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Thread: Dog scared of car ride

  1. #1
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    Jul 2013
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    Default Dog scared of car ride

    Hi guys,

    Back online for a bit of advice. Now I've only had Pippin for about a week and a half but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on helping her get over her fear of car rides. I'm thinking that since she had to fly from Melb to Adel and then drive home with me in a crate then she is associating car rides with the stress of being moved around. She's had a couple of car rides since then back and forth to the vet for puppy preschool and while she loves it when she gets there, she hates the car ride. The first time I had her in the crate and she howled like I was dragging her to her doom. The next time I tried a harness connected to the seat belt which was a bit better but still very stressful.

    I'm not sure if this is something that she'll eventually get used to as she gets older or if there is anything I could be doing to help her relax into it more.

    And for your cuteness quota for the day here's some more pics:

    Hello.jpg

    nap time.jpg

  2. #2
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    Aug 2011
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    She's only little (and very cute), you'll just have to stick with it. She will get used to it. There are probably some things you can do to help her. I always give our pups a treat for getting into the car for the first few months. You can just practice this on the driveway without going anywhere too. I have also been known to hand treats to the pup when they're behaving well on the backseat. Might be a bit tricky with such a tiny pup, don't want you to crash the car! If you could get an accomplice to do this, that would be better.

  3. #3
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    Yeah I want to do some test runs with OH driving while I sit in the back with her. Hoping she'll get used to it.

  4. #4
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    Hi there EJB32

    Both my dogs were initially scared to ride in the car. What worked for me was to just put them in the car by picking them up and placing them in there. I didn't make a fuss about it or try to sooth them. I wanted them to realize that the car ride is just another part of the routine. Then it would be off to the dog park for a run and play. Eventually, they began to associate the car ride with going to the park and they were soon jumping up into the car on their own. This worked for me but results may vary.

    cheers

    Adrian

  5. #5
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    So cute.

    Frosty hated the car and the ride home from the AWL to my place via a friends place was not fun for her. Intiially I put her in the very back and she just went ballistic and nearly hung herself. So I made it so she couldn't do that. Got to my friend's place where she ran her self to exhaustion playing with friends dog... and then we put her on the front seat - where she curled up and went to sleep all the way home without any stress.

    And that's pretty much how we went everywhere after that.

    Unfortunately for the first six months she would get car sick and we'd get last night's dinner back to haunt us... ie if she sat up in the seat drooling, I had seconds to pull over and get newspaper under her mouth before she upchucked...

    I got her used to the car - by driving a short distance to a local park for a run (and the opportunity to learn bad habits). About 1.5km. Eventually she worked out if she lay down with her eyes shut - she didn't get car sick. So I did manage to drive all the way to Mudgee and back with her that way.

  6. #6
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    Yeah I'd like to put her in the front seat because she's less stressed if I can pat her but OH has put his foot down and said no that's where he sits and he doesn't want it all gunked up with dog smell. which is fair enough given the suits he wears to work.

    Thanks for the advise guys, I guess I'll just have to keep trying till she gets used to it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejburke32 View Post
    Yeah I want to do some test runs with OH driving while I sit in the back with her. Hoping she'll get used to it.
    I would always train the behaviour you want. Sitting on back seat ALONE, not with you sitting there, reinforcing/rewarding all her shinnanigins.

    Make her starve for a day, then feed her off back seat. Make her sit in back seat, and get a treat or 10. Keep her exercised, but find somewhere nearby, say 5 mins drive, and take her for walks, so she associates car drives with walkies!

    All mine hated the car at first. Till they worked out, its just a bed, that gets them from our house, to chasing rabbits on the downs! yeah!

  8. #8
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    She has no problem with getting in the car, I only have to open the door and she starts sniffing around wanting to explore, its once I'm in the front and we start driving that she starts to howl. At this stage she hasn't had all her shots yet so I cant take her to a nearby park until at least another month and a half. Puppy preschool is only a 15min ride away and she loves it when she gets there just howls the whole way. I'm taking her to my mum's tomorrow which will be about a 45min drive, not looking forward to that!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejburke32 View Post
    She has no problem with getting in the car, I only have to open the door and she starts sniffing around wanting to explore, its once I'm in the front and we start driving that she starts to howl. At this stage she hasn't had all her shots yet so I cant take her to a nearby park until at least another month and a half. Puppy preschool is only a 15min ride away and she loves it when she gets there just howls the whole way. I'm taking her to my mum's tomorrow which will be about a 45min drive, not looking forward to that!
    Ah, that calls for a backtrack on my part. Howling. Oh god, you poor thing. I have a 8yr old GSD who still does this. I have had a trainer, no progress. I live with it by moving to within walking distance, of where i was driving to. ie. stopped driving the screaming idiot around outside of on the back of the ute. Where i dont have to listen to him. But he's very embarrassing, he get very excited.

  10. #10
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    once I'm in the front and we start driving that she starts to howl.
    Hmm - never had that problem. Any chance you can put her in a crate or box and cover her up so she can't see out. And if the howling stops - you can uncover a bit so she can see out a little bit?

    Is she howling with excitement or distress?

    If it's excitement - a few practice runs where you stop - as soon as the dog makes any noise and wait for her to be quiet before you start again, works. Even if the first time - it's only around the block...

    If it's distress - All I can think is put her in a box in the footwell of the front passenger seat - and cover her up. If she decides to wander around the car - you need to get her a harness so she can't.

    After my dog was about 5 or 6 months old - she graduated to the back seat and a harness - not that she did anything but lie down with her eyes shut. And I have something called a car hammock now. If you get one of these - make sure it's a pale colour that won't heat up in the sun. I ended up going to a horse rug shop and getting them to make me a rectangle of white rip stop canvas with some d-rings so I could tie it to the head rests front and back (hence hammock). I think mine cost around $60 from the horse rug shop - you can get them for more and for less. Beware of the plastic ones tho.

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