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Puppy scared of the car.

(11 Posts)
BestIsWest Sat 13-Feb-16 12:23:32

We have a 6 month old miniature schnauzer puppy. He's as good as gold and a lovely little dog but he hates the car. He stops dead within 6 feet of it and has to be carried and lifted in. Once in, he will sit perfectly and not move but he shakes with fear. If I sit in the back with him he will insist on sitting on top of me but still shakes.

We only take him to pleasurable places by car, walks on the beach, visits to family, training classes, so there shoukd be no negative associations for him. I've tried giving him treats but had won't touch them in the car. He was sick the first few times we took him in the car so maybe he remembers that.

We're taking him on holiday with us at Easter and there will be a two hour journey plus days out so I'd like this to be a good experience for him.

Any ideas any one? All my other dogs have loved the car.

Cheerfulmarybrown Sat 13-Feb-16 13:31:59

It does vary from dog to dog but you can try:-

Putting him in a covered small crate. This prevents him from moving about too much and can make some dogs feel more secure. Or trying him in the footwell in the front of the car.

You can try zkylene which may calm him down a bit also pet rescue spray can help some dogs as can spraying adaptil in the car before the journey starts.

Ironically the long journey can for some dogs be the change in their attitude to the car - I drove a terrified foster dog to Pembroke a 6 hour journey he was sick once and then back in the car (I felt horrid) but not sick again and ever since had no problem with the car.

You can get some (very expensive) medication from the vet called Cerenia which may also help and is very effective for some dogs. They may only need to take it once or twice.

I expect you will be told to play games in the car, to fed the dog in the car and go on short journeys and build up the length however for a truly phobic dog this will not work at all.

You could try rewarding near the car but to be honest I doubt you will be very effective with this if his fear is ingrained and may just make more of an issue of being near the car.

Good luck he is still young and should learn to tolerate the car over time hopefully.

Springermum1350 Sat 13-Feb-16 14:24:04

My springer hated and still doesn't like the car. No matter what I did. Even treats when he got in didn't work. In the end I bought a crate. He now jumps in on his own. I don't claim he loves it but I think he feels safer in there as before he was falling all over the place. He now leans up against one side and he no longer cries

BestIsWest Sat 13-Feb-16 15:33:32

Well, he loves his crate at home but I can't see it fitting in the car but I will try it and see and maybe then get a smaller one for the car if that works.

The footwell sounds a good idea. He is a little better when he's in the front set than the back.

There will be four of us in the car on holiday (all adult sized) and our car is a saloon so there won't be room for a crate then.

I will investigate the sprays as well, thanks both.

cashewnutty Sat 13-Feb-16 15:35:10

Our lab was only happy in the car once we bought a crate for her. Now she loves it. I think they don't like feeling unsecured in the boot. Ours would scrabble like she was trying to hang on tight before we had the crate.

BestIsWest Sat 13-Feb-16 16:11:25

He has a harness which connects to the seatbelt but he doesn't move at all, just sits there, terrified, poor thing. Our boot is closed off so the crate would have to go on the back seat. Next car will have to be an estate.

Springermum1350 Sat 13-Feb-16 16:29:39

I did about three months with a normal car. Then went out and bought an estate. One if the reasons is I want to be able to take him on holiday with us and we go camping. So all the camping gear.... A dog .... A crate etc takes up a lot of room.

soulnotasoldier Sun 14-Feb-16 16:32:21

Try changing the location of meals to the car. Clearly not when you're going anywhere! Feed the dog in the car as much as you can to associate it with a positive experience.

Also don't ever go out for a journey on a rush as the dog will pick up on the nerves.

Finally drive for a week or fortnight to ALL walks, again to imprint a positive experience.

Persevere with that and the pup will turn into a dog that should jump into the car.

If probably was sick or motion sick on its first scary journey away from the litter?

BestIsWest Mon 15-Feb-16 22:11:57

Yes, Soul' you are right, he was sick on his first trip home with us. I will try him with food, treats in the car when we're not going anywhere. Poor love.

soulnotasoldier Tue 16-Feb-16 00:12:15

The other thing you might try if you're still in touch with the breeder is to arrange to get a blanket or old t shirt with the smell imprint of your young dog's mum embedded into it.

Put that into the car and the smell of mum will reassure and settle your little hero!

BestIsWest Tue 16-Feb-16 12:38:44

We have a tiny bit of progress. Just come back from a walk and on the way back he did walk up to the car, a little bit reluctantly and put his front paws up on the seat. He still had to be lifted in, but this is a small step closer.

It seems that ham is better for bribery than sausages or cheese as far as he's concerned.

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