Owning a dog is more work than most people know. When people think about owning a dog, they think of having the best companion, playing games, and cuddling. However, owning a dog is almost as challenging as having a child. Dogs feed on a specific diet. They need to be washed, and they need to play, sleep, and exercise as well. Like with kids, travelling with a dog is also challenging. Dogs are very playful and active.
When in the car, dogs tend to jump and play around because of the excitement of being in a new environment. The very intelligent creatures learn to associate cars with visits to the park and friends’ places. Some have terrible memories associated with cars, especially dogs, from a rescue. Other reasons include the fact that some dogs get car sick, suffer claustrophobia, or simply fear the motion of the vehicle.
These add to the excitement, fear, and restlessness. Getting such a dog inside the car can be difficult because of the fear they associate with the vehicle. So how can you take your dog in the car without the challenges? Here are some useful tips I’ve picked up.
Choose an appropriate pet carrier
If your dog is small enough to fit in a carrier, this can be a great way to give them a familiar and calming space – as well as stopping them from distracting the driver. It’s also safe because most carriers will clip into seat belt attachments and protect the dog in the event of a crash. Pet Carrier Verdict has useful reviews for every type and breed.
Start with short trips and build-up
Sometimes dogs’ restlessness and anxiety could be because they are not used to travelling inside a car. In such a case, taking long trips could be such a challenge. Start with short trips to the park and shop. This will help the dog get used to the experience.
Cover your car windows with a sunscreen
One of the reasons why dogs get restless while in the car is the fact that they get to see a lot of things through the window. Covering the windows will help to block some views hence reducing the levels of excitement.
Try training your dog to lie down in the car
Lying down in the car will help make the trip easier for you. It will eliminate the issues of jumping up and down and restlessness in the car. One way to reinforce this behaviour in your dog is by using treats and rewards. Give your dog a treat each time he lies down.
Switch the position of the dog in the car
Sometimes the restlessness and excitement that dogs suffer while in the car are caused by discomfort. The seats in the car are not comfortable for dogs. Sometimes the discomfort is also a result of too much heat in the car. Try moving your dog from the back seat to the trunk where there is more space. Do not do this is you do not own a car model with a large trunk. A small trunk would only worsen the issue of heat. The trunk of a car like a Station Wagon would work perfectly. In the trunk, create a friendly condition using blankets, toys, and a dog bed. The added comfort will help reduce anxiety and restlessness.
Use treats to encourage acceptable behavior in the car
Treats are a nice way to distract your dog when in the car. Make sure to differentiate the treats you give in the car and others for different situations. Use the treats as a reward for not barking. However, make sure to make it clear that the reason for the treat is not barking. To do so, wait for a few minutes after the barking stops before you give the treat.
Distract them with a toy
Giving your dog toys to play in the car is the perfect distraction. If keeps him focused on a single thing and takes the attention away from things outside the car. This helps to keep the dog calm and lessens anxiety.
Most dog parents think that shouting at a dog is the best solution to keep him from misbehaving and barking in the car. However, shouting will only increase the level of excitement hence making the situation worse. Find better ways to discourage bad behaviour, like using treats and toys.
Consult with a vet
Sometimes dogs get restless in the car because of conditions like carsickness. One of the symptoms of carsickness in dogs is vomiting and drooling. For such a case, the only solution is to consult with a vet. A vet will either prescribe some medication for the condition or advise you on natural ways to lessen the issue.
With the tips mentioned above, you are sure to get your dog from hating car trips to not wanting to leave the car. Make sure to understand the reason why your dog fears or hates car trips before deciding on which tips would suit you best. However, if you happen to try all the tricks mentioned above and nothing changes, try consulting with a vet. Sometimes the issue could be health-related.