How to Solve Your Dog's Fear of Car Rides

How to Solve Your Dog's Fear of Car Rides

You love your dog’s company and want to take it with you wherever you move.

You are willing to enjoy a road trip or long drive with your darling pup, but it starts whining. Most of the dogs love car rides, but some face motion sickness.

Some bad experience, accident, or feat of being trapped puts your dog under stress when it’s about car riding. Your dog even puts off car rides if it’s just a regular trip to the vet.

A Frightened Dog in the Car

None of us want an unhappy dog in the car because it makes everyone miserable. Therefore, help your dog cope with this car anxiety so it will enjoy car rides calmly and even happily.

You reading this is proof that you are searching for a guide to help your dog overcome this fear. Download our free ebook: Relieve stress and anxiety in your dog

Let’s jump to the tips to help your dog cope with the fear of a car ride.

Why does my dog pant and shake when riding in the car?

It will come as no surprise to you that dogs, like people, can be scared in the car. It can even be so bad that your dog gets carsick while driving.

If your dog gets car sick, don't worry. Car sickness in dogs is more common than you think.

The dog experts at Proud Dog Parents often get questions from dog parents with puppies. A puppy's hearing is not yet developed so puppies get overstimulated in the car.

Also, your dog may start shaking before getting into the car. He may have suffered traumatic experiences. For example, he was startled the last time he was in the car with you. Dogs associate good as well as bad experiences with events.

The last reason your dog will shake may be because of his character. Some dogs are simply more fearful than others. In many cases, you can help your dog get over his car fear. Read on how to do that! Also read our free ebook: Relieve stress & anxiety in your dog! This ebook is full of tips on how to make your dog less anxious.

How do you calm a scared dog in the car? 

Please don't force your dog to sit properly with a seat belt; it may irritate your pup. Bring your dog’s crate so it will feel comfortable and safe. Put your dog's favorite toys or blanket within the crate so it will not panic in the car. Along with, make sure that the car is breathable for the dog.

Tip 1: Recognize his body language

Unfortunately, dogs cannot indicate when they are afraid. Therefore, pay extra attention to your dog's body language. Look at his lick behavior, body language and at his eyes. As a proud dog parent, you often know better than anyone when your dog is scared. 

Tip 2: Get your pup familiar with the car

You will notice that the dog becomes anxious even when you start the engine. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to divide the car ride into parts and let your dog get comfortable piece by piece.

For this purpose, serve your dog with a treat before loading it into the car. So your pup will associate the reward with a car ride. Once your pup is comfortable going into the car, the next step is to start the engine.

Again, start with a treat while you turn on the engine. It’s all about providing a reward to your dog while getting your pup familiar with the car.

Once you are sure that your pup is familiar with the car, the go-ahead for a small drive; in this way, you can reduce the motion sickness and car fear in your dog.

Tip 3: Visit the rewarding destinations

Maybe your dog does not has a fear of the car but the fear of the destination. Maybe you are visiting to vet, and your pup doesn't like to the medication.

According to our free ebook: Relieve stress & anxiety in your dog make some trips to a park or some rewarding destination. In this way, your pup will be excited to go out for a road trip and hence no car fear.

Visiting your friend with a dog is another good option to keep your dog interested in car rides.

Tip 4: Reduce the triggers

Again, maybe it’s not the car but other factors which put the dog into car fear. Mostly, dogs don't like loud sounds, which causes stress and anxiety during the ride.

Notice the triggers and help your dog cope with the fear of the car. All you have to do is serve your pup with a treat or reward as soon it hears any sound that frightens him. Practice the same tip without being dependent on the duration of the car ride.

Reduce the triggers to reduce stress in your dog

After these, we conclude that it’s easy to help dogs overcome their fear of drives or cars. All you have to do is to be consistent in practicing the specific ways. Make sure to deal with your pup with a calm nature and not force it to step into the car.

Note that dogs can feel your energy and vibe, so we must be friendly in the training session no matter the situation.

It’s time to shortlist some of your questions and look at their answers for proper understanding.

How to make your car a place your dog will love!

It all has to do with association. First, get your dog to overcome his fear of the car by luring him to the car with his favorite treats. Every time he comes to the car, reward him with his favorite treat.

The next step you take is by opening the car door. When your dog comes to you with the door open, reward him again. Keep this up consistently until he is used to picking up his treat from you with the car door open. Do this just until he gets in the car.

The last step you do is by turning on the engine and luring him into the car with reward. Always remember to go very slowly and build this up step by step. Be patient with him.

FAQs related to dog’s fear of car

Q1. How to make my dog comfortable in the car?

Firstly, make sure that the car is comfortable and safe according to your pup. The car should be breathable. Don't leave your pup alone in the car. Move with the dog's crate or blanket so it will feel safe and familiar. Reward your dog when you are about to start the engine. Distracting your pup from triggers is another effective option to make your dog comfortable in the car. Turn on the soothing music if you are at some long drive.

Q2. Why does a dog freak out in the car?

There can be several reasons for dogs freaking out in the car. Maybe your dog feels stress in some close places. Or the loud sounds of horns are making your dog stressed. That car's engine sound is also weird for dogs, due to which they freak. The car gives them anxiety because you usually take them out for a ride when it’s about visiting the vet.

Q3. What are the signs of a frightened dog in a car?

Aggression, sudden urination, panting, drooling, and destructive behavior are clear signs that a dog is afraid of car or car drive. It may deny stepping into the car while having some car fear.

Q4. Is it possible to help the dog cope with the fear of cars?

Yes, of course, there are several different ways to help dogs cope with car fear. All you have to do is to read the related guide and follow the tips. Try to be calm and consistent when it’s about teaching a new behavior to your darling pup.

Q5. My pup is afraid of cars

Is your puppy afraid of other cars or a car ride? Boring! He is probably scared, sick or finds the sound scary. Try the tips in this article to overcome his fear. 

To wrap it up

Most of the dogs don't like to go out in loud sounds, which is why their car fear. You want to move out with your pup, but it denies stepping in the car. Don't worry; it’s quite easy to convince your dog to be comfortable in cars. All you have to do is to serve them with a reward at each new step. Have a strong grip over the positive reinforcement so your pup will quickly learn new behavior.

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