Determined/scared puppy and car travel

(11 Posts)
rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 16:38:21

Puppy is now 6 months and is still terrified of the car. She's now too heavy for me to physically lift her in and she just refuses to get in...

Yes, I know I should have sorted this out before she got so heavy!

Any tips for dogs scared of the car? All the advice online I can find centres around things to do to get your dog used to being in the car. Mine won't get in!

OP’s posts: |
rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 16:44:26

Should say, we've spent the last 2 weeks making sure we have to walk past the dreaded car on our way out for walks. We have a month off from training classes so pressure is off about actually getting in the car for a bit.

She will now turn left out of the door (towards the car) and she will walk past it and eat treats near the car, so this is a step forward. But she is so determined not to set foot in that car I can't see us ever getting her in it for trips to the vet etc.

In the new year, I'm hoping to go out to work and may need to use a dog walker. She is wonderful and very patient (used to walk our last dog) but puppy will need to go in her car and that's our goal.

Any advice very gratefully received.

OP’s posts: |
makingmyway10 Sat 07-Dec-19 16:47:36

Some dogs will always hate the car but I think doing it regularly when a puppy is the key. A cosy blanket or towel that smell of home, a favourite toy, treats to associate getting in the car with a nice thing. Car = treats or going to a fun place, the park the woods, the beach. Gentle reassurance and small regular trips.

rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 16:56:15

Those are all great ideas for once I can actually get her in the car.

She's now at least 25kg and simply roots herself to the ground and won't move when we get near the car. Very determined about many things which we are patiently working on but the car is the biggest issue.

Sigh.....

OP’s posts: |
VondaVomin Sat 07-Dec-19 16:56:58

I'd suggest getting her to love the car first without having to travel in it. You need to give her an incentive to try it.

Take her to the car when she is hungry and have treats first by the car, then in the rear footwell and on the rear seats. or if you want her to travel in the back I suggest a dog ramp up to it with a trail of treats up it into the back.

Have a special phase you say to her while she is getting the treats. Like let's go to the car - said in an excited voice.

She does not have to stay in the car, and it does not matter if she gets in first time as long it is a positive experience for her, just let her get out as soon as she has finished the treats, praise her and take her home.

Do that for two or three days, each time using the phrase. Once she is clearly looking forward to it try adding her usual bed in the back and a treat which takes a bit longer to eat, like a filled kong.

The next step is to put the tailgate down and sit on a seat with your back to her as you would if you were driving, but talk to her. As soon as the treat is finished let her out and go home.

Gradually work up to (a) running the engine (b) a drive round the block and then onto longer drives, no more than ten minutes to start with. Always give her a treat and always use the phrase.

You could also try including another dog who does love the car so she can see there is nothing to worry about.

rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 16:58:16

Should say also ... we've tried toys, treats, special blankets, my daughter sitting with her etc. But she will not get in the car unless I physically manhandle her in, which is not use when she's already an anxious girl and I need her to completely trust me.

OP’s posts: |
rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 17:02:42

We habe got to the point where she will stretch her neck (Like inspector gadget!) To take a treat from the very edge of the back seat, with the door open and me in the car. She first did this a week ago and we seem to be at a stalemate.

She's a collie x retriever, so intelligent and supposedly easy to train grin. I suspect she's a bit of an over thinker (her predecessor was similar about other things).

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rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 17:20:08

I guess we just have to keep trying. In theory we don't 'need' her to get into the car until mid January, when training classes resume. So we have time for this to take a while.

OP’s posts: |
Bobstergirl Sat 07-Dec-19 18:04:01

You could try with a mat on the floor gradually move the mat nearer to the car obviously treating on the mat.

Give her free choice to go on the mat - then move the mat inside the car but do this very very slowly.

If this works have her on mat door open
door open engine on.
door closed
door closed engine on etc etc

Are you expecting her to jump into the car? If so I would be working on this command away from the car.

So can you get her to jump onto a box in the garden etc
Or jump onto fallen trees on walks etc
Then the jump command will be easier to add to getting in the car (maybe)

The collie bit may be clever but only easy to train if they want to do it smile but very clever at not learning what they do not want to do

rosesinmygarden Sat 07-Dec-19 18:13:22

We've just been out to the car again. With homemade liver treats. Yum!

I can't quite believe I'm writing this but she got in the car and sat in the back seat with me eating liver!!!!!! Progress at last grin I was beginning to get desperate. The car will stink, but I don't care.

I know what you mean about the collie cleverness combined with determinedness. There's a house on our estate with a blow up Santa. We are not allowed to walk past this house. We have to cross the road as Santa is clearly out to get her! I fully suspect this house will be avoided long after Santa has returned to the north pole....

OP’s posts: |
Bobstergirl Sat 07-Dec-19 19:14:44

Yay well done the power of liver ( did you really eat liver smile) Darn Father Christmas

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