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afraid of car

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afraid of car
  • My dog started this strange behavior of not wanting to get in the car.  When he knows we are going somewhere (and it is only places he loves so this confuses me more), he runs from me, I have to drag him with the leash and I have to lift him in and he is heavy.  When we get to the destination, he is thrilled, but the whole ride there, he cowers in the back seat.  HELP!!!  I don't know what to do about his.

  • What happened that caused this behavior? Sounds like something happened to him in the car. Or did you take him somewhere unpleasant?

  •  Did this come on all of a sudden? What was his behavior in the car like before it began?

  • He never got overly excited about getting in the car in the first place - I have had him since he was 2 mos and he is 1 1/2 years now, but the way he is acting now started a few months back.  I have never been in an accident or done anything that should have spooked him so I am wondering if this is something I can change with him.  My other dog can't get in the car fast enough so I hoped his behavior would rub off on Oliver but it hasn't and he is getting worse.

  • He goes to the dog park and to doggy day care and to my parents house.  The only bad place has been the vet and that has only been a few times - he is only 1 1/2 years.  So I find this really bizarre.  Hoping someone has had this issue and can tell me how they resolved it. It is going to be a problem soon - I travel for work and my parents watch the dogs for me and my dad cannot lift him or drag him after his shoulder surgery.

  • I'm going to guess that something that you're unaware of happened to him either in the car or in one of the places you have taken him. 

    In any case, the only way I know of to rectify it is to make getting in the car a pleasant experience again, using food toys or something else he loves as a reward. You'll probably have to set aside special times to "train" him to get in the car again. I would expose him a little at a time to the car.

    The first day, just take him on a leash close to the car. Reward him for not pulling on the leash. Stand by the car for a while, while rewarding him. (I would use chicken or I hear roast beef is popular) Have him sit or do a few obedience commands.

    The next day, open the car door, but don't even act like you expect him to get in. Reward him. The idea is to get him closer and closer every day without scaring him or pushing his buttons.

    The next day, You sit in the car, but leave him on his leash outside the car.

    You get the idea. Just move him closer and closer while rewarding him for not pulling on the leash. If he pulls, you're working too fast.