How can I make my dog not freak out in the car?
February 25, 2009 6:47 AM Subscribe
A couple of months ago, our 3-year-old spayed female beagle-terrier mix started shaking every time we went for a ride in the car. We're picking up a new vehicle today - what, if anything, can we do to make this car a 'happy place' and avoid the shakes?
posted by um_maverick to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For the first year and a half after adopting our dog, she *loved* car rides. Then about 6 months ago, out of nowhere, she started shaking, panting, and trying to jump into the front seat (where she has never been allowed). We've taken the Caesar Milan route of ignoring the behavior while driving so as to not reinforce it, and also tried desensitizing her to it by giving her treats in the car while it's not moving, to make it said 'happy place'. When we asked what causes this, the vet and the shelter that we got her from both said "sometimes it just happens" Now that we're picking up a new car tomorrow, is there anything that we can do to prevent transfer of the behavior to this car? Some more specific facts:
Currently, she shakes in every car she travels in - our current vehicles are a 98 corolla, which is where the behavior first happened, and an 05 highlander. She has trouble holding on to the seats in the highlander, but that never bothered her before. The new car is a mazda3 hatchback.
She does still get excited if she realizes we're going somewhere that she likes (the park, the lake, my parents' house, etc...). Then the old behaviors come out and everything's ok
The behavior literally started overnight - one day she was fine, the next she was freaking out. It has gotten better in that she's not panting as heavily, or trying to jump in the front seat any more, but it's still evident.
She's only allowed in the back seat of any car she's in.
She's more attached to my wife than to me, but she shakes for both of us