Some dogs absolutely love to ride in the car and some absolutely hate it. If your dog is one who hates riding in the car, there are a few things you can do to help him learn that riding in the car is not such a bad thing and potentially enjoyable.
Help Alleviate Car Sickness
Some dogs may hate riding in the car because they get car sick. A dog who is car sick may not show obvious signs such as vomiting. But he may drool a little bit more than usual. If you suspect your dog hates the car because he gets car sick, make sure he is sitting in the center of the back seat. This may help alleviate some of the motion sickness. Have a window rolled down so that your dog gets fresh air. Encourage your to sit up and look out the window. Being able to look out the window tends to help some dogs acclimate to the motion. If your dog is too small to look out the window, consider getting him a pet booster seat. A pet booster seat may help with your dog’s motion sickness, and it will definitely help with your dog’s safety.
Have Fun In The Car
Another thing which may help with motion sickness is to help keep your dog from thinking about the motion. Have someone sit in the back seat with your dog and distract them with a fun toy and/or treats. Make the car ride as fun as possible. Perhaps the person sitting in the back seat with your dog can also help encourage your dog to look out the window by pointing and saying, “What’s that?” in a happy voice. Have them point out fun stuff like other people. If your dog does not get aggressive when they see other dogs, point out other dogs as well.
Take Small Trips
Get your dog used to riding in the car by starting out with short trips. If you need to go to the bank or to a fast food drive through, take your dog. Take your dog anywhere where you will not have to get out of the car and leave your dog unattended. Small trips may help your dog come to understand that nothing bad happens on car rides.
Go Someplace Fun
It may also help to take you dog somewhere fun. This way, your dog learns to associate car rides with going somewhere they will enjoy. Take them to visit their favorite doggy pal. Take them to the park or to the dog park. Go to a restaurant with an outdoor patio which allows dogs. Or take them to the pet store. You don’t have to buy them anything at the pet store for your dog to enjoy visiting the pet store.
Don’t Console Your Dog
The above are tips on things you can do to help your dog enjoy the car ride. But here is a tip on what not to do. Do not soothe your pet. Do not give them a reason to think there is a reason that they need to be consoled. Ignore your dog if they seek you for comfort. And ignore them if they whine or cry. Don’t use harsh words against them. Instead, if your dog whines or cries, talk to them in a happy and encouraging voice. Or just sing happily out loud like nothing is wrong.
With some time, more experience, and positive reinforcement, your dog can learn that riding in the car is not such a big deal. And maybe they can even learn to love to ride in the car. When that happens, traveling with your dog will be much more fun for both of you.