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Dog finding long car journeys stressful(17 Posts)
DDog has been finding long car journeys stressful, and is now refusing to get into my car, which is used exclusively for long journeys (3 hours). Luckily I'll soon be able to get max journey time down to about an hour (albeit more regularly) but he still has another two 3 hr journeys to do.
Complicating factor is that it's a company car and so it can't be used for lots of pleasant short trips without breaking my contract and rules state he's got to be strapped in the back seat or in a crate in the boot (I've been doing the former as he's not crate trained). He can't not come with me as it's overnight trips.
Last journey I started using the Adaptil transport spray, and gave him one of the sticky bones you can stick to a window and filled it with squeeze cheese and peanut butter but he was too stressed to eat it once the engine was on.
On short car journeys in family cars (perhaps 20 mins) he'll get in, albeit with some reluctance, but still show some signs of stress.
I suspect this is linked into either the likelihood that he didn't go in a car at all until adulthood (he's fine on the tube, bus and long distance trains) and / or his fear of motorbikes (but he usually doesn't react to them when we're in the car anyway)
Any thoughts on making things less stressful for him?
Can he see out of the windows Avocados? If not wondering if raising him so he can might make it better.
Why are you doing regular 3 hour trips with him! Poor dog. Can no one look after him?! It’s obviously causing him anxiety. Poor pup.
The three hour trips are because that's how long it takes to the people (family) who can look after him. As I have to work away sometimes it's the only option. I've no DP and he has "ishoos" so my options are limited
ours changed once we got him a walk before going in,comfy bed in the boot and a treat (stuffed hoof) that lasted a good hour or so to keep him entertained.
Can you plan your trips so that you can take lots of breaks? For example, I am expecting to do a 4 hour trip this weekend with Battendog and so have planned 2 stop offs on the way - one where we can do a nice long walk and one where we will stop off for coffee with a friend so he will get a good hour out the car.
He's great in the car but 4 hours is a long time (for him - I know dogs that happily spend hours snoozing in a car) and I don't want to ruin the experience for him by asking him to do much more than an hour and a half at a time, without a decent break.
It means my four hour journey is more like 6+ but I try to think of it like a 'grand adventure' for us both, rather than a delayed drive - iyswim
Surely there must be kennels/dog walkers/house sitters/friends or relatives near to your home? Poor dog. 3 hours is too long. Personally, I would sort out some arrangements near to home or even think or rehoming the dog or changing jobs
Lynne1Cat trying to relieve the stress of a car journey to me is far better than the massive stress of rehoming the dog especially as you cannot guarantee they will go to a good home and rehoming centres are bursting with unwanted dogs (which this dog is not).
Putting them in daycare when they have issues isn't that easy either. Mine was so stressed at one place he wouldn't eat or pee and curled up in the corner so again that isn't actually the best option.
The OP has said they are taking the dog to family who can care for it and not everyone has family close or friends that don't work.
Avocados you say he hadn't been crate trained but I do wonder if he needs a den to feel safe perhaps. I bought a soft carry type crate which is useless for carrying adult dogs but is big enough to fit and be restrained on the back seat and provided a comfy enclosed box. They aren't that dear so maybe you could try something like that.
My puppy isn’t a great traveller, and we find he is actually happier in a crate in the boot, rather than on the seats. He doesn’t like being thrown about off balance on the seat, whereas a crate on a nice flat surface, with comfy blankets, seems to make him feel safer
Forgot to mention, Puppy isn’t crate trained either, crate is purely for the car
My dog hated a crate, despite being crate trained and loving it at home. Also hated being unrestrained in the boot with a dog guard or restrained on the back seat. She was happiest squeezed in the tiny passenger footwell even for the longest of journeys. And sometimes being used as a foot rest!!!
She just felt safe there.
Mine are not crate trained but both travel happily in a crate in the boot, I have a crash tested crate which was expensive but they feel very safe in it Safedog crate, both of mine hate travelling on the back seat or in the boot behind a dog guard.
Advocados in the restrictions of your situation there is nothing much you can do to help your dog. YOu coiuld try feeding him in the stationary car, playing with him in the stationary car,just chilling and cuddling in the car in the evenings etc but I feel when you turn the engine on unless you have worked on this his anxiety will return but worth a try,.
If the only option is 3 hours travelling then you can not de-sensitise him to the car, each journey will only reinforce his fear of discomfort.
More stops may increase the anxiety as he has to get into the car more times and the journey becomes longer.
What breed is he? Herding dogs prefer not to see out of the window as they try to watch and herd everything and get very stressed so it may but other dogs do prefer to see out.
Umm a tricky one.....
We spent a lot of Cocodogs puppyhood introducing her to car rides, stationery, engine running , short journeys. She is good in the car but always restless, not upset but not settled on short journeys. The two long over three hour journeys we have done with her were much more settled putting her big memory foam nighttime bed squashed in the boot, she slept most of the time so I am guessing she couldn’t move around as much and felt more secure. So maybe a soft crate or a booster seat might work for him. I don’t know what the rules are exactly but as a small dog ,a booster seat with him with a seat belt attachment to his harness beside you on the front seat might make him happy.
We had to do long car journeys to see family when our 2 dogs were pups. Neither of them were keen but DDog1 absolutely hated it, I think because he got travel sick. He would drool & vomit for most of the journey. I tried to desensitise him by getting him sat in the car regularly with the engine off, then few days later engine on, progressing to short 5 min drives etc. At first he would sit in the car drooling, like he felt really sick, which shows it had become psychological link for him, with being in the car & feeling sick.
I think mine moved around in the crate too much, so bought a dog hammock off Amazon, which seemed to help a lot. I think that & shorter journeys helped. He can do long rides now without drooling/spewing or looking stressed.
I'd honestly look at desensitising him to the car. I've done this with a few dogs and the results have been very good ( and gratifyingly fast ).,,
Day 1 breakfast in the car, door open, out as soon as he's finished
Day 2 repeat
Day 3 repeat and maybe close & open the door
This builds up to starting the engine but not moving, then turning the car etc. He may not be hugely food motivated but if all his meals can be eaten in a stationary car this quickly becomes normal.
My puppy isn't crate trained but she will happily travel in her crate, I also have a Safedog crate. We line it with a vetbed so she's comfy and she snuggles up against a corner and sleeps during the journey. She's much more settled in there as she's not thrown about and its like a den for her.