With summer road trips right around the corner, it is important to make sure your dog is comfortable in the car. We know that there are some dogs that love the car and the freedom of an open window, but not all are as eager to hop in.
Certain dogs can feel uncomfortable and may associate the car with a negative experience. Fi's dog trainer, Or Nessim, has provided some tips to help make car rides a bit easier for the more timid pups.
If your dog is having anxiety in the car, make sure to start with short trips. Prolonged anxiety in the car only reinforces the experience as a negative one. When starting car training, make sure to reward your dog for quiet and good behavior.
An activity that you can try to get your dog acclimated to the car is treat searching. Try this while the car is not moving so everyone is safe and your dog can fully explore. You will take treats and hide them in the car with the doors open and then have your dog search for them. If your dog is handling this well, you can try this game again but with the doors closed. If there is improvement after that, you can try with the engine on and the doors closed. If they are still anxious, repeat this step several times before actually moving the car.
Safety is very important - A great way to keep your dog safe and calm in the car is crating. Smaller dogs should be crated while in a moving vehicle as it protects them in case of an accident. Dogs are constantly moving and crating can keep them from trying to move around while you’re driving.
While they are in the crate, you can also provide them with a chew treat that can keep them busy and calm. Chewing releases serotonin and can help create a positive experience as well for your dog while they ride!
Using these techniques can help make your dog a car lover and enjoy every ride while being safe. Make sure to also reward your dog during all of these so that way the car can become a great experience for you and your dog.