Puppies usually associate car rides as something negative. If your dog shows signs of being scared while he is in the car, then you have a real problem on your hands.
Having a scared puppy during a car ride is not really a safe notion. There are going to be times when you have to take your puppy with you. Making car rides less scary to them is your responsibility.
Why the Fear?
At this point, you might be thinking: Why are puppies afraid of car rides? Or why do they hate it so much?
The answer is pretty simple. Many animals don’t look forward to a car ride solely because they associate bad memories with it.
Think about it, when you first take your puppy home from a shelter or from a shop, you are separating him from his family. Not only this, visits to the vet to get vaccines or getting injected with big needles isn’t also something they look forward to.
If you only take your puppy for a ride while visiting the vet, then it’s pretty natural for them to fear it.
What Can You Do To Make Them Like Car Rides?
Fear not, we are providing 6 smart tips and tricks to help you train your dog to not fear their car rides. By the time you’ll be done you’re going to have one eager and excited puppy to share car rides.
Don’t Imitate, Be Positive!
Wanting to console your scared puppy is pretty normal. But what is not cool is if you imitate his sounds when he’s frightened.
Your puppy will be more uncomfortable than reassured. What’s worse is he’ll likely develop a hatred towards car rides and this will only make things difficult in the long run.
What you can do is encourage his bravery. Use a positive tone and keep reminding him what a good boy he is. This will need to be a constant process until he is perfectly normal with car rides.
Make your Trips Fun
It’s important not to take your puppy for a car ride only when visiting the vet. Instead, make it clear to him that car rides can also be for fun purposes.
For instance, use the car to take him to the park or to a shop you buy your doggy treats from.
It will take a lot of patience, and a lot of doggy treats! Once your puppy recognizes car rides as something enjoyable, he will be more than eager to go out with you.
Feed Him near The Car
This is one of the best ways to get your puppy not be afraid of the car. Have him take his meals near the car instead of inside the house. Make sure to keep the door open.
It’s wise to do this until he doesn’t show any discomfort being near the car. Then, elevate to the next step: make him take his meals inside the car. This is a slow process and it will require some patience from your behalf.
While you are not feeding him, throw in some treats inside the car for him to find. Make sure the car doors are open the whole time.
Play with him near the car to contradict his fear. Playtimes are special to puppies, thus, they’ll think of car rides as a good thing too.
Make Him Feel Safe inside the Car
The next tip is to get him inside the car without making him feel anxious or scared. For instance, while your pup is munching on his treats or enjoying his meal time, you sit in the driver’s seat.
The trick here is to make him believe all is well when you’re in the car. Don’t start the car right away. Remember, this is a slow process. Just sit with him till he’s finished.
Practice this for a day, bring him at ease and behave normally. The next day, take it a bit further and just start the car. Don’t drive just yet, sit for a while, turn off the car and then let him out.
If he doesn’t react at all, then you’re good. If he does, just revert back to the first step until he’s completely fine. Always remember to encourage him during the whole process.
After you’ve accomplished the previous two steps, it’s time for a test drive. But not too far, just out to your driveway.
Park in your driveway and stop. Practice this step two or four times in a row. Remember to let him out after you return back home. If you sense your puppy being anxious or stressed out, this is the signal that you’ve moved to this step too fast.
This requires a lot of patience and a lot of treats. But once he finally gets used to this, extend this car time training a bit further every day. It could be a drive around the block or somewhere near the neighborhood.
You can also make him more comfortable by bringing in his favorite blanket or his toys. Make the car drive a fun and happy part of his day. And, of course, reward him every step of the way.
Having a puppy lose in the back seat can be quite distracting while you drive the car. Not to mention, you can’t be looking back at him every few seconds and risk your life.
It’s vital your puppy doesn’t sit in the passenger seat. Always have him at the back. It would be best to have him be inside his crate the first few rides. That way he can be still and you can concentrate on the road in peace.
There are several crates you can buy that can fit your pup’s size along the way. Safest options would be to install a barrier inside the car. Or fit your puppy up with a harness. Use the seatbelt for safety.
Your dog may show signs of distress at first, but you need to remember that it’s for his own good. Once he gets used to this, car rides will become much safer for both of you.
These are just a few simple and easy tips you can use to ensure your puppy stops fearing car rides. There will be times when you have to take him out with you and it’s best to be prepared at an early stage.
Not only will these steps help your puppy be more relaxed and stress-free, you’ll find your puppy to be thrilled about car rides. Make the car a safe place. And make the most out of your car rides with your pup. Along with a box of treats of course!
Shawn Jackson is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at FeedFond.com.