How to Cure Your Dog’s Car Phobia - dummies

How to Cure Your Dog’s Car Phobia

Carsickness, which manifests itself in excessive drooling or vomiting, can be attributed to either true motion sickness or a negative association with riding in a car.

For obvious reasons, dogs that have a tendency to get carsick usually aren’t taken for rides very often. And when they are, it’s to the vet. You can compare her reaction to that of a child who, every time it gets in the car, goes to the doctor for a shot. It doesn’t take many repetitions before your dog makes an unpleasant association with your car.

Some dogs get sick in vans because they can’t see out of the window, and others get sick in cars because they can see out of the window. Whatever the reason for the dog’s reaction, you can create a pleasant association with the car. When working with your dog to make car rides a positive experience, you can tell how well she’s taking to the car and how much time you need to spend at each sequence.

Throughout this exercise, maintain a light and happy attitude. Avoid a solicitous tone of voice and phrases such as, “It’s all right. Don’t worry. Nothing is going to happen to you.” These reassurances validate the dog’s concerns and reinforce her phobia about the car.

  1. Open all the doors and, with the engine off, coax your dog into the car.

    If she doesn’t want to go in, pick her up and put her in the car. After she’s in the car (no matter how she got there), give her a treat, tell her how proud you are of her, and immediately let her out again. Repeat this step until she’s comfortable getting into the car on her own.

  2. After your dog is comfortable getting into the car willingly, close the doors on one side of the car, keep the engine off, and coax your dog into the car again.

    Cure your dog’s car phobia step by step.
    Cure your dog’s car phobia step by step.
  3. When she’s comfortable with Step 2, tell your dog to get in the car, give her a treat, and close the doors.

    Let her out again, and give her a treat. Repeat until she readily goes into the car, and you can close the doors for up to one minute.

  4. Tell your dog to get into the car, get in with her, close all the doors, and start the engine.

    Give your dog a treat. Turn off the engine, and let her out.

  5. Now it’s time for a short drive, no more than once around the block.

    Increase the length of the rides, always starting and ending with a treat.

If your dog is prone to vomiting, try giving her a ginger cookie. Ginger cookies are an excellent treat and ginger calms your dog’s stomach.