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Any way to get them to like riding in a car?
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Kaji does not like car rides. He will squat and protest getting into the car. We have to pick him up and place him in the seat. He has a seat belt restraining buckle and harness so he can move a little, but all he does in the car is lay down. When there is someone else in the car, he lays on or next to them. When he was little, we figured it was because he couldn't see out the window, but now he can. We have tried lowering the window so he can feel the air, placing the air conditioner vent on him, and putting him on the floor. He's not interested. I first thought he might have motion sickness, but he's never thrown up or appeared sick. He just lays down and tries to sleep. He doesn't lick his lips or show signs of anxiety in the car. When we get to where we're going, he's all perky, as if he wasn't even in a car. Is there any way to get him to like riding in the car? Taisho, our other dog, loves car rides (he's got anxiety issues so he wants to be with us). Taisho's excitement almost rubs off on Kaji because the moment we leash Taisho up for outdoors, Kaji is there. But when he finds out we're going in the car, he squats down and resists going toward the car.

    Last week, he did get into the car on his own, reluctantly, but sat on the floor. Do you think he's scared? If not, is there anything we can do to get him to like car rides? I've never had a dog that didn't like car rides, so I'm baffled. He hasn't had any really bad experiences in the car other than going to the vet for neutering, a month ago, but his car behavior was already present.

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 09:58:48
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    ... Wait, huh? o.O

    amti said:

    Kaji does not like car rides.

    amti said:

    I first thought he might have motion sickness, but he's never thrown up or appeared sick. He just lays down and tries to sleep. He doesn't lick his lips or show signs of anxiety in the car. When we get to where we're going, he's all perky, as if he wasn't even in a car.

    Uh... It sounds like you're confused, I think? It doesn't sound like your dog hates it. I don't know, I personally don't have a seatbelt or harness for my Shiba, since I think it's too restraining. He normally just has his collar and leash on in the backseat. Sagan has been going on car rides since he was 8-weeks-old and all he does is lay down and sleep, too. What else is there a dog to do in a car, you know?

    amti said:

    Last week, he did get into the car on his own, reluctantly, but sat on the floor. Do you think he's scared?

    No. Sagan does this too. He just sits there like, "Put me in, human slave." I don't have time to stand around if he's going in a car ride, so I just manually pick him up and put him in. It seriously just sounds like he tolerates car rides. You can't really force a dog to like a car ride. :P
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • TinkieTinkie
    Posts: 24
    I think your dog is completely indifferent to car rides, and only dislikes getting into the car. And to be honest, I don't consider that a problem. :P Just keep on picking him up and putting him into the car.

    I would have kept him in the harness, in case you are in an accident. It probably won't go well for the dog anyway, but having him restricted will make sure the rescue workers can avoid him if he becomes aggressive.
  • kumaDUDEkumaDUDE
    Posts: 1259
    Also, there's a post about this already, try using the advanced search function.

    Your dog seems to be ok w/ car rides, but if you really want to, you can try to add positive feel to the car. Feed her there, give her praises for going to the car, give her treats on car rides. Drive her to dog parks instead of walking... Any positive association you can do with cars will help a lot.
  • Merritt was the same way. We got a back seat cover, that is a "hammock style" and made the back seat "his space" by placing a small bed and some toys back there... He is now much more comfortable, I think it is because he has his castle and he can take his natural shiba place as king. We made a game out of the getting in the car. With the instruction of "load up" he will get in but it took about a week of tangible rewards. Currently, we are able to reward with praise only but every once in awhile we still get the "do it for me" look.,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=bd95bfc55b7a9afb&biw=1024&bih=644
  • I really do wonder if there is a way to get them to like it, though. Trainers I respect have said it's just a matter of conditioning dogs that really don't like it with short trips, which I've done with all of my dogs except the Akita (who, poor boy, had a two day drive home after we got him, and he's never much liked the car since!)

    but they don't see to get better about it if they are anxious to begin with. My Kai Ken hates it, and even after many many fun trips (to his agility classes, to play dates, to just brief rides) he is still anxious and uncomfortable in the car. (he won't get in, and he tries to bury his head in my armpit for the whole drive). I had an Akita years ago who had motion sickness and while she finally got past that, she never enjoyed the car, only tolerated it.

