DOGS BEHAVIOR

How do I teach my dog ​​to stay calm in the car and not jump on me?

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During your car trips, your dog is stressed or agitated? Can’t calm him down and he keeps bothering you when you are driving?

How can I teach my dog ​​to stay calm in the car? How can you change your behavior and let you drive safely and safely?

This is what we are going to see together today! Thanks to this article, car trips with your doggie will be much more pleasant and above all much more secure.

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I would first like to point out that if your dog is really afraid of the car, that he barks, whines, drools, defecates, etc. when you drive: the most important will be to understand the origin of this fear and especially to propose a personalized work of desensitization / habituation to the car.

In order to do so, I recommend that you contact a professional in dog education and behavior who can assist you over a more or less long term, and especially in an individual and personalized manner, in solving your problem.

Restless / stressed dog in the car: understand why

A restless dog in the car can be for many reasons, the trick is to identify the reason (s) to then be able to customize the work plan so that it is as efficient and consistent as possible.

Here are some (most common) reasons that can help you understand your dog’s “disturbed” behavior in the car:

  • Your dog was not used enough to use the car from an early age. In fact, the dog being by nature afraid of what he does not know, he is wary of this device which does not inspire him confidence.
  • Your dog usually only gets into the car to go to the vet.
  • Your dog has had a bad experience with the car (accident, shock, etc.).
chihuahua puppy

Car trips: safety above all else

Then another very important thing to mention here is safety when traveling by car, whether your dog is restless or not for that matter.

If your dog is restless, this is all the more important because you cannot anticipate or even manage a panic situation when you are busy driving.

 

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To secure the journey, you have three options, which are also legal obligations:

  • either your dog is comfortably installed in a transport crate provided for this purpose,
  • either it is maintained by a harness connected to the belt
  • either it is in your trunk but with a grid or a separation net between the trunk and the rest of the car.

These safety standards are obviously made for the safety of your dog, since it could be a real projectile in the event of an impact, but also for your own safety.

Indeed, in the event of an accident, if your dog is completely free in the car, this could slow down the rescuers in their intervention because, even if your dog is the kindest on earth, no one will be able to know his post-reaction. traumatic.

car transport cage

An element is often forgotten in the education process

Educating your animal is good, but it is imperative to think about Doing it the right way.

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The transport box: your best ally!

Personally and professionally, I always recommend the transport box for car trips because for me it is the best guarantee of safety but also of serenity for your animal.

Indeed, if the transport cage is associated with something positive upstream, such as a place of refuge where the dog feels good, this will logically serve as a reassurance for your dog when he is inside.

In addition, know that a dog who is stressed, whether in the car or when he is alone at home for example, will feel much safer in a smaller, more confined place, quite simply because he will feel protected.

Indeed, when the dog is free in the car or when he has access to the whole house when he is alone, the danger can finally come from all sides … While in a transport crate, the dog does not has only one exit to control.

Of course, I remind you, this is only valid if the transport box or the indoor niche (for the house) has been previously associated with something positive.

Once safety is assured, I offer you 7 tips to calm your dog down when traveling by car:

Tip # 1: Don’t feed your dog before a car trip. Indeed, it could disturb him, in particular because of the tremors. A few bends + any agitation, possible stress, etc. = vomiting guaranteed. And know that for a dog, the fact of vomiting is even more anxiety-provoking so as much to avoid him a double anxiety.

Tip # 2: Try as much as possible not to pay special attention to your dog when he is agitated and / or stressed. Indeed, the simple fact of looking at him or talking to him could come to validate and therefore reinforce his behavior.

If your dog starts to squeak, bark, or other signs of distress, then try to ignore it. In short, stay focused on the road and pay no attention to it. Most of the work here will not be fixing the problem when it arises but rather ensuring that it does not occur again.

Tip # 3: Along the same lines, when you “free” your dog from the car, don’t be overly petting and caring. Stay neutral if there has been any mess or if your dog has drooled a lot, wait a little before cleaning, give him some fresh air and make him stretch his paws.

Indeed, cleaning it immediately would be perceived as a caress in the eyes of your dog. And as we have seen, any form of attention could come to validate and therefore reinforce the behavior of your animal.

Genius Dog 300 x 600 - Animated

Namely : when we stroke / reassure a dog who is afraid, indirectly we reinforce his fear. Not that one can reinforce an emotion but rather the behavior which results from this emotion.

dog chattering teeth

Tip # 4: Gradually and positively get your dog used to the car. If he is scared, it is not a question of forcing him to go up, drive 30 minutes and then go to the vet. NO ! Work should be gradual in the sense that you have to take the time to do things smoothly and according to your dog’s pace.

For example, at the beginning, positive habituation can be done only with the car with the engine off, then afterwards with the engine on but without driving, then by driving but only for a few meters, etc.

All habituation sessions should be short (no more than 10 or 15 minutes) but should be offered very regularly.

Remember that the dog learns especially by repetition . If he only has access to the car a few times a month, he will certainly not be able to get used to it if, from the start, this machine scares him.

Tip 5: To reassure your dog, all the habituation sessions must result in something very positive for your dog: a walk in the forest, a meeting with a friend, a play session with you, etc.

It’s up to you to identify what will make your dog the most happy so that he associates car trips with something positive.

Indeed, I mentioned it in the reasons that can lead a dog to be afraid and be agitated in the car: if all the trips result from an appointment with the veterinarian, the association will be very quickly made by your dog: car = veterinarian.

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While the majority of trips end with a super fun activity for your dog, it will ultimately enjoy getting in the car.

Advice n ° 6: Another advice for your dog to be calm in the car, that goes without saying and yet it seems important to me to specify it. Spend your dog well before a trip in the car so that he has only one desire: to sleep!

Tip n ° 7: You can also help your dog with natural solutions, for example by putting an Adaptil collar on him or by spraying a little Rescue (Bach Flower) on his nose . These natural alternatives have the advantage of having no side effects or risk of overdose. These are products that can help your dog to better manage his emotions and therefore, in the long run, better experience this type of event.

To conclude, the most important thing to remember here will be the safety of your dog but also yours, which you should prioritize during transport.

Your dog must not come and bother you when you are driving and the fact that he is free in the car, in addition to putting you at great risk, could lead to a fine since it is forbidden to transport his dog in freedom in the car.

Also, remember that the dog is an emotional sponge and the more worried or stressed you are about your dog having a bad trip, the more emotionally discomfort he will be. So be sure of yourself, relaxed and already a first step towards solving your problem will be taken.

And finally, it is well known, prevention is better than cure, so if you have just adopted a puppy, do not hesitate to give him as many good experiences as possible, and in particular that of the car, so that the journeys are then perceived by your dog as completely normal events.

Final words and important recommendations

Loving and educating your dog is very important but painful at the same time…If you hired a trainer to train your dog in person, you could expect to pay up to $350 per hour… that’s a lot.

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