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Here’s How to Train Your Dog for Long Car Rides

There are many pictures of dogs enjoying car rides, but don’t let this trick you into thinking that all dogs do well on hours-long drives. While there are dogs that seem pretty tolerant of car rides, there are also those that feel quite nervous during trips. Perhaps this is because many car rides with pets often mean a visit to the veterinarian or other unhappy places. Whatever the case may be, you’ll have to put in a bit of time and effort so your pup can stop being afraid of being near or inside vehicles.

If you’re planning to take your dog on a long ride and see new scenes or visit old friends together, make sure that your fur baby’s already comfortable being in a car for extended periods. To that end, here are a few of the things that you should do to ensure that your pet will tolerate the trip well:

Start the training long before your scheduled holiday

Disassociating car rides with scary memories is a process, and it’s something that you want to start long before you have to go on a long road trip with your pet. Remember, you want your dog to look forward to the car ride, not scare your dog away from it. As such, it’s a good idea to start with the desensitization process slowly but surely.

In the same vein, you shouldn’t start the training only a day or two before the trip. Doing so won’t give your pup enough time to become accustomed to being around or inside a car. So, when planning your next trip, make sure to account for how long it may take to train your fur baby for the big day.

Give your dog items that can help calm them down

To help your pet associate cars with good memories, place your dog’s favorite items near the vehicle. These can be your pup’s plush toys, blankets, ball toys, or any other item that they use daily. You can also set your fur baby’s food and water bowls near the car. This way, you can allow your pet to safely enjoy its meal near the vehicle for a few days.

If your pup gets easily anxious, you can try spritzing a pet bandana with some calming pet spray and having your pup wear it throughout the training. The scent is meant to mimic that of a mother dog, as it’s a comforting smell for many canines. If your pup is prone to losing its bandana while you’re out and about, it may be a good idea to invest in wholesale dog bandanas to ensure you have plenty of backups on hand and at home.

Encourage your pup to get inside of the car

Once your dog is more comfortable, you can open the door to the backseat and give your pet a treat whenever it comes near that space. Every time your pet climbs in, avoid making a fuss or noises that will surprise your pet, and give the treat.

As your dog gains more courage and feels less insecure about being in the car, you can introduce some new elements to reinforce the neutral associations they may now have about vehicles. This can include playing games inside of the car, asking the pup to perform certain tricks, or even starting and turning off the motor without going anywhere.

Start going on short rides with your tet

Once your dog has decided that the car is not as scary as initially thought, the two of you can take the training to the next level and go on very short rides. You can go around the corner or head to a nearby pocket park. At this stage, you can help your pup start associating car rides with happier memories, like a trip to a dog park or a pup-friendly restaurant. With enough time and repetition, your pup will come to associate car rides with exciting activities.

Proceed with crate training in the car

Putting your dog in a crate while on a car ride will prove to be a more comfortable and safer practice for your pooch and your other travel companions in the long run. If your dog is crate trained, then try to make it go into the crate inside the vehicle. If not, then it’s a good idea to start crate training at home. Eventually, you can help your pup practice entering its crate when inside the vehicle.

Again, training your dog to become more comfortable with riding in a car is a long process, and it can take several days to several weeks to make the proper associations in your dog’s brain. Keep yourself calm, be patient, and you’ll eventually enable your dog to understand that car rides are nothing to be scared about. After this, you can go on as many road trips and long rides together as you want.

Pure Wander Contributor

Author Pure Wander Contributor

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