the bathroom.

Determining the height of bend in your shafts.

The height of bend in your shafts should be determined by the height of the axle, height of the attachment of the shafts to the cart, and the height of your dog at the point of shoulder.

Advantages of having a bend in the shafts include being able to roll the shafts in or out to adjust height and width for the multiple dogs sharing the same cart set up.  The bigger the bend, the more leeway you have to adjust.  The less bend, the less adjustability but more stability.

The angle of the bend is not important as long as the ending height is the same. I typically stick with 30 degree bends.  For questions:

Teaching a dog to back up in cart

Vesta, a 19 month old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, demonstrates how to back up into a cart.  She also shows how to make turns in cart, back up in cart, and a moving stand. 

Vesta is owned by Jennie Chen.  Her registered name is Seneca’s Roman Candle Reigns Vesta, CA, HIC, NWPD.  You can visit her at

Starting a Puppy in Conformation

Someone in our regional club asked about handling classes, and I wrote this response.  I thought it might be good to share publicly as well.  Location/person specific information has been removed. Enjoy!


I would recommend that you not start conformation classes with your puppy until you’ve tried it without your dog or with trained dogs. It will take you longer to learn how to handle than it will take your dog to learn how to perform in the conformation ring. The danger in taking a puppy into conformation as a first time conformation handler is that the puppy might find it boring or uncomfortable while you are trying to learn. By the time you know what you are doing, the puppy might already dislike conformation.

I would highly recommend that you go and watch a few of the classes first (or watch YouTube videos on conformation handling), do some intense reading (it will be a great investment), and take quality general training classes. Regardless of what sport you pursue, you will need to learn how to communicate with your dog and perform as a team. I don’t think that conformation training is any different from competitive obedience training or flyball or even weight pull. It is still about the relationship you have with your dog and your communication.

Also, all my dogs are trained in competitive obedience and conformation. I strongly believe that they can do both. Many people think that dogs can only do one or the other. All my dogs have been trained to free-stack separately from automatic sits. I wouldn’t discourage training in both if you are so inclined.  You should not limit your possibilities with the notion that a dog can only learn or do one thing at a time.

Here’s a list of books I recommend:

Building Blocks for Puppies by Bobbie Anderson:
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. A dog is a pet first. It doesn’t matter what your dog does on the weekends, your dog should find you to be exciting all the time. Your dog should also mind you in and out of the ring. You do have to live with the dog outside of the show ring as well.

All of Pat Hastings books:
I just went to one of her seminars yesterday, and I always learn something new. It is always best to learn about canine structure so that you know your dog’s strength and weaknesses. As a handler, you should learn how to downplay or accentuate those points in your dog.

The Winning Edge Show Ring Secrets by George Alston:
This is a great primer for first time owner-handlers. There are great photos and diagrams along with grooming tips.

There’s many other conformation books out there as well. It might seem like quite a bit of information at once, but I’m of the philosophy of great preparation and learning from other people’s mistakes. Always better to learn before you pay that entry fee.

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