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For many owners a car journey with their beloved dog becomes the journey from hell, with whining, trying to go under seats, barking, or even vomiting.

Does your Dobe enjoy car travel?

Does your Dobe enjoy car travel?

Some dogs do suffer from motion sickness, and in these cases I always recommend the owners arrange a consultation with their Vet.

Most other cases the problem may well be excitement, anxiety, fear or most commonly a bad experience partially created by the owner.

Before going into treatment try considering what it is you are asking your dog to do and why. Focus on these questions for a while.

Will your dog have a good happy experience, or a tense stressful very unpleasant experience, that will be associated with the vehicle next time? To our canine friends vehicles are large, noisy things, with doors slamming, perhaps loud music, people talking, engine noise and vibration, not to mention travelling at speed, fastened in, with possibly or possibly not the best driver in the world.

So now consider when you are taking your dog to the car, are you creating unwanted excitement?  Your dog should always approach the car in a calm relaxed state, not running, not jumping up, not barking.  Never open the door and let the dog jump in, always make them wait, relax, then enter the vehicle. Wait a few seconds for your dog to relax, then calmly re-assure before closing the door.

Never turn the radio on loud or shout at the dog in an attempt to stop the unwanted behaviour, doing so will only make matters worse.

Following the above procedures and still no joy?

OK back to basics, re-train from the beginning! Remember if you have been experiencing problems for a while and have ignored or failed to correct these issues, you will have to be patient and consistent with the retraining. There is no quick fix you have to regain your dogs trust, and that takes time, as much as the dog needs.

Follow the guidelines above; remembering your dog must be in a calm relaxed state before entering the vehicle.

With the dog inside the stationary vehicle, give him a treat, wait a few minutes, remove and reward with lots of praise. Repeat this several times your dog will realise this is now a fun place to be.

When the dog is comfortable and relaxed in the vehicle sit inside and again reassure, after a several time continue the exercise now with the engine running.

Next a very short journey, a couple of streets away and return, treat, and plenty of praise.  Extend the distance each time, make a stop at a park, playing fields, let the dog out.

Remember plenty of praise and an occasional treat, your dog is now associating the vehicle with fun, and relaxation.

It is critical at the end of the journey open the door, your dog must wait until invited out of the vehicle.

So many owners rush this procedure only to see all their good work fall apart, take your time, be patient, and you both will reap the rewards.

Should your dog continue to have issues with the car I would recommend seeking the help of a Professional Dog Behaviourist.

Stuart AshleyThis article was reproduced by kind permission of Stuart Ashley – Dog Behaviourist. Stuart runs dog-behaviour.co.uk in the heart of England. Find him also on Facebook.

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