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I’ve been driving around with a couple car divas the last couple weeks. From wanting to bolt out the car door as soon as you open it to screaming if you don’t allow them to get out with you.

This is of course all new to them, as I make them ride in crates and they of course have to wait their turn patiently as I work the other pup.

A couple weeks of reinforcing behaviors will tone down the drama when it comes to the car. But if you would like to skip this phase all together, here are some rules you can start enforcing at home.

  • Buckle up. Whether it’s a crash rated crate (Rufflands or Gunners) or a harness to buckle into. Your dog should be secure, so if you do so happen find yourself in a jam…literally…you and your dogs are safe.
  • Have a load and release command. I’ve dealt with it and have seen it a million times. Dogs are going buck-wild to get in the car or the opposite and don’t know how to hop in. Reinforce a command that tells your dog when it’s okay to load and help them (if they need it with a running start). Same for coming out, you must wait until release to come out of the car. Another safety reason.
  • Don’t just take your dog for car rides to visit the vet or boarding. You can create anxiety or fear in a dog if you always load them to go to a place of stress.
  • Randomly step away from your car and come back to reward if they are calm and quiet. This can just be getting out and opening the trunk. If they are cool, calm, and collected reinforce it with food, freedom, or love. No need for long durations, but we are just wanting to teach our dogs that if doors open it doesn’t mean automatically that they are getting out.

These are just a couple of things we do here to help dogs and owners be safe while they travel together.

Do you have any car protocols that you follow? Share them below.

Dog riding in car

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