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Sunday, October 5, 2014

From The Mail Bag - My Dogs Get Too Excited About Car Travel

From the mail bag: Hi, my two dogs become over excited about going in the car and cry/ pace all the way whilst in boot. I try to get them to a calm state which can take 20mins before getting in the car. I stop the car each time they start crying. The 1 year old dedicated with excitement unless she is strapped in to a seatbelt on the back seat. It's a horrible experience. On the way home, we don't hear a peep from them and they sleep in the boot all the way back

I'm sorry you are having a hard time with your pups.  For now, I would stop car rides.  Just work on stress reduction and relaxation at home in a boring environment.

When you are ready to try car rides again, I'd start with just one dog at a time.  First start relaxation exercises by the door where you would normally go for a ride. If the dog gets too antsy, start the exercises further from the door. Then try to get closer while keeping the dog relaxed.  This could take a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Don't get in the car if the dog gets over excited. Work closer and closer as the dog stays relaxed.
You want to start at a place of relaxation and keep the dog calm throughout. Instead of starting at a place of excitement then expecting the dog to calm down.

During this time, I'd also start working on crate acclimation and/or building mat value.

When you are finally able to get to the car calmly, have the dog relax in the crate or on a mat and don't drive at all. Feed treats then go back inside.

Later, you can drive but don't go anywhere - just around the block. More details in the link below.

Once you get each individual dog calm for rides, then you can start the process all over again with both dogs at the same time.

Good luck!


Stress Reduction:

Relaxation Protocol:

Vehicle acclimation (note this was written for dogs who are scared to ride in vehicles but some of it can also work for dogs who get over aroused):

Crate Acclimation:

Go To Mat:

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