Can your dog really relax during the car ride? No? Then you are like many dog owners. Because although the beloved family dog is to be taken along preferably everywhere, it is often forgotten that driving a car must be practiced just like seat and place!
Why does my dog bark in the car? – Causes:
To get to the root of a problem, we must first find out the cause. The reasons why your dog is restless in the car or even whines and barks are many and varied. If your dog has never driven a car before and has rather experienced nausea, excitement, and stressed people on his first ride, he will not initially associate anything positive with the ride. Similarly, dogs that are driven by car only to the examinations at the vet or dog groomer. Other causes, can be:
- Stress, anxiety or fear
- Underchallenge or overchallenge
- Bullying in the ecological sense
Why can bullying also be a cause?
The ecological term of bullying in domestic dogs, describes the indication of an emerging, potential danger, by shrill, loud, and often associated with violent movements warning sounds – or simply said, by barking violently. These warning sounds seemed to have been one of the first services that the dog took over for humans. With increasing narrowness e.g. in a closed space or even a car bullying behavior can be shown increasingly.
Driving a car with a dog must be learned
What can I do now to make my dog relax during the car ride? If your dog has not yet had any negative experiences with driving, we recommend that you get him used to drive very slowly:
THE CAR DRIVING TRAINING FOR BEGINNERS AND PUPPIES.
Your dog has not yet had any negative experiences with driving.
- First, take your dog for a walk and make sure that all his other needs (drinking, eating, sleeping, playing, affection) are met as well as possible. Then practice getting in and out of the car in a relaxed manner. You can find detailed instructions for this in our app.
- After your dog has gotten in and out of the car a few times in a relaxed manner, you take a short break at home where your dog has the opportunity to relax (15-20 minutes).
- Then you go to the car again, where your dog is secured in the car for the first time. To do this, you put on your dog’s safety harness before he gets into the car. If you use a dog crate, just let your dog get in as trained before and reward him afterwards.
- Then you secure your dog in the car, give him something to relax and occupy him. Here you can intuitively decide what is good for your dog as long as it is safe for your dog. Some dogs like to lick a stuffed KONG, chew on a rope, or relax when they hear a certain scent (Adaptil) or certain music (Relaxopet, relaxation music). A previously conditioned relaxation signal, can also have a positive effect.
- After your dog gets his activity, you start the engine. If your dog reacts relaxed to the sound, you can drive a first calm distance with your dog. It is important that you take care to finish the rides in a relaxed manner and do not focus on a specific mileage goal. The first ride can be just a few meters! You can then gradually increase the distances.
- How fast you can increase the distances and how long it takes your dog to relax in the car is very individual.
THE CAR DRIVING TRAINING FOR RESTLESS DOGS.
Your dog already knows how to drive a car, but is showing signs of stress.
- First, take your dog for a walk and make sure all his other needs (drinking, eating, sleeping, playing, affection) are met as best you can. Then practice getting in and out of the car in a relaxed manner. You can find detailed instructions on how to do this in our app.
- After your dog has learned to get in and out of the car in a relaxed manner, take a training break of 20 minutes and then repeat the exercise a second time. That’s it for the first day of training.
- The next day you start to build a ritual. Use for it different aids e.g. a scent (Adapitl, lavender oil), which you spray approx. 30 minutes, before your dog gets into the car.
- Then you get your dog and secure him in the car and give him a chewing activity e.g. a filled KONG.
- Then you sit in the driver’s seat and wait until your dog starts to engage with the chew toy. Then you end the training when your dog has been relaxed for some time. If this works you start the engine or drive smaller distances. Always make sure that the ride is finished in a relaxed manner.
More training tips:
- Condition a relaxation signal (step-by-step video tutorial).
- Work on your human-dog bond
- Set boundaries in everyday life and give your dog direction
- Work on frustration tolerance and impulse control