If your dog hates the car, the reasons can range from a simple fear of the unknown to a severe phobia of being trapped in a moving steel contraption. Getting him used to the car -- and quiet on trips -- takes time and patience, but your efforts benefit everyone.
Take your dog to the bathroom before he gets in the car. Not only does this eliminate a potential mess for you if your dog becomes stressed, but it can eliminate stress for him if he doesn't feel the pressure to go on top of being scared.
Lure your dog into the car when it's parked and you're not going anywhere. Allow him to sit or walk around in it, and reward him with praise or even a treat when he becomes calm inside the car. Repeat this exercise to help your dog see the car as non-threatening.
Give your dog the experience of a short ride -- no more than a few minutes -- to let him feel the car moving. Returning him to a familiar place rather than the veterinarian's office can assist him in overcoming his fear of the unknown later.
Walk your dog several blocks away, and have a friend or family member pick you up in the car to return home. Praise your dog for getting into the car, and give him a treat when he gets home if he has remained calm. Repeat this exercise as you feel necessary.
Drive your dog on a longer trip to a fun place, such as the beach or a park. Increase the driving time, adding an extra block or mile to the trip to continue exposing your dog to the car's movement.
- If your dog continues to cry and experience stress even after continual exposure to the car, it may be time to talk to the vet about anxiety medication or a sedative for longer car rides.
- Do not encourage your dog to come into the front seat while you are driving; it will simply encourage him to continue crying in the car until he gets to you.
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."