When you’re out and about in Los Angeles, you’ve no doubt seen that lots of dogs seem to love car rides. If your tail-wagger doesn’t, advice from a dog training professional might help.
At some point in time, you’ll have to travel by car with your dog – going to the veterinarian’s office or the groomer’s might require a road trip, or you might decide to consult with an experienced dog trainer. The journey will be much more pleasant if your pooch is calm and relaxed.
Fortunately, with the right dog training strategies, car anxiety can be overcome. Here’s what you can do to help your furry friend.
Could Motion Sickness Be the Problem?
Motion sickness is a common cause of canine car anxiety – and if your dog struggles with nausea during road trips, their whining, shaking or refusal to get in the vehicle is understandable.
Dogs often vomit when they’re feeling nauseous, but some respond in other ways. If your tail-wagger displays any of the following symptoms when they’re riding in the car, motion sickness could be an issue:
- Considerable drooling
- Heavy panting
- Smacking the lip
- Frequent yawning
- Incessant pacing
If you think that your dog may be suffering from car sickness, you’ll need to find a way to keep their nausea at bay. Dog training professionals suggest trying these strategies:
- Limit food and water intake before road trips
- Use a doggie seatbelt to keep them facing forward
- Lower the windows a few inches to let in fresh air
- Ask your veterinarian about anti-nausea medication
What to Do If Your Dog Has Car Anxiety
Once you’re able to keep your dog from getting car sick, you can begin taking steps to make road trips less stressful. Dog training may not be easy, but with patience and a positive attitude, you can make your furry friend’s car anxiety a thing of the past. To accomplish that goal, try the following steps:
Step 1: Helping Your Pooch Feel Safe in the Car
In order for your dog to feel comfortable during road trips, they must feel safe when riding in the car.
To that end, dog training professionals say to create a cozy spot where your pooch will feel secure – a doggie car seat works, or you can use a crate with a cushioned liner. If you go with a crate and don’t have a flat cargo area, use a car leveler or rolled towels to make the surface level. Also, when you’re going on a ride with your dog, bringing a much-loved comfort item, like blanket or stuffed toy, may help ease their anxiety.
Step 2: Establishing a Positive Association with the Car
Dog training professionals understand that cars can be scary places for pooches, and turning that around is essential.
The recommended plan of action to help your furry friend get past this fear is to use food rewards. Start by rewarding your dog a small, high-value treat when they approach the vehicle. Then, leaving the door open, place them inside and let them wander. Offer another treat, and once they seem more comfortable, start the car and dish out another reward. If your tail-wagger remains calm, secure them in the doggie seat or crate, give another treat, and try going for a ride around the block.
Step 3: Planning Road Trips to End at Fun Destinations
A past negative experience is often the cause of canine car anxiety, and positive experiences can help resolve the issue.
When a dog only goes on rides to places they find unpleasant, like the veterinarian’s office or the groomer’s, they’re not going to be thrilled about going on road trips. Taking short jaunts out to fun destinations – a hiking trail, perhaps, or a dog-friendly Los Angeles beach – can be a good solution. Make sure that most of your car rides end somewhere your pooch likes to be, and their anxiety should soon fade away.
Get Expert Help With Dog Training
For some Los Angeles pet parents, getting to the point where their pooch tolerates road trips can be a challenge – and the idea of being able to bring their dog along when running errands or traveling seems impossible to achieve.
To experts in dog training, the difficulty in alleviating car anxiety is understandable, as fear of taking a ride often escalates when not addressed early on. If your efforts to get your tail-wagger to be more comfortable with road trips have been less than successful, you may need the assistance of dog training professionals. In Los Angeles, the Greater Los Angeles County area and the surrounding southern California region, iWorkDogs is the company to call.
The professional team at iWorkDogs Dog Training Company has considerable experience helping canines overcome behavioral issues, and our approach to dog training is based on positive reinforcement, clear communication and methods that are scientifically proven to be effective.
The iWorkDogs team works with canines of all breeds, ages and temperaments, and we’d love help your furry friend get over their car anxiety. To learn more about our dog training programs for pet parents in Los Angeles, California – or to schedule a consultation with a friendly and knowledgeable professional dog trainer – contact iWorkDogs Dog Training Company today.