Behaviour – Fear of Travelling

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Dog is afraid to travel in car

“My dog is very scared of the car. I cannot get her into the car. I have to physically carry her to the car and battle to get her inside (she is a Golden Retriever and heavy). How can I solve this?”

So many dogs are scared of going in a car as they get horribly car sick and this makes the journey upsetting for them. Another reason is that the car does not have any pleasant memories for the dog. Usually the first trip as a young puppy is to go to the vet for an innoculation, plus another trip to go to the new home, and then any further trips are once again to the vet. Thus the puppy does not see the car as fun. Also be careful where you put the puppy in the car. So many owners drive these large 4×4’s and put the puppy right in the very back where there is no air and far away from the humans. This can be very frightening for a young puppy.

To get a dog used to getting in the car, start by only giving the meals in the car. The dog will have to get into the car to eat and after a while will learn to jump into the car. As soon as the dog is jumping into the car on her own, then start closing the door and just sitting there for 5 minutes. Do this for about 2 days. Then after closing the door, start the car and sit for 5 minutes with the engine running. Do this for another 2 days. The next time drive a short distance, like around the block. Each time when you let the dog out of the car give a very special reward like a piece of chicken vienna.

Once the dog is happy going around the block extend the distance and drive to a park and have some fun in the park.

Soon the dog will learn that going in the car is such fun and will jump in as soon as you open the door!

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