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Travelling with your dog – pure stress or a bundle of fun?

All dog owners want to take their dog with them when they go on a trip. Here in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, you can enjoy the wonderful natural surroundings – perfect for a walk with your four-legged friend. But what do you need to be aware of when tr

Tanja Thaler, Communications expert, 19. October 2021

1 Make sure the distances are not too long

Of course every dog is different and you can’t apply this tip to all dogs. But I would never take too long a trip on the train with my dog. The dog simply does not enjoy the trip because it is severely restricted in its freedom of movement, can quickly lose patience and finds the train journey boring. So a four-hour trip from Chur to Tirano is probably not a good idea if you are travelling with a dog. However, there are many other routes that are more suitable if you want to take your four-legged friend with you. And sometimes it is worth breaking the journey for an hour and then continuing on the next train so that the dog (and the owner) can stretch its legs.

2 Practise early

It is worth practising with a puppy early, using various means of transport, if you want to take the dog with you on public transport later on. You can start off by simply showing the puppy the platform and the station area. Then the dog will get used to noises, lots of people and the often very exciting pigeons. Once the puppy has become accustomed to the station, it is advisable to explore the means of transport with him by travelling short distances. It is important that the puppy gets to know trains, buses and the PostBus because every vehicle is different. If the puppy learns how to behave on public transport right from the start, it will be easier to travel later on. It is also worth getting the puppy used to a “suitable container” early on (see tip 3). 

Practice getting on the train with your dog as early as possible.

It is best to keep the dog on a leash and slowly lead to the entrance and then get on together.

In this picture the dog already feels comfortable in the unfamiliar entry.

Getting out should also be practiced.

3 The matter of the “suitable container”

The rules governing taking dogs on public transport are the same throughout Switzerland. For example, the national passenger tariff stipulates the following for dogs and small animals (excerpt):

Dogs and small tame animals may be carried in vehicles provided they do not endanger or bother people or other animals. In the event of objections from fellow travellers, the staff will decide whether to transport the animal in a different part of the vehicle. 

Small dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and similar small tame animals measuring less than 30cm in height (up to the shoulder blades) in cages, baskets or other suitable animal-friendly containers may be carried free of charge as hand luggage. In all other cases, and if the animals are removed from the containers, the fare for an animal is half the 2nd class fare. 

Animals can only be placed on seats if they are in an appropriate container. The animal owner must purchase as many half-price 2nd class tickets as the number of seats required. 

In other words, all dogs require a ticket. Exception: dogs measuring less than 30cm in height (up to the shoulder blades) in a suitable container will be transported free of charge. 

What is a suitable container? A suitable container is an animal-friendly transport box, a basket or a dog bag. A bath towel or blanket is not a suitable container. Please note that the dog must remain in the container throughout the journey. It must not be removed. It is best to practise this with the dog early on. 

Don’t forget to give your dog water. There are practical travel bowls that can be folded up and don’t take up much space in your luggage. If required, you can simply open the bowl and fill it using a water bottle. 

This dog is too big to carry in your transportation bag for free...

...but he feels that way and likes to stay in his "own realm" during the trip.

Vergiss nicht, deinem Hund Wasser anzubieten. Es gibt praktische Reise-Näpfe, die zusammengeklappt werden können und nicht viel Platz benötigen in deinem Gepäck. Bei Bedarf kannst du den Napf ganz einfach aufklappen und mit einer Wasserflasche füllen. 

4 Which ticket is the best for my four-legged friend?

Less than 30cm in a suitable containerOver 30cm or without suitable container
Short tripFreeHalf 2nd class fare
Longer journeyFree1-day travelpass CHF 25
Regular tripsFreeDog pass for 1 year CHF 350

As soon as half a 2nd class ticket costs more than CHF 25, it is worth buying the 1-day travelpass for dogs, which allows your four-legged friend to travel with you for a whole day within the area covered by the GA travelcard. If you travel regularly with your dog, the dog pass might be a good idea. It costs CHF 350, is valid for one year and is issued to you personally. 

5 And what else?

Enjoy your time with your dog. Take him on a forest walk through the Engadin countryside, for example through the Stazerwald forest, or let him run through the Rhine Gorge on the banks of the Rhine. 

Of course, your trip can also be extended. Enjoy spending time together over two or more days and book a dog-friendly hotel in Graubünden. 

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