It seems that most dogs love to ride in the car. I see them with their heads out the window, nose sniffing the air, ears flapping in the breeze, and the happiest look ever on the dog’s face.
(Just a note: it’s dangerous to let your dog hang his head out the window if driving on the highway or in a lot of traffic. I do not recommend letting your dog hang his head out the window for any reason. I am only trying to make the point that most dogs like to ride in the car.)
Not all dogs get that blissful look on their face when they ride in the car. Many dogs whine, pace, drool and try to jump in the front seat when driving in the car. These fearful dogs associate the car with something scary.
If you only bring your dog in the car when you’re going to the vet, the groomer of a kennel, most likely he will be afraid of the car.
Getting Your Dog to Love Car Rides
If your dog is already afraid of riding in the car, this will be a slow process but with patience and treats, you’ll have your dog jumping in the car without a problem.
- Using one of your dog’s favorite treats, lure him into the car. Just sit in the car with him, praising him and giving him treats.
- Call your dog out of the car and walk around it a few times, and then lure him back into the car with more treats. Do this several times, and then call it a day.
- Continue with this process until your dog gets excited to jump into the car 100 percent of the time.
- Have your dog get into the car and settle down. You get in the driver’s seat. Start up the car and see how your dog reacts. If he is scared, turn off the car and just sit there until he calms down, giving him more treats.
- Start up the car again and talk soothingly to your dog. Give him treats and praise him. If he is still afraid, you might want to try a Thundershirt or use an old t-shirt to snuggly wrap around him. This helps him feel grounded and in control.
- Once your dog is settled in the running car, back out of the driveway and take a short ride around the block.
- Treat and praise your dog when you pull back into the driveway. Continue this entire process until your dog is not afraid of driving in the car.
- Take your dog for a drive to someplace he really likes, such as to a park for a nice long walk or the beach, if he likes that.
Soon, your dog will associate the car with something wonderful, expecting the ride to end with a fun time or his favorite treats.