June 21 2009 by Casey Bower
Truth is, most dogs do well with cars... but not all dogs. My dog used to be a terror on wheels, he hated the car. Every time we would get in he would do everything that he could to clamor his way from the backseat to the front and sit on my lap while I drove. He would be shaking with fear and not very excited about the objects flying by. At first, I thought that his sitting in my lap was cute, but once he grew and gained some weight, not so cute!
Figuring out how to get "Z," my dog to enjoy the ride took some time and trickery, but now, he is the stereotype with his head out the window, tongue wagging in the wind and big smile on his face.
Here are a few things that I learned about dogs and cars that might have helped out:
- Don't blast the tunes. Dogs have very sensitive hearing, some up to 200 times as sensitive as a human. Also, some dogs can get very anxious with certain types of music. Next time you are on a trip, consider some nice soft Beethoven.
- Bring back fun. Make sure that not every car ride is negative. If you are always driving the dog to the Vets, groomer, or some other place that means stress and anxiety they are going to associate the car with this. Make your next car ride a trip to the dog park, or to a lake... a few of these and cars will be the new peanut butter.
- Don't give into the cuteness. No matter how much you want to, don't let the little guy sit on your lap. It is important to start the training at a young age. You know the saying... it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, well it applies to where to sit in the car too. Pick a spot that you want your buddy to hang out in and enforce it.
- Make the car a spot to hang out. Grab a book, the dog and head for the car. No drive needed, just a little quality time relaxing with the windows down. It is important for your pooch to get used to just hanging out in the car. When the car isn't moving, there is no stress or reason to freak out.
Follow these tips, have patience, and your next road trip will be smooth sailing. I would love to hear about any dog travel issues you have experienced and how/if you have dealt with it. Leave a comment below if you have a good one.