It can feel like a chore when your dog doesn’t appreciate card rides. You’re trying to take them somewhere essential, and they don’t cooperate, leaving you both upset at the situation. Read on to explore how to help ease dog anxiety during car rides.
Teach Your Dog To Enjoy the Car
Even though it’s easier to prevent car issues with puppies, you can teach dogs of any age to turn around their avoidance of vehicles using counter-conditioning and desensitization. Counter-conditioning is when you have happy stuff happen in or near the car to change your pup’s emotional response from negative to positive. Follow a step-by-step method of slowly introducing your dog to the vehicle for desensitization.
Anything goes when you’re trying to help make your dog get excited about riding in your vehicle. Depending on how severe your pup’s aversion to the car is, you may need to begin with the car parked in the driveway. The trick is to find a point where your dog feels relaxed and comfortable and then slowly move forward. Shower your dog with their favorite treats or a new special toy after each session.
The next step is to add elements that precede a car ride. Have your dog jump into the car and close the doors. Then, give them a treat for getting into a vehicle. Once they feel comfortable, turn the car on and off and don’t go anywhere yet. Don’t forget to secure your pup in a moving vehicle safely.
Teach Your Pup To Love Riding in the Car
Once your dog feels comfortable getting in and out of the car, it’s time to start going places. Start with short distances first. For example, go for a drive around the block or head to a local dog park as a reward.
Before you know it, you’ll be going on road trips with your furry best friend and creating memories together. Always take toys and treats along to continue rewarding their behavior.
Help Prevent Motion Sickness
Your dog may become anxious about the vehicle because they’re afraid of becoming sick. Unfortunately, puppies are more prone to motion sickness than older dogs and will grow out of it as they age. Here are a few ways to reduce the chances of them becoming ill:
- Lower the windows to let in the fresh air.
- Begin limiting your pup’s food and water intake a few hours before the trip.
- Keep the inside of the vehicle at a cooler temperature.
- Give your dog a good 20 minutes of exercise before leaving to reduce stress.
- Ask your vet about anti-anxiety or motion sickness medication.
When your dog doesn’t enjoy car rides, they can quickly turn into stressful situations for both of you. There are many situations where you have to take your dog places like the vet, a professional trainer, or the groomers. Following how to help ease dog anxiety during car rides will help decrease the tension. Happy journeys!