4 Ways To Train Your Dog To Like Car Rides
Oct 18, 2023
If your dog is your best friend, it’s only natural to want to take him everywhere you go. However, if your dog is anxious in the car, even the shortest outing can turn into a huge production. Don’t fret! There are ways to train your dog to like car rides and ensure you and your canine companion can enjoy many adventures together in the future.
Introduce the Car
If you know your dog dislikes the car, it’s not a smart idea to drag him by the leash and immediately force him inside. Rather, slowly entice him closer to the vehicle using a favorite treat or toy and lots of praise. A dog with a mild fear may only require a few training sessions to walk to the car. For more severe phobias, you may need to engage in several positive reinforcement sessions.
As the owner, one of the most important ways to train your dog to like the car is to remain calm and consistent. It’s easy to become frustrated when your dog is not compliant, but it’s important to take a step back and consider the situation from your pet’s perspective. It’s not easy to overcome your own fears, so you can’t expect your dog to do so in a matter of minutes or even days.
Sit Inside the Car
Once you have used positive reinforcement to get your dog in the car, open all the doors so he doesn’t feel trapped. Continue to utilize treats and verbal praise to get your dog comfortable with sitting in the vehicle with the engine off. If possible, it’s best to perform this trial with two people, with one on either side of the vehicle. One person can hold the dog on a leash while the other offers encouragement and treats.
If your dog is willingly sitting in the car, engage in some special bonding time. Keep the doors open for a moment and continue petting and distributing treats until you slowly work your way to sitting in the car with the doors closed.
Start Your Engine
When your dog seems comfortable hanging out in the car, it’s time to start your engine. Once the car is running, continue to give your dog treats and praise. Then, turn off the engine. Repeat this process several times until your dog is entirely comfortable with the running engine.
Don’t be discouraged if your four-legged friend seems totally spooked once you turn the car on. If necessary, you may slow down the process and spend more time with your dog simply sitting in your parked car. At the end of the day, your pup will dictate the pace!
Take a Short Drive
Once your dog is comfortable with the running engine, it’s time to take a short drive. Your first outing may be only around the block, but that’s completely fine. Your helper should also tag along to hand out treats throughout the entire journey. With time, you’ll be able to conquer longer distances. If your goal is to take extended road trips together, remember these things RV owners should know when traveling with pets.
With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can help your dog overcome his fear of the car. Just think of all the fun adventures you’ll have on the road together!
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