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Thread: Dog Wont Go in the Car

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Dog Wont Go in the Car

    We have a 9 month old Golden Retriever who is brilliant in every way except he wont jump in the car. It is a commodore wagon so he has plenty of room and can see out the windows. Traveling in the car he seems to be fine - he doesn't get over excited either.

    At the start it wasn't so bad to lift him, but now he is 30 kgs and when he goes for a swim... wet heavy dog = yuck!

    Everyday (for the last few months) we take him to a off lead dog park for a 5km walk and swim and he LOVES it. He is in his element and as soon as he sees the lake he makes a-line for it 200 metres away. He socialises with dogs and you can see he just LOVES it!

    However, when its time to go in the car at home or after the park - he is off lead and we walk up to it, open the boot and all he does is drop to the ground and will often pees while on his back.

    We have tried praise, teaching up/paws up, toys, food, back door, praise whilst in the car driving, getting in ourselves and calling him in, leaving treats on the back so he can eat while we are driving, tried pulling him with lead...

    We are at a loss.. We love to take him everywhere with us and we know he loves being at new places - he just hates the car.

    Any suggestions greatfully appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    It's possible he gets car sick or something else is unpleasant about getting in the car.

    When my dog was young, I lifted her in and out of the car, as I have a tall 4WD and it can be risky to the dog's bones and joints if you let them jump in and out too young. I still do it sometimes but she's only 22kg not 30kg. The back of a commodore wagon is quite high up too.

    Have you had a vet or dog chiro or physio check him for injuries? It may be painful to jump up. Will he jump in the back passenger door instead? Ie that might be low enough, and if he will do that, a ramp might help.

    You can buy or make a ramp for dog to walk up. But that won't help if he doesn't like it in there.

    To help him like getting in the car as much as getting out and going for a swim, have some fresh roast chicken, and when he first gets in, feed him little bits making a huge fuss over how clever he is and make sure this process lasts at least 30 seconds - to make the appropriate impression. Do this every time you get him in the car, not just going home from the lake. And practice at home when you're not going anywhere.

    If he's happy to jump in when you're not going anywhere, then I suspect he gets car sick.

    My dog prefers to travel lying down across the back seat with her eyes firmly shut. That definitely applied all the time when she was young ie at 9 months old. She's 2yo now and sometimes when we slow down for a traffic light she will sit up and have a look around.

    One other thing about a 9 month old GR - you're entering the doggy adolescent phase, where they can go a bit nutty - get scared of things that never bothered them before or just push the boundaries as far as doing what they're told goes. You may need to limit their freedom a little bit more than usual and be careful not to indulge (reward and encourage) any scaredy cat behaviour or naughty behaviour. This does not mean belting the dog, but limiting its opportunity to get into trouble (more on lead time), and more focus on giving it something else to do and rewarding and encouraging that.

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