If you have a dog who is wary of car rides, there’s hope. Get your pooch used to going for car rides in small steps.
- Begin by reinforcing your dog while going to the car. Many dogs with a fear of car rides put on the breaks as soon as the car comes into view. Try feeding him treats and praise as you go to the car.
- Continue using reinforcement to get him inside. Use treats and praise to coax your dog into the car. It also helps if you have his favorite toy or blanket in the car.
- Spend time just sitting in the car. Practice your dog getting into the car a number of times or even days before actually stating the engine.
- Start your engine. When your dog has become comfortable hanging out with you in the car, you can start the engine. As soon as the car is started, give your dog some treats and talk to him in a happy tone of voice, and then turn off the engine. Repeat this several times until your dog is completely comfortable sitting in the car with the engine running.
- Start off with small trips. Don’t make your dog’s first car ride a long road trip. The first few times out of the driveway, you should probably drive no farther than down the street or around the block, giving your dog treats randomly during the trip. Gradually work your way up to going longer distances.
- Take your dog to fun places. Your dog’s first longer car ride should be someplace fun like the dog store, the park, or a drive-thru for a hamburger. Your dog will soon associate these fun times with going for a ride in the car.
All of these tips can be used to help your dog have a more pleasant experience in the car. The most important thing to remember is not to go into the situation expecting your dog to react. This stresses you out and in turn stresses your dog out. Staying calm and consistent will help you train your dog to enjoy car rides in no time.