Message Us

How to Get Your Dog to Love the Car

By RachelSheppard. | Traveling with Dogs Dog Info

Some dogs love nothing more than feeling the wind beneath their ears, and sniffing the air from the open car window.

How to Get Your Dog to Love the CarWhile other dogs spend much of the ride being nervous and clearly wanting the car ride to end as soon as possible. If your dog falls into the latter category, I would like to share with you some possible solutions, so that you can get your dog to love the car.

How Can I Tell if My Dog is Stressed in the Car?

The first step is to determine if your dog likes the car or not. In my experience, many dogs who are uncomfortable in the car display the following behaviors:
  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking (yes, some dogs even physically shake in the car because they are so uncomfortable and anxious.)
Since we don't want our dogs to be uncomfortable or anxious in the car, here are my suggestions for helping your dog get used to riding in the car.

1) Take Shorter & More Frequent Trips

If you don't take your dog on a lot of trips, OR if your dog is still young and has spent a lot of their life taking trips to the vet for vaccines and a spay or neuter, your dog might be associating trips in the car with trips to the vet. To help them get used to the idea that the car can actually mean a lot of fun, take them for shorter more frequent trips. For example, have your dog get in the car and take them to the nearest park, which MIGHT be 2 blocks away. It might even be the park that you walk to all the time, which is GREAT for exercise, but for the purposes of desensitizing your dog to the car, you can use this park as a reward. In terms of frequency, you know your dog the best. Try to make sure you aren't stressing them out. However, give them opportunities to get used to the idea (see the "Treats" section below) and slowly increase the frequency of positive car trips over time.

2) Make Sure They Are Comfortable

Safety and security in the car are key. Car seat covers can help your dog feel more secure because they won't slide around on the seat. Additionally, bring any beds or blankets that your dog really loves, so that the car feels more familiar. Lastly, make sure they are secure in the car either by seatbelt, or by securing them in a car crate. Many dogs will feel safer when they are secured in their crate, especially if they are already crate trained. Rooney loves car rides, and often commutes with me to work, but for long road trips, he really only feels settled if we bring his crate.

3) Improve the Loading and Unloading Process

Can your dog easily get in and out of the car? This can definitely be a problem for larger vehicles or older dogs with joint or muscle pain. Providing them with a ramp to get in and out of the car can really help them feel more secure about the entire car ride experience.

4) Treats Help

Desensitization often requires high-level rewards and treats. When your dog is in the car make sure to provide them with lots of positive reinforcement, which can be given as verbal praise or as treats. VetStreet suggests providing treats and then turning the car engine on and then off, and never actually going anywhere at first. Be careful, some dogs can get carsick so be sure to keep the treats limited at first to understand their tolerance to food in the car.

5) Bring a Buddy

Many dogs will be more comfortable doing or trying something when they see another dog doing it. If your dog has a good dog-friend who likes to ride in cars, a joint car ride might motivate your dog to want to be in the car with their friend. When testing this theory for the first time, make sure both pet parents are in the car and someone is there to moderate the situation. When dogs are uncomfortable, they might react negatively in the car. Always make sure there are lots of opportunities for human interference and moderation.

6) Work with Your Veterinarian

If your dog is still very nervous in the car, or possibly getting continuously car sick, ask your veterinarian for help. Your veterinarian will be able to provide advice and guidance to make the early part of the desensitization process more pleasant and less stressful for your dog.

7) Be Patient

Desensitization to the car can take a lot of time and effort. Your dog is going to be overcoming a fear or possibly something they just simply don't like doing. As with most training, it can be helpful to remind yourself to be patient and celebrate the little victories! Have you had to desensitize your dog to car rides? What worked best for you?  Dog to Love the Car and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

rachel sheppardRachel Sheppard

Rachel Sheppard is the author and founder of My Kid Has Paws. She is a Social Media Manager, blogger, corgi mom, animal lover, volunteer, graduate student, and shoe collector. After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science & Management, she worked as a Veterinary Assistant for 3 years. Her daily interactions with pet parents inspired her to start her blog focused on pet health, pet rescue, and pet products. She has a true enthusiasm for veterinary medicine and animal science, and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with pet parents.

Comments

Signup/Login to post a reply

 

Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

READ MORE »
Diane Breland

Fantastic

This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.

READ MORE »
GREG BATEMAN

Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

READ MORE »
Cristina Jones

Split Rear Dog Seat Cover - Fitted - No Hammock

I had ordered this item from an on-line site and was extremely disappointed when I received the wrong item. I was impressed with the quality of the seat cover and decided to contact 4Knines directly. I placed my order with Maggie and received the Split Rear Dog Seat Cover within three days. The seat cover fits nicely in my new Honda CR-V and as stated by 4Knines, is very easy to install and remove. My 8-month old labradoodle Brodie likes the comfort, and friends agree with him. Great quality item, reasonably priced, and outstanding customer service. Thanks 4Knines.

READ MORE »
Sally LIEDHOLM

New seat cover and side panels in Nissan Titan

Excellent solution for my truck. Absolutely no complaints. A+ quality materials, engineering, and design. Fast service on delivery. Cannot ask for anything better. J Jones Aiken, SC

READ MORE »
john jones

New truck seat cover and side panels

I really do like the seat cover and door side panels. The side panels are a must as the Beagle mix puts her feet on the doors. Every now and again someone comes up with a nice product that works well, has quality in its materials, and is well engineered. These are those. I am super satisfied.

READ MORE »
john jones

Pawesomeness!!!

Easy and fast install. Stays in place...works great!! (and the dogs are happy that they get to ride along again!) :)

READ MORE »
Ericka Spiva

Great fit, Great look, Stays in Place

I really like the look of this cover on my front bucket seat. You can't tell it's to protect the seat from the dog! It's very nice looking and fits great. Most importantly, it stays in place! My dog is wiggly, up and down, looking out the windows; and this seat cover doesn't mind. Do make sure you watch the video and carefully follow the installation instructions. I did not at first; and Support was Wonderful in helping me figure out what I was doing incorrectly.

READ MORE »
Sherry McClurkin

4Knines.com

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509
Email: support@4Knines.com

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy