In this blog, you will learn how to help your dog feel more confident during car travel. Many dogs experience stress and exhibit behaviors such as barking, whining, panting, vomiting, or refusing to get into the car. To address this, it’s important to create a positive association with the car and ensure your dog is secured to prevent any potential risks.
The first step is to create a comfortable and familiar environment by placing your dog’s bed and blankets inside the car. This will help your dog feel more secure and reduce the likelihood of losing balance while the car is moving. If your dog is crate trained, a secured crate can also provide a safe space in the car.
Next, get your dog used to the car by walking them around the vehicle with the engine off and doors shut. Reward them with treats, toys, or praise whenever they calmly approach the car, sniff it, or investigate it. Continue these short sessions until your dog is comfortable walking near the car.
Once your dog is relaxed around the outside of the car, you can introduce them to the inside. Start by placing some of their blankets inside and reward them for moving towards the open door. Gradually move the treat further into the car until your dog feels comfortable climbing inside. You can also sit in the car with your dog and offer a long-lasting treat to help build a positive association.
The next step is to close the door while your dog is inside the car. Start by closing it for a few seconds and gradually increase the time. If your dog becomes worried, repeat the step with the door partly closed and gradually work up to a fully closed door.
Once your dog is comfortable with the door closed, introduce the sound of the engine. Keep the car stationary, engine running, with your dog inside and offer a treat to help them relax. Gradually increase the length of time the engine runs and only continue if your dog remains calm.
When your dog is familiar with the sound of the engine, start with short drives and gradually increase the distance. Make sure the first few trips are to fun places to build a positive association. By following these steps, you can help your dog feel more confident and comfortable during car travel. To learn more about teaching your dog new skills, visit our website.