Tricks for getting over car anxiety?

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
User avatar
3fatponies
Matured Bully
Posts: 492
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:16 am
Location: NJ

Tricks for getting over car anxiety?

Postby 3fatponies » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:34 am

Jackson has some anxiety about traveling in the car. He leaps gladly into the car, but once we begin traveling, he begins to shake, yawn and pant in anxiety. If we stay in the car for longer than about 40 minutes, he eventually throws up (including one notable time when we were heading to a CGC seminar given by Maryellen and he threw up on me...needless to say, we did not make the seminar!).

If the only option is sticking to short trips until he gets over this, that is more than fine, but if there are better options, or things I am not thinking of, I would love to hear them.

I have been working on short trips but he still exhibits signs of anxiety. Once we arrive somewhere, he is thrilled. Heading home, he is relaxed and calm.

I would really love to get him to some CGC seminars and if he does well, do some therapy work, but I need to get him over these issues first. Any ideas?

He does not eat or drink before we go, and the fact that he is fine on the way home makes me think it is more a mental thing than carsickness, but I could be wrong. He was brought to the pound/disgusting cheap boarding kennel by his scumbag "owners" at 6 months, and spent 9 months there until the kennel owner repoed him for lack of payment and gave him to the rescue I was working with. Apparently, his "owners" acquired him to start their BYB empire. They harassed the rescue until he was neutered, and then disappeared (they even went so far as to tell the rescue they would pay his adoption fee once he earned it in stud fees.... :wow )

I would welcome any stories or ideas to help. :))

Stacy

Postby Stacy » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:52 am

Hmmm....probably not a very good idea but when I was getting Jezebel used to riding in a car when she was younger, we made our first few trips to the local McDonalds drive-thru and I'd buy a small french fry and I'd give her a few while she sat in the back seat.

It got to where any time I said "You wanna go bye-bye?" she'd get ALL excited...even when it was just a drive to the post office. Now she LOVES to stick her nose out the window and experience all those different smells and see all those different sites....french fries no longer needed. :tongue:

User avatar
3fatponies
Matured Bully
Posts: 492
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:16 am
Location: NJ

Postby 3fatponies » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:13 am

That's not a bad idea at all! Everyone loves McD's fries, especially Mommy!! lol

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe we need a whole meal and he can have burger pieces, since he seems uncertain of anything other than meat products. At the picnic we went to last weekend, he was offered plates to clean and only cleaned the area which had meat juice on it, carefully avoiding the section of the plates with macaroni salad or anything else.

Man, now I am hungry.... lol

User avatar
applepan
Newborn Bully
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:16 pm

Car anxiety

Postby applepan » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:41 pm

I've had the exact same issue with my dog, Wally for a long time. And I have to say--he's gotten a LOT better. Most of it simply has to do with time. I've had him for 9 months, and he's 2 years old.

When I first got him, he essentially threw up every time we took a car trip, no matter how short. I definitely attributed it to his likely anxiety about whatever his life was before I rescued him, plus whatever his whole previous adoption experience was. So let me assure you: it will get better.

Some other tricks:

1. For a while, I gave him a bully stick to chew on during the trip. Don't know about your dog, but mine is obsessed with them. So it definitely took his mind off the trip itself.

2. No food several hours before the trip.

3. Make his area of the car as comfortable as possible. I put one of his comfy dog beds in the back of my Explorer. He now curls up and relaxes on it during the trip.

But again--most of the success is due to the passage of time. He's simply more used to it, and we've had enough positive trips for him to learn he's never going back to the pound.

Good luck!

User avatar
Misskiwi67
Addicted to PBF
Posts: 10498
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Iowa City, IA

Postby Misskiwi67 » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:33 pm

How long does it take him to begin to show anxiety? If its 5 minutes, do several 4 minute car rides until he gets used to the idea that car rides are fun. Then slowly extend the length of the ride until you can get where you're going anxiety free.

If you think he's showing anxiety from the moment he gets in the car, then put your pooch in the car, treat, and take him back out. Do this every day for a week, then drive to the mailbox for a week, then around the block...

The idea is to have anxiety free car-rides to get him used to getting in the car happy.

malibufishnsurf
Newborn Bully
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:52 am

Postby malibufishnsurf » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:18 am

Feed him breakfast in the car a couple times a week.

User avatar
3fatponies
Matured Bully
Posts: 492
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:16 am
Location: NJ

Postby 3fatponies » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:46 am

Thanks, guys! He is thrilled to get in the car, but shows anxiety within a few minutes of traveling, so I think we need to do lots of short, out-the-driveway and back rides, complete with tasty treats for both of us. :))

I don't mind if it takes a long time to get him over this (or if he never does); I just feel badly that he gets so worried. I adore this dog...it's positively stupid how much! :inlove:


Return to “Training and Behavior”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests