Here are some thoughts on helping your dog be as comfortable and stress free as possible in your vehicle. Use a crate that he’s familiar with. He’ll be much more at ease if he’s already used to the crate. Just like people, some dogs are prone to getting carsick. If this is the case with your dog, you might want to speak with your veterinarian. He may prescribe some motion sickness medication. To help decrease your dogs stress you should gradually introduce him to car rides.
Try the following steps:
1) Put the dog crate in your vehicle and secure it.
2) Give your dog his cue to enter the crate. If he’s big enough to reach the crate encourage him to go on his own. If he’s too small to jump up, you could try using a ramp. When he gets in, praise him and give him a treat. The point here is to teach him to happily enter the crate knowing that he’s going for a ride. Practice this step until your dog is comfortable going in the crate. Don’t proceed to the next step until he is.
3) Cue your dog to enter the crate. Give him a treat. Take a short drive. When you return from the drive let him out right away. Gradually work up to longer trips. If your dog is stressed out on these trips you might want to have a second person in the back with him. This person should be talking in a relaxed voice to your dog and showing him that he’s not alone. It’s also a good idea to give him treats during the trip. Remember to only give treats when he’s behaving nicely.
- Always make sure he’s gone to the bathroom just before you hit the road.
- When packing the car keep “Crate Ventilation” in mind.
- Keep temperature in mind. The sun could be heating up the rear compartment.
- Practice putting the leash on him before he gets out of the crate. In his excitement to stretch his legs you don’t want him to run into (god forbid) traffic.
- As always put a toy in his crate to keep him occupied.
Remember that each dog has his own personality and will react to travel in their own way. Learning what works best with your dog will make road trips much more enjoyable for you both.