There are countless dogs of all ages who become anxious and nervous when in the car. To help alleviate these fears, it is important to take steps to help desensitize them to this situation.
While this is something that can take time, in the end, it will be worth it for you and your pup. Keep reading for some helpful tips to get started.
Keep Training Short
When it comes to easing a dog’s nerves about the vehicle, you do not want to do too much, too soon. Instead, try to keep your training sessions as short as possible. In most cases, this means a maximum of one to three minutes at a time. You can begin working up to longer rides over time. Be sure to set a timer and end the session while your dog is still calm and relaxed. If you notice that things are not going well, cut the session short, and give your pup some TLC.
Treats Are a Must
When it comes to easing anxiety, positive reinforcement is a must. This means plenty of praise, petting, and treats. Do not be stingy. You can even reduce the size of your dog’s meals to accommodate for the additional calories they will be getting.
Never Expect Linear Progress
Sometimes, your dog may do fine with training, and the next day it could be a completely different situation. Your dog (just like you) can feel different from one minute to the next and one day to the next. While this is true, you can still keep track of trends. Sometimes, you will have to take a few steps backward in your training plan.
Know Your Dog’s Tells
Make sure you know your dogs tells and never try to push their limits. If your dog reaches the point where they are whining or will not eat the treats because they are so scared, you have gone too far. It is better to learn what the dog does when they begin to feel nervous and react to those signs. Some of the most common ones include breath-holding, eye-widening, pulling ears back, panting, lowering the tail, and others.
Never Force Something on Your Dog
If your dog refuses to move, hides, or displays similar behavior, it is time to end the session. You do not want to force the dog to do anything, making the situation worse.
Seek Professional Advice and Help
If you do not seem to be having progress when training your dog, it is good to contact a professional trainer. They will likely have additional tips and methods you can implement to help your dog get over their car anxiety. Also, the professionals will ensure your dog remains happy throughout the training process, which is essential.
If you are like most people, your dog is an important part of your family. By helping them be more comfortable in the car, they can enjoy more time with you.