Several problems often occur with your dog while traveling in the car. These problems are mostly the result of stress and anxiety, especially if your dog is scared or is not used to being inside a car while the engine is running. Car travel with your pet may also be a problem if you have a high strung dog who can’t sit still for a long period of time or if he associates any kind of negative experiences while traveling in the car.
If you have difficulties getting your dog to step and stay inside the car, the following suggestions may help alleviate his fear and can make the car travel experience fun for the both of you. Do these exercises at least a week before going on your long trip.
1. While the car is parked in the driveway, open the back seat and place your dog inside the car. Make sure that the engine is off so as not to scare him while he is inside. Let the dog spend some time alone back there with either a snack, chew bone, or a toy to play with. This will allow him to get used to being inside the car.
The snack, the chew bone, or the toy that you placed in there will create a positive experience for him, which will make the car ride stress free. Take heed: avoid keeping your dog inside the car for too long in a hot weather!
2. Once your dog is comfortable being in the backseat of the car, close the door (with the windows rolled down) and get inside the drivers seat. Stay there for about a minute while your dog is getting used to the door being closed.
3. Finally, turn on the engine and take him for a short ride (maybe a trip around the block). Leave his chew bone and toys inside the car to keep him occupied while he is getting used to being inside the running car. After the short trip, make sure that you give him a good treat such as a game of fetch or a nice walk.
Repeat the same process, increasing the distance of the trip, until your dog gets to the point where he actually looks forward to riding in the car. From now you you will then be able to drive long distances and through high noise areas without disturbing our upsetting your companion.