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Top Tips: Training your dog to travel by car

Handy useful training tips to help your dog acclimatise to travelling in a car
and ease any travelling fears that they may have.

dogs safely secured in a car carrier
Getting your dog used to using a pet stroller needs a little time an patience on your part. In time your dog will be very happy to hop into a dog pram, dog trailer or pet jogger and join you on an outdoor adventure. Whether you are walking, jogging or cycling you can easily get your dog acclimatised to their new stroller in a few simple steps.
But what about travelling in a car? Many dogs can panic and get quite agitated when they travel by car. A frantic, stressed and unsettled dog can be not only a danger to themselves but for you too, especially as you need to focus your attention on the road and drive safely.
Some dogs have a fear of travelling in cars and it can be for many reasons. Some can suffer from travel or motion sickness, which can also get worse if they are also distressed when on the move. Dogs may also have an aversion to car travel because they may have a bad memory of a dreadful car experience back when they were younger.
First of all you need to see it from their point of view. Imagine being taken away from the safety of their family home and placed in a noisy bumpy machine that smells pretty weird. They then have no idea where they are going until they find themselves at the vets, where they are surrounded by other distressed animals. Many a dog’s car journey ends up at the vet clinic for numerous jabs and injections. And to top it off they end up with a thermometer up their bottom! Even a situation like that can a make a dog associate a car journey with unhappy events and can put a dog off car travel for life!
dog on board sticker or sign
Even a puppy leaving their mother and fellow siblings and being driven to a new home can colour their entire future expectations of car rides. So you can see why so many dogs dislike travelling in a car.
One thing that is essential when driving with a dog on board, is to make sure that your dog is securely placed inside a pet carrier or pet crate, especially if they are a small to medium breed. Larger breeds can be attached to a dog safety harness that fixes to the rear seat belt fitting on the back seat. Dogs must always travel at the rear of the car. Even if you have any fellow human passengers who can ‘dog sit’ or even when your dog is eventually car trained, your dog still needs to be securely restrained in a crate, carrier or harness. A loose dog is a danger to themselves and to you if they panic or become unpredictable.
Make sure your dog is accustomed to being in thier carrier or crate before you begin your car training, otherwise the stress of being enclosed will only add to their fears. If you are going to use a harness begin using that when the dog is happy to be in the car and not before. Click on the links below for some stroller, carrier, crate and harness suggestions and recommendations.
Here are some useful training tips to help your dog acclimatise to travelling in a car and ease any travelling fears that they may have.
All this may seem a long and lengthy process but if you follow the stages slowly and carefully, you should end up with a dog that is calm, stress free and up for car journeys. Just take your time and be patient with your dog.
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