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Thread: Dog Barks in Car. Dangerous Distraction

  1. #1
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    Default Dog Barks in Car. Dangerous Distraction

    HI Steve,
    this is an old issue with Bernie, that has re arisen.
    Screaching with excitement in the car on way for his morning romp.

    The noise he makes, is excitement. Same noise he makes when faced with anything he really really wants. ie. tunnels at agility, when he greets his mates at dog walks. There was another GSD at the western branch who did this, slightly embarassing, but harmless. In a car, with me driving, very distracting.

    This is not separation anxiety. as someone suggested when i posted previously, he's not a nervous dog, very confident and happy go lucky. Will go walking with others, not just family.

    Early morning walks. Now summer is here, there are others in the paddocks, enjoying allowing friendly dogs to romp and play together. So, much more exciting for Bernie! Hence return of the behaviour.

    Previously, tried NOT demisting car, so he cant see out of windows. In attempt to address possible: not triggering his prey drive to chase what he sees/perceives as moving objects.

    Restricting his space in car. This helped. But now has ceased to work.

    Taking him elsewhere, this works once we turn right toward town, instead of usual left into country romps area. But i really want him to go with other dogs. Previous dog was dog aggressive, and as Bernie is only a yr old, i dont want him unsocialised and aggro to others. Fearful if i stop socialising him, he'll become dog aggressive. < is that accurate though? at what point, can i relax. I was sorely disturbed by my other dogs aggro toward others. And kind of defeats the purpose of dog ownership to me for my needs. eg. to be able to take camping and mix with people/dogs/livestock safely.

    I really just want to 'pop the boot' and release him whilst im driving off its so annoying! (joke-i wouldnt, but its tempting at times!).

    Currently i am: waiting for him to be quite, and saying "yes" his clicker, and "goodboy" his verbal praise. Ignoring the barking, and waiting till he shuts the hell up before i open the car, making him wait for command, before he erupts out of it to spin at my feet till given the release so he can go play.

    Water pistol. Er, a no go for bernie. Water = "lets play". HE goes out of his way, to play in any water, puddles, his water bowl has to be hung up or he gets in a spills it everywhere, leaving him waterless for the day. And when ive tried the pistol, he loved it???

    Im considering having a trainer in for this. But would if possible, like to avoid the expense, as other things are claiming financial priority for us as a family.

    Anything to suggest please?
    Bernie

  2. #2
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    Hey Bernie, it is a pretty common problem that will take some effort to totally correct.

    Often it helps to crate the dog during transport that limits his movement and exposure to the moving pictures out the window.

    Some dogs it is about movement of the vehicle and sound too and they work better by restraining them with say a harness in the down position.

    So really it is more a case by case situation than what works for those dogs is.

    Having that said it is probably a good idea to contact a Behaviourist near you and at least get an opinion.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    www.k9pro.com.au

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  3. #3
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    Hiya Steve, much time has passed. I had more opportunity to observe this behaviour closely, on many occasions.
    the behaviour ONLY occurs on the way to the walk area. He's quiet as a mouse led down on way back.

    Ive tried caging him, and covering cage so he cant see out, no difference to behaviour.

    Ive tried having his mate in car too, makes no difference, she just gets trampled in his excitement.

    We now are following this, to 'manage' the behaviour.
    Prior to any car trip, Bernie gets his exercise, then we tie him into a cage, on back of ute. Our other dog just lays down quietly outside of the cage, and ingnores him, but him in a cage prevents him trampling her at least.

    I notice once we leave our neighbourhood, he stops. But is still screaming with excitement for first 2 miles, very embarrassing.
    We went camping at weekend.
    We rock up, with ute, trailer, one sleep rottie x and a screaming Bernie. Everyone is terrified of what im bringing out of the cage! It generally takes people 1 meeting of Bernie to work out, he's very polite and well trained, just incredibly impatient to get on with camping, and meeting everyone in the camp please!

  4. #4
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    OMG, that last bit was hilarious ... I hope you are able to successfully contain Bernie's screaming, I nearly spat my morning coffee all over the screen, picturing one sleeping rottie x and a screaming Bernie arriving at the camp site ... good luck with it

  5. #5
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    Muzzle for the short car trip if it is so distracting and put on when entering a camping site?
    My last dog barked at every car on the road, I just tuned him out but this was not an everyday thing that you are experiencing and just when we had to take him the hour long trip to the vet whenever.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  6. #6
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    Muzzle for the short car trip if it is so distracting and put on when entering a camping site?
    What will a muzzle do unless you intend on clamping his mouth shut tight? It doesnt do a thing.

