car rides

Posted by arader
Sep 19, 2009
We have a 7 month golden girl. We take her with us in the car as often as possible...almost once a day. Since she was about 5 months old, she acts as if she hates them. She will not come out the door if she knows we are going in the car. We end up carrying her to the car and putting her in. Once in a great while, she will voluntarily get in-especially if we bribe her with food.
When she is in the car, we start her out in the back and within minutes, she has found her way to the front passenger side and wedges herself up as high on the floor board as she can. We have tried to keep the windows up thinking it was the noise but that does not seem to matter. She has shown a small amount of interest the last week or two as she will sit and look up as if she is looking out the window but ends up back on the floor board.
We took her for a 3 hour trip and she layed at my feet on the passenger side the whole time with an anxious look on her face and did not sleep at all!
We have thought about a harness to see if that would make her feel better. We have a 2 year golden that LOVES rides and usually is at the door the second he hears the keys.
I am not sure what to do with this as we really want her to enjoy being in the car. I feel bad leaving her behind because i know she is missing out on some fun but also knows she is miserable in the car.
Any help would be appreciated.
Posted by kjd
Sep 21, 2009

I don't know whether this will help your situation, but I had two dogs who would drool horribly in the car. The first dog I broke of it by taking her on very short rides -- around the block. Don't remember how long this took, but she gradually became used to it and learned to love the car. The second dog, I had moved to a place there weren't convenient blocks to circle. So I did an "adapt or die." One Saturday, we drove from Washington DC to Buffalo, NY. (I don't know the exact mileage, but it was a long trip.) Stayed overnight and returned the next day. She adapted!

Drooling is one way dogs show nervousness in the car. I gather yours is hiding up under the dashboard. If she isn't interfering with the driver, you could try either method. I think the short rides are the easiest on the dog. The one long killer of a drive was much faster.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
Posted by arader
Sep 21, 2009
we do short rides all the time. the adapt or die method is what we have been doing. i ignore her the whole time she is plastered under the dashboard and praise her whenever she is on the seat looking out or shows an interest in what is going on. Just not sure how long this is going to take. i don't mind her on the floorboard except for long rides and i am the one that has to have her at my feet. the other problem will come in when she gets bigger than the 40 pounds she is now!
Posted by kjd
Sep 21, 2009
My dog rode in the back seat, which I realize yours refuses to do. I ignored her the whole trip, except for letting her out to potty. Wish I could tell you how long it took, but that was about thirty years ago and I really don't know how long it takes to get to Buffalo from here. Well, MapQuest says it takes 7 hours. Probably should add another hour for stops and getting to the exact location. So she was in the car for almost 8 hours of pretty constant driving (highways, not city streets) -- truly an adapt or die situation!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Sep 23, 2009
Hi arader,

One of my dogs used to hate a ride and he drooled and panted all the way. I took him for short rides every day, in fact to a dog park where he could play fetch (he loved and still loves fetch) and he associated ride with fun within a couple of weeks.

I would suggest you just go in the car with a bunch of treats or dog bone or law hide along with your dog everyday, starting from short time, not even a ride, just sit in the car. Every time she gets in the car and sit on the back seat (I prefer to have my dogs in the back seat or in the hatch back, never on the passenger seat due to the safety reason) give her treats. Make it longer and longer. She will be chewing a bone on the back seat while you will be reading a magazine or newspaper. Make it as a routine after dinner or something. Once she gets comfortable being in the car, start with a short ride. Don't forget to treat her every time she gets in the car. This habit will help you tremendously later on, for example, if you want to go home from a dog park, your dog knows that she gets a treat when she gets in the car. All you have to say is "Lets go home!" and your dog will go to the car and wait for you to open the door.

Good luck
Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 23, 2009
hi arader and thanks for your post,
It may be that your dog finds riding in the car less enjoyable now that it is larger and cannot find a stable position to sit in. You could try filling up the foot space in the back seat with things such as a cushions and blankets so that the seat and floor space are even and your dog has a large flat surface to lie on.

It could also be that your dog had an unpleasant experience in the car at some point, maybe because it was ill or got a fright for some reason. You can start desensitizing her by getting her into the car with the doors all open and then rewarding her with treats for getting into the car. When she will regularly get into the car comfortably in this way start closing the doors when she is in there. Treat her and praise her when she is calm. Once she is regularly happy with this you can progress to turning on the car engine, later short then even later longer, drives. Keep sessions short and regular and you should soon see progress. I hope this helps and if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.

All the best,
Posted by arader
Sep 23, 2009
thank you very much for the help. Because of obedience classes, she is kind of forced to go for rides once a week. I will however be sure to use treats for positives as she is very food oriented
I will also try the idea of a softer back area for her to ride. I would really prefer they were in the back as well since 60-65 pounds is not really small!
again, i appreciate the feedback. No one has let me down yet! Keep up the great advice