Fear of Riding in Cars

Most dogs seem to look forward to car rides. However some dogs may be quite uneasy.. they have fear of riding in cars.

Some causes of a dog being fearful in the car may include:

  • The dog was not exposed to the car as a pup
  • The dog has experienced that the car usually leads to a negative experience i.e. the dog is usually only taken in the car to go to the vet or somewhere else it does not enjoy
  • The dog has had a bad experience in the car
  • The dog has been rewarded for behaviours that encourage anxiety in the car, such as cuddled and soothed while whining and barking at strangers out the window

Some tips to help your dog to enjoy car rides:

  • Familiarise the dog gradually with the car. Use lots of praise and rewards for progress towards the car. Reward your dog for a calm response toward the car
  • Don’t cuddle and sooth your dog if it’s doing any behaviour you don’t want
  • When a family member arrives home in the car, take the dog to greet them at the car instead of waiting until they come inside. This will teach the dog to associate this pleasant experience with the car
  • Take your dog on some short trips to somewhere he loves, such as the park or beach. Once your dog realises that he is going somewhere fantastic he will be excited to ride in the car
  • Crating your dog in the car may help to make him feel more secure. When around the home, make the crate a comforting place for your dog. Good things happen there such as receiving treats, pats, praise, and it’s a safe place to relax.

Sometimes ingrained fears may take a lot of time and effort to improve. But do not give up. For serious issues, consult a trainer to help you out.