Some dogs will get in the car and be ready for the first ride without any stress, but there will also be ones that will perceive the car as a terrible, loud metal can, in which they also have nausea and find it challenging to keep balance. If your dog has these associations with travel, read on.
If you have a puppy, one of the many things you will need to teach them is to drive slowly. This issue is worth working on from the very beginning so that the dog has a positive experience from early childhood.
What can the first time familiarization with the car look like? After unfolding the transporter or car mat, you can sit inside without starting the engine so that the dog has a moment to familiarize himself with the situation. In the meantime, of course, praise and feed the dog. You don’t see any signs of stress – your dog isn’t panting, fidgeting, or shaking? If so, then we go to the next stage. We go on a mini trip – it can be a short section around the estate or to a nearby meadow, get off and go for a nice, active walk so that the dog remembers this trip as much as possible. This habituation process should continue from a few to several days. Watch your dog and react to his messages, and you will surely know if it is time for a several-minute trip to the forest or an extended vacation route. Thanks to this gradual and consistent procedure, you will quickly achieve the desired effect, and your dog will be happy to jump into the car.
A dog after a walk
The matter looks a bit more complicated when the dog has strengthened negative associations with a given stimulus, in this case, with a car trip – he has experienced a traffic accident. The trips are associated only with a visit to a veterinarian or suffering from persistent motion sickness. If you are struggling with such a case – spend more time socializing. Remember that each dog has a different stressor tolerance threshold. Break down the steps above into smaller tasks to do – at the beginning, just the approach to the car and getting to know it will be a success that should end with fun or a walk. At the next repetition, we can ask the dog to enter the car but not close the door, and during the next training session, park the car. The procedure is similar to that of a puppy, with the difference that we have to divide the whole process into more miniature stages, be even more attentive to our dog’s reactions and devote more time to it.
Safety on the road
An additional essential aspect, and I think it is worth mentioning at the same time, is security. Let us choose car mats that minimize the dog slipping. Let’s buy certified harnesses designed for transporting dogs and trust only proven producers. A dog that rides in comfortable and safe conditions will surely experience much more pleasure from traveling together.
The above tips have made it clear to you how to make your dog enjoy driving a car. If you still have problems with it, contact a good behaviorist, and in the meantime, let me know where you are planning the next trip with your dog.