Amtrak has the strictest dog travel policies. Dogs do have to ride in their carry-on bag, and must be under 25 pounds to ride onboard. At 18 pounds, Woof Woof had no problem meeting this criteria.
Woof Woof is a New York City dog who has been in a cloth shopping bag on the subway a million times. Technically he should be in an enclosed carrier. He got a $25 ticket once as a pup, but I’d rather spend the cost than lug around an unneeded large carrier, and make him keep his head under mesh fabric. Thus, we enter and leave small subway stations where tickets are less likely to happen.
At first, I kept him in the carrier. To keep him happy, I’d pet the mesh to make sure he felt comfortable and paid attention to. He stayed in the carrier for the first three hours, but everyone wanted to see him. I took him out and let him sit on my lap. When I got up to go to the cafe car to get coffee and dinner for Woof Woof and I, a nice woman watched him in his carrier. I zipped him up in his carrier because I didn’t want her to encounter a problem. But, there was a problem because Woof Woof wasn’t fond of the carrier and me gone at the same time. He cried a little. It wasn’t loud, but I didn’t want him to whimper again. We split a pepperoni and cheese snack pack, and I carried him inside the carrier to the cafe for the rest of the trip.
On the way home, he sat on my lap with permission of the person next to me. While I was able to work on my laptop, he played with a three-year-old. He didn’t bark at all. I took him for five minute walks, and everyone was excited to see such a well-behaved dog.
What we learned about taking dogs on trains is to have a carrier just in case, and a dog that can behave in one. If the carrier doesn’t fit under your seat, you’ll have to have the carrier under your feet for the duration of the trip. Do expect to bring your dog with you in the carrier if you get up for any reason. Expect, at least if your dog is like Woof Woof, he or she will love looking out the window, and will bring joy to neighboring passengers.
Woof Woof Travels
Woof Woof, a 6-month mini schnauzer, is our official travel blogger. He travels the world reviewing hotels, restaurants and his experiences. Check out his columns every Wednesday. The column is co-written by his dog parent, travel writer Reyna Gobel. Her travel articles have published in Costco Connection, Southwest Spirit, American Way, and Hemispheres.