In February we moved from Palos Verdes Estates, CA to Vancouver, WA.
This move was years in the planning and since we were leaving the state we'd spent all of our married life in (and my entire childhood) we decided to take a 10-day drive up the coast to our new home, visiting many of our favorite places. This post is about the logistics of doing that with 2 dogs in the car, too.
My minivan has had its two back rows of seats removed (those were being moved up with our other possessions in storage containers). We've always had a huge dog crate behind the driver and passenger seat (the biggest model they make) for our large Borzoi, and behind that we have two more smaller crates (we used to have 3 dogs). One of the smaller crates is for my oversized Sheltie (35 lbs), and the other has been opened and stacked top-into-bottom, so it's like a large drawer that's open at the top. This is used for storage. Both the smaller crates sit on top of a 10" high wooden platform which has plastic storage boxes under it, open at the top, so they too operate like pull our drawers. This is our normal minivan configuration.
When we left PVE, my van was filled with some essentials for our trip up-- last minute kitchen items that didn't get packed because we used them up till the last minute, my large suitcase, dog food and supplies, a water filter, my big computer bag (with devices and chargers), some towels, dog blankets, etc. My husband's Prius was full of his suitcase, his golf clubs, his computer bag, etc. We had walkie talkies so we could talk without relying on cellphone coverage We caravaned up together.
We drove up the coast stopping in Carmel, Mendocino, and Gold Beach OR. The trip took 10 days and was stunningly beautiful. The dogs slept in the car almost every night, which worked out really well. Because they each ride in their own crate (with water bowl, crate fans, and locks if we need them) we have the ability to keep windows open wider than you would if your dog was unconfined.
We obviously took frequent breaks during the long hours of driving to stretch everyone's legs and potty the dogs. We took care to go slowly during curvy roads through the coastal forest to prevent any motion sickness in the dogs. We kept their food and dishes easily accessible so we could pull over at feeding times, or quietly go out and feed them at 6am.
It was a long and beautiful trip, and even I was happy to see it end when we arrived at our new home. The dogs had so much adjusting to do-- once we got to the new home they still didn't know we weren't just at another hotel (another temporary place) and they didn't start to really settle in until our possessions (and their beds!) arrived later.
All of the dog training we've done over the years made this trip a breeze. Our dogs are comfortable in strange locations out in public, they are polite and easy to handle on leash, they know how to "settle" on their mat no matter where the mat is, and they know how to load and unload into their car crates easily. We adhered to their normal routine during our trip (feeding them at the same time as usual, etc). The only thing that required more diligence on our part was recognizing that they were getting less exercise than usual, and we needed to keep track of their eliminations. After hours of driving (with their snoozing in their crates) they required longer walks to get them to potty.
In our new home, we don't have a fenced in yard which means our dogs must be leashed every time they go outside (we now live on a golf course). These routines have also taken some adjustment on everyone's part. I can no longer open the side door and let the dogs come and go as they please (and I have to intentionally take them out and for walks to eliminate). They' adjusted well as have we.
The first time we took them to the new large dog park we kept them both on leash while we walked the perimeter, giving them a chance to get acquainted with the new park. Our Sheltie is now mostly deaf, so he stays on leash since he can't hear me. We found a wonderful new vet, and are settling in nicely.