    You need to do a lot more control work off the car before you get to the car. He's not going to hop up on the ute unless he calms down. Then he can stay there for a few minutes and not go anywhere, come down and go back inside. The more he screams, the further away he gets from the ute and I would be correcting him if he goes berzerk, which I have a feeling he will. Unless you can reinforce a decreased anxiety level the dog will never learn to calm down fully.

  7. #7
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    I haven't used a muzzle or really seen one so I don't know how big they are. Just throwing up the suggestion as a question as someone said it curbed barking on another thread.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  8. #8
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    Nekhbet.
    Im interested in this. Can you be a bit more expansive please? im a novice, so dumb it down, and spell it out to me so i can follow it with Bernie please?

    I have a issue in that the screaming generally starts with the wheels turning. So, perhaps stopping and removing him from trailer, is that what you mean?
    And what should i do, when we cross a river, Bernie's fave environment, and he gives a scream to be allowed to jump in it?

    I have actually moved house, so that i am in the bush, rather than having to drive 5k's to get here. So there is now virtually no car travel for him, unless we have a journey to make, ie. keeping stopping is going to be a pain in the arse!

    and how do i correct him, when im driving, and he's on back of ute?

  9. #9
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    Your dog will be following a pattern and hence exciting himself before he even gets to the car. The screaming comes from the fact he will be already excited and he just cant contain himself any longer so he squeals lol

    So you need to not fulfill his expectations and break the pattern in his head which will be 'OMG we're going to the car!!! = going somewhere fun = I WANNA GO THERE NOW!!!' and *POP* the squealing starts. Basically you're taking the kid to disneyland everytime you take him to the car, its what his brain is thinking and he's worked himself into a slather over it. So break the pattern. OK so what sets him off first ... probably the keys, some people go 'FIDO! You want to go to the car!' or something that is a trigger. So the trick is desensitisation when you really analyse what it is that starts him getting even a little excited about going to the car. Act like you're going to take him to the car, then veer off. Ignore him totally. When he's calm do it again, it will confuse the hell out of him but you have to - the brain wants that pattern to continue as it's so self rewarding but you want to avoid him working himself up. Then the next day just take him to the car and make him get on the back of the ute quickly, give him a treat then back in the house. By now he'll be thinking, what the heck is going on. If he whinges, turn away from the car and back in the house.

    What you should be aiming to do is have him truly calm before the wheels start. No dog goes from chilled out to pinging its that build up before the wheels start you have to get, not afterwards. Take care of his excitement before and the rest will follow. Another trick is that when you know you have to travel and he's going to be a pain in the butt dont feed him that day, and put him in a covered crate with a really yummy yet hard to get meal. He will probably want to scream but hunger and lack of visual stimuli can help direct him into something more productive (theoretically)

    I'll expand when I get home later if it doesnt make sense have to go to the big smoke bah

  10. #10
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    Thanks Nekhbet.
    So this morning, i have opened up garage, and started loading a couple of bits of camping equip into the ute. This is the behavioural cue that its ride on trailer time, yeah! (I never use 'walkies' or rarely start our walks on leash, so thats not a cue to be going out in car, my keys are though, so used those)
    And he's Mr nosy excited dog, where are we going? are we going now? do you want me to bring my blanket? , here's my blanket, pack that! Running up and down, up and down trailer. Then we unpacked trailer, he's a little confused bless him. So starts running up and down length of trailer on ground, and brings me his blanket to take once more, just in case ive been cured of my madness. I didnt take it off him, i just allowed it to drop on floor.
    Ive gone indoors, Bernie has started packing the ute himself. He's got his blanket on the trailer, and rounded Pohm up onto the trailer, he's screaming at me from the ute trailer now as if to say, come on woman, what's taking you so long.

    This seems so cruel. funny too, but cruel. My daughter who is badly afflicted with teenage amotivation, has actually gotten up out of her pit, to see what's wrong with Bernie, why's he screaming? She asked where i'm taking him? That's telling isnt it.

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