Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

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RTrac1
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Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby RTrac1 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:44 am

Something I've been struggling with for over a year now since I adopted Dexter.
He gets anxious on car rides and whines constantly. He will also bark at almost ANY pedestrian within eyesight of the truck.

He goes somewhere with me probably 5 out of 7 days a week, dog parks, my parents (they have a big yard to play in), over my friends house to play with her dog, etc... RARELY he has a bad experience (vet) when I take him places, so I'm not really sure whats going on in his head.

I have an SUV and he rides in the way back behind a dog barrier. A few times I let him ride up front, and he whines less but still barks at pedestrians (and god forbid he sees a dog he wants to meet, he'll tear up my dash trying to get a closer look :eek: )


I've tried ignoring the whining, and praising when he's calm but it hasn't really changed anything. My trainer mentioned maybe he gets car sick, and to try Dramamine, but I havent messed with that.

When he's out of control barking at someone, its VERY difficult to get his attention. I've used a squirt bottle with water a few times and it stops him, but really... I need to be driving lol

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Leslie H
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Re: Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby Leslie H » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:22 pm

It sounds like you've identified anxiety as playing a role. It sounds like he's already amped up because of his anxiety, throw in some barrier frustration, and it doesn't take much more to get him past his threshold. I would guess some of the desensitization techniques might be helpful.

http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/14/Desensitization-and-Counterconditioning.aspx

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PitBull-Lady
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Re: Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby PitBull-Lady » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:29 pm

We have a HUGE issue with Capone and car rides. They have gotten better with some general training, but the issue is my husband being willing to drive with him screaming and working with him.

Now, in our case and experience, my big question to you is what 'other' issues does he have?
Are there other triggers? Things that he's afraid of etc.?

RTrac1
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Re: Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby RTrac1 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:40 pm

thanks leslie, ill read through those.

@PitBull-Lady,
he's not really fearful of anything that I've found. He is super driven to meet other people/dogs/etc... and gets frustrated when held back. frustration builds into anxiety, and when i'm driving its hard for me to nip it in the bud before it turns into barking.

He has been getting more protective of the house when new visitors come over lately , but this car issue I've had since day 1.

Another "issue" of his, which may be unrelated but i'll mention anyway is that he's very obsessive. For instance, any kind of pool or standing water, he needs to be in it splashing with his paws while "eating" the water. Or with frisbees he'll catch a few for me, then start this thing where he digs at it constantly flipping it over until i take it away from him.

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Re: Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby PitBull-Lady » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:14 pm

Unfortunately, I don't have 'those' issues exactly, but sort of related, Capone is very fixed on other animals, not to kill them but he just wants to be with them, check them out... very wierd for me since another one of ours is DA.

Huh, well, I certainly can't 'share' my techniques, but what has worked for us is a mix of 'control' exercises and teaching him to 'relax' through training and a lot of patience.

There are 2 items I have in my arsenal of equipment now.
1 is a Gentle Leader. Sometimes I don't even hook it up, I just put it on his head as a small amount of pressure on him and it helps a little. He won't pull on walks as much and is calmer
2 is a Thunder Shirt. The thunder shirt adds pressure on the torso and creates a calming effect. Now, the key is to get it on BEFORE the excitement starts. I find that once Capone is in full awareness, calming him down is very difficult. But if you can work on the behavior before it starts, it works better.

With Capone, it seems all about stimulation. When the sun is out, he can't handle it but if he's tired it's a different story. If the sun is down, it is MUCH better.

Maybe take him for a good walk before the car ride
get him dressed in what gear you choose and then get in the car. No exciting talk blah blah blah...

get in the car and get him to relax, give treats etc. We have worked in the past with if you are quiet for more than 3 seconds, you get a treat.

If he can exist in the car without screaming, then you can start the car, treat etc.
work until better then start driving, treating etc.

Drive around the block and start increasing your distance, treats etc.

When you get far enough, you may have made it to play time place.

...you get the idea.

RTrac1
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Re: Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby RTrac1 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:38 pm

that reminds me of more details...

at night, much better. same with if he's tired.

also, on longer highway trips, he settles right down and will even sleep. I guess the cars around us on the highway are not interesting enough, and since im not stopping/turning etc.. like in the city, its boring


Thanks so much for your input

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PitBull-Lady
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Re: Anxious Whining/Barking on car rides

Postby PitBull-Lady » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:01 am

Capone likes it when the car just goes. He hates it when we are around town. Seeing as my husband drives like a bat out of he11 sometimes, it makes it very difficult to get good results on a consistent basis.


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