    The dogs I have who love the car loved it right away from puppyhood, so it makes me wonder if it really is something they ever adjust to or not. They may learn to tolerate it, but do they ever learn to like it?
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    @kumaDUDE I did a search and must have not looked carefully because I just did another search and an old post came up. :) When he gets a little older, I'll take him to the dog park. Right now, I am sticking to dog friendly stores, friend's/relative's houses and school pickups.

    @Rikka, I have never had a dog that didn't want to go in the car. All the other dogs have jumped into the car, and looked out of the window. They only laid down if the ride was long. If I opened the window, they would stick their noses in the crack and enjoy the breeze. I get no such response from Kaji. If I step out and leave him in the car, he just lays there.

    @Tinkie, you might be right. But he squats and tries to fight going in the car. Once he is buckled, he lays down. Doesn't cry, doesn't get sick, doesn't look around- he just lays there and eventually sleeps. Just such an unexpected behavior from an otherwise active dog. I thought he'd outgrow it too. Seems he'd rather stay home and be crated. And I agree with you on the harness. Kaji doesn't really move around, but Taisho does. Taisho looks from window to window, so he really needs to be restrained. And for safety's sake, I make everyone in my car buckle, so it just seemed natural to buckle the dogs.

    @kerichelle, That's a neat idea! When I no longer have to taxi the kids, I may do that!

    @shibamistress, That's too bad your Akita and Kai don't like car rides too. Well, at least they aren't barfing, right? I do feel a tiny bit of progress was made when Kaji went into the car himself. Up to then, we had to pick him up to get him in. He wouldn't even go near it. But like you said, he may just be getting better about tolerating the ride, and not enjoying it, which is what we want.

    The other post said that some dogs are like humans and just get sleepy in cars. So maybe that is what happens to Kaji. I just wish he liked traveling with me a little more. Thanks all for your input!
    Post edited by amti at 2013-02-16 17:02:29
  • InuzooInuzoo
    Posts: 215
    Sounds to me like the car is a non issue for your pup. Zooey has no problem going in, jumps in most of the time but whines a lot unless she's touching someone. We've tried gingersnap cookies, peanut butter, treats and nothing works unless she's tired. When she's tired she sits or lays quietly. Half the trip to the mountains is Zooey's song. We just let her go and praise her quiet times.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    I fed Conker in my Jeep for a few weeks before I drove 2,000 miles across half the country with him. I started with the Jeep off, then on, then idling slowly in the parking lot, etc. To get him to jump in I would stand outside the Jeep and put his food in there then tell him to jump in, and just wait for him to jump in on his own so he learned that is how he gets into it. I only assist him if his leg is acting up.
    It's taken him a long while to actually like riding in the Jeep. At first he just tolerated it, but now he kinda looks forwards to it. He loves to come with me when I go places and just stays in the Jeep if he can't come in (weather permitting) and gets really miffed if I leave him at home instead. He also knows that most of the time when he gets into the Jeep we are going hiking, so he likes it because of that association.
    Conker likes it when the window is down too and will get real annoyed if I don't roll it down for him. It's difficult to drive with a dog constantly going Aruff. Rrrruff. Arooorfh. Brrruf. RUFF!

    Juneau and Sasha are odd about the Jeep. They are all like OH YES! GET IN THE JEEP GO FOR A RIDE! Then they get all scared once it's moving... They are fine if I talk to them though, so I spend the whole drive yaking away to keep them chilled out. I can't leave their windows down though, since Juneau will jump out.
  • I do think it's weird that he doesn't seem to like getting into the car, but otherwise I'm not so sure his behavior indicates that he doesn't like the car. That's exactly how Zim is in the car---if you're not thinking about it, you really can just forget he's in the car---and he's been fine with riding in the car basically since we got him. At this point, whenever we put him in his car harness and take him outside, he walks straight to our car (or, if our car isn't there, one that he's ridden in before) and jumps right in. He used to make us lift him into the car but we've finally got him convinced that he really can just hop in on his own, so he does.

  • All my dogs have had different reactions to the car. One dog would always end up pooping in the car she would get so nervous and worked up