5 tips on getting your pup used to the car
Written by guest author Megan Armstrong ACIM
The thought of getting a puppy used to riding in the car gives many new dog owners a sense of anxiety; but it doesn’t have to be this way. Read on to find out our 5 tips on getting your new fur baby used to taking journeys in your car!
Slow and steady
Especially if your puppy has already successfully been in the car for a long period of time when you first picked it up, you may think that you can jump right into long car journeys right away. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.
Try and take things slow and gradually introduce your new furry friend to the car. This will help overcome any anxiety and get them used to the motion.
Start by sitting them in a stationary car to explore, allowing them to walk around a bit, have a sniff and get comfortable. Start the engine; if they are still comfortable, take them for a short ride. Over time, slowly increase the length of your trips. Your pup will be a star in the car in no time!
Ensuring your pup is secure in the car won’t just help them to stay safe and comfortable, but it is actually a legal requirement in the UK. In fact, it is estimated that a third of drivers are not complying with this law, which could lead to heavy fines.
Keep your pooch – and yourself – safe by using some kind of crate or dog barrier in your car, or a travel harness and seat belt if they sit on your seats.
Avoiding car sickness
Car sickness is totally normal for puppies, since they have such sensitive stomachs made worse by the motion of a car.
To help prevent sickness, make sure your dog doesn’t have a full tummy before the journey by removing their food a couple of hours before you set off. When in the car, try to encourage them to sit rather than lay down. If your pup is in a crate, cover it over with a blanket to make it a bit more comfortable and crack open a window to let some fresh air in. Doing this, whilst ensuring the length of journeys is slowly built, will help build resistance.
Reward good behaviour
Like almost all elements of training, positive reinforcement is essential. If you are anxious, your pup will sense this too. Likewise, if you tell them off for their own anxious behaviour – such as howling or barking – the behaviour will only get worse.
Instead, stay calm and reward good behaviour. During the journey, give them a few toys to keep them entertained. Give them praise and maybe even a couple of treats at the end of the journey too, if they have been good.
Go to places your pup will enjoy!
When your puppy is fully vaccinated is when the real fun begins! Use your car to take them to places they will enjoy, such as a secure field where they can run around. Eventually, they will associate the car with these positive places and have no problem jumping right in.
Many pups grow out of undesirable car behaviours such as sickness and being vocal, but it’s important while they are small to try and set the foundations and enable them to learn what good behaviour looks like. Following these tips will help you to do just that. Give this blog a share so your friends can learn too!