Help my dog is afraid of car rides! is the public out cry of so many pet owners. For some dogs car rides equal dooms day. Not all dogs are thrilled at car rides and often will throw temper tantrums, whining and crying non-stop until you escort them back inside the house. Unfortunately not all the places you need to take your dog is in walking distance, so car time is a must. But don’t lose hope, you are not alone, in fact this is more common then you think.
While some dogs will leap in the back seat at the drop of hat excited to embark on a road adventure as your furry co-pilot. This fearless pack would agree that from a dogs eye view, no road trip is complete without window gazing, barking at passing cars and pedestrians, sniffing the air and taking a relaxing nap. But there are those who can not stomach the thought of a car ride, fearfully sitting in the driveway shaking in their boots trying to figure out an escape route. Here are a few tips on acclimating or reconditioning your anxious dog to overcome a fear of car rides. Once a dog is comfortable with a particular step, owners can progress to the next step. Don’t worry this will be painless!
1. Open the car door and stand beside the car with the dog. Offer praise, give dog treats and play. Feeding the dog his meals beside the car can work as well.
2. Sit inside the car with the dog (with the engine off). Again, offer praise, dog treats and play; the pet must associate sitting inside the car with a positive experience. Once the dog’s initial fear of sitting inside the car dissipates, feeding the dog his dinner inside the car can be a good way to reinforce the idea that the car is not a frightening location.
3. Sit inside the car with the dog with the engine running. Continue to offer praise and dog treats and play with the dog to reinforce the idea that car rides are fun!
4. Take the dog on a short car ride; it should be no longer than 1 minute. A friend should be on-hand to provide treats and praise during the car ride. Once the dog returns home, engage in a fun activity, like a game of fetch.
5. Take the dog on short trips around town to fun locations like the park. Bring a second person who can offer praise and dog treats. (Remember, never leave a dog unattended inside a car, especially during hot weather!)
6. Gradually increase the length of the car rides as the pet becomes increasingly comfortable on the drives.
When helping a dog overcome a fear of the car, it’s important to avoid unpleasant destinations. If the dog rides in the car once a year in order to go to the veterinary clinic, he will associate the car ride with that negative experience. It’s important to drive the dog to fun and pleasant locations like the park or the beach!
Is the car ride making your dog feel like he or she is on a non stop roller coaster ride with its twist and turns? Well, we have just what the the doctor ordered!. Some anxious dogs can benefit from medication and anxiety remedies. There are an array of over-the-counter anxiety medications for dogs, including Bach Rescue Remedy.
So paw pal stop shedding those tears and enjoy the ride!
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