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Puppy travel troubles/anxiety(16 Posts)
My 13 week old pup is really struggling with the car. We have tried just making tiny 2 minute journeys as advised by the vet and have tried foot well, car seat and crate in front, back and boot of car but nothing seems to help. He will either throw up or wee/poo literally as soon as we leave. I’m going back to work in two weeks and pup will be going to work with my partner and will be in the van every day travelling. Any tips to help him travel better or any supplements etc that work? Mandatory photo attached.
Might be a silly question but what does your car smell like? I was once talking to a couple in a car park and they were saying their dog was always sick in the car; when they opened the tailgate the most dreadful air freshener smell wafted out. Would have made me throw up! Fresh clean air via an open window is essential.
They can grow out of it, as the balance mechanisms in the ear are probably not fully developed yet.
Other than that, I would give the vet a call and ask for advice, there are medications available.
I do have an air freshner. I’m about to go and vac/steam clean it (again) so will bin said air freshner and see if that helps at all. I always make sure windows are all open. Really hoping he grows out of it as we love driving out to different country parks etc and want pup to be able to enjoy this with us.
Have you tried just going and sitting in the car with the puppy but not going anywhere? Lots of treats whilst he's in the car for 5 mins, then get out and do something else.
Definitely what Agatha said. Don't move the car to start with. Treats. And cuddles.
I think you'll struggle getting him able to sit in the car all day in two weeks time. What does your partner do for a living and how does he plan on working when he has a young puppy to entertain? They need constant supervision when awake, else he'll be chewing things he shouldn't, needing the toilet/having accidents if you can't get to him in time and stimulation, which he won't get if your partner is needing to work.
I don't mean to worry you, but we had the same vision with our pup and he ended up going to daycare when we both worked because taking him to work just wasn't feasible. He was too young to entertain himself and my partner just couldn't get anything done. Pup also didn't sleep because he wanted to be with my partner and couldn't be, and just cried/whined/barked. We lasted two days before arranging a dog sitter!
Ours is seven months and still couldn't spend hours in the car, he'd get bored and cry/whine/need the toilet, and he generally doesn't struggle at all with car journeys.
Will have to try popping him in the car and not going anywhere with lots of treats and see if that helps him.
My partner is in the building trade along with his dad and uncle who both have dogs, including whippets and have always taken them to work. Pup will only be travelling in the van to and from wherever they’re working. Family dogs who go to work have always spent the day in house/garden of wherever they’re working or if not suitable will go to grandparents. Have lots of quilts etc for them to sleep on or if raining or they’re tired/too cold, they go into van to their bed for a sleep. Will be walked before and after work and also at lunch time if needed so he is tired out and will sleep a lot of the day. Pup has already spent some days at work and loved it. Always lots of people about to give him attention etc so we are confident it will be ok. Like I said, other family members in the same business have always had dogs and it’s always worked well. I’m a midwife so work shifts so am also around some week days when partner is working if needed.
Pup is also crate trained so another option is for his crate to go to work also then he has a familiar place to go. To be honest, he’s a fansastic dog and does sleep a lot (typical whippet) with half hour bursts of energy in between. He was more than happy sat on the lawn playing with a glove when I went to visit him at work yesterday while partner and labourer were working on low roof
Some photos of him at work 😊
Our collie pup hated the car, drooled really bad on car journeys, so i bought a calming collar ( natural) and within a week he was a different dog. He went from not even jumping into the car, to jumping in and no drooling. Im not saying it will work for your pup but its worth a try
Calming collar is a good idea. Think they give off pheromones or something to help relax them.
Agree with PPs that you need to start from scratch to desensitise him to being in the car. You need to go at his pace. If it was me I would...
1. Be near the car showing no signs of anxiety. You could hide treats around the car and let him sniff them out.
2. Be inside the car with the engine off with no signs of anxiety. Again, hide treats inside, play with toys, lots of praise, etc. Do this lots and lots!
3. Be inside the stationary car with the engine running and repeat rewards as above. Turn the engine on and off at random intervals so it becomes meaningless to him.
4. Move the car a short distance e.g. off the driveway when he is happy at stage 3, then let him straight out for his favourite game and some treats.
5. Increase the distances but try not to push too much too soon.
Dorwest herbs also sell a natural remedy called Skullcap & Valerian which may or may not help him to feel calm before a journey. I've used their Billy No Mates product but not the S&V.
I know your time is limited but this might take a little while but once you've cracked it it will have been so worth it. Good luck! He's absolutely gorgeous.
We bought a calming spray you can use on bedding. Also worth making sure that the bedding in the car smells of pup. Mine was crate trained so being in a crate (and maybe covering it) would be calming.
Hi. Thanks for replies. I think we need to go back to basics and get him used to the car slowly. He has had an adaptil collar since we got him and I also use rescue remedy spray in his crate so could try this in the car too. He seems worse to be honest when travelling in the crate. He is calmer when sat on the car seat on a quilt. Will keep pushing forwards and I’m sure he will get there!
If he's on the seat do you have a harness and seat belt clip? He needs to be secure in the car in case of accident etc.
Fantastic. Hope the calmer works. I spent weeks getting mine used to the car. She used to pee every time! Good luck.