Training Your Dog to Relax in the Car

dog in the carGoing on a long road trip with your four-legged friend sounds like a dream – until you realize Fluffy gets some severe car-ride anxiety! He whines or barks and can’t sit still. Clearly, this road trip might not be as fun as you imagined.

Luckily, getting your dog used to being inside a vehicle is possible. Here’s what you need to know about training your dog to relax in the car.

Reasons Your Dog Might Be Nervous

There are several reasons why your dog might not be totally comfortable in the car. Here are some of the most common, but remember – you know your dog best, so it might take some observation to figure out why he can’t relax.

  • He’s excited. If your weekly drives mean a trip to the dog park, your pup may just be really happy to get there! If he is overreacting every time you get in the car, try going on “practice drives.” Instead of the fun dog park, go around the block or a long drive. After a few of these, Fido will learn that not every car ride leads to the park, so there’s no reason to get excited.
  • He’s nervous. The same idea applies if you only ever take your dog in the car to go to places he doesn’t enjoy, like sustanon 350 the vet. If he’s only in the car to go to the groomers, take him once in a while to the dog park or for a walk in the city. Remind your dog that the car isn’t a torture device.
  • He’s overwhelmed. If your dog isn’t used to car rides, he might simply be overwhelmed by all the new sensations – unfamiliar smells, trees whizzing by outside the window, the sense of movement. If this is the case, he may need shorter, slower car rides that won’t overwhelm his senses.

How to Get Your Dog To Relax

Once you know why your dog might not be feeling relaxed in the car, you’ll know how to proceed. For some dogs, changing the destination helps; for others, they just need more time. Here are a few steps to get your dog accustomed to the ride:

  • First, leash your dog calmly, and make sure the car is ready.
  • Walk slowly with your dog toward the car. If you notice any whimpering or faltering, slow down and offer praise and treats.
  • Circle the car once or twice, letting your dog sniff and get a feel for the vehicle.
  • If he’s doing alright, open the door slowly and help him into the car. You may have to lift up small dogs if they can’t jump in.
  • Practice sitting in the car for short increments at a time. Try starting with two seconds before letting him out. Praise him with a treat and begin again, this time for five seconds. Repeat the process until you reach one full minute of calmly sitting in the car.

Once he can handle sitting in the stationary vehicle with an open door, you can move onto the next steps you would take if you were going on a drive: closing the door, getting in the driver’s seat, starting the ignition, etc. Treat each of these steps as an individual action that could upset your dog. Don’t move onto the next step until your dog is relaxed. For example, if your dog starts to whine when you turn the ignition, repeat this step over a few times, turning the engine off and on. Praise your pup as you do this and speak to him in reassuring tones. He’ll see there’s nothing to be nervous about.

Once he’s relaxed enough with the driving preparation, you can start driving slowly for short distances. As he gets used to it, he’ll get more comfortable. And if you pay attention to your dog’s reaction to the regular destinations, you’ll ensure that he will be on his best behavior in the car.

Contact Argos Dog Training

If you’ve tried these tips and are still having trouble getting your dog to behave appropriately in the car, it might be time to call in the professionals for help. Whether you’ve got a young puppy or an old dog that needs to be taught some new tricks, the experts at Argos Dog Training provide private one-on-one sessions to work on these specific behaviors. From crate training to obedience, we have you covered! Get in contact with us today to set up a consultation and learn how we can train your furry friend to be a well-trained companion!