Some dog parents fear car rides with their furry companions: spending a long time negotiating with their dogs to get inside, constant barking and not a minute of sitting in peace.
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What to do and how to train your dog to be calm during car rides? 🚗
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Here are 7 steps that will help:
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1. Let your dog smell the car, get used to it. Never drag your dog into the car by force – this will only contribute to your dog’s unwillingness to go inside and his/her fear of cars.
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2. Leave the doors wide open. Let your pup get interested in what’s inside. You can put your dog’s toys in the backseat, and reward him/her with a treat every time he/she approaches the car.
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3. Let your dog get inside for a bit. Don’t hold him/her there, make sure your pet has an opportunity to leave at any moment.
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4. Time to try and start the engine! At this step, it’s better if there’s someone sitting next to the dog in the backseat. If your pet starts getting anxious – don’t pet him/her, this might reinforce the fear. Behave as if nothing is happening, remain completely calm. Stop the engine, let your dog get out of the car – but do it only when he/she is calm, and not looking to escape.
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5. Feed your pet in the car, doors closed.
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6. You can go for a short 5-10-minute drive. Make sure someone is sitting with your dog in the backseat. Don’t calm your pup! Be calm and collected yourself – your confidence will transfer to him/her.
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7. Slowly make the rides longer.
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Don’t follow all the 7 steps at once! Proceed to the next step only when the previous one is well-rehearsed. This might take a few days.
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Always remember to do everything slowly and in order. Don’t go for long car rides right away, and don’t jump to the next step without fully finishing the work on the previous one.
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An important consideration – the first few rides shouldn’t be associated with anything unpleasant (like visiting the vet clinic, for example). Go to the forest, to the park, visit your friends.
Put some toys in the backseat for your pup to not get bored.
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Start introducing car rides to your dog as early as possible! It is much easier to train a puppy to get used to the car than to an adult dog đŸ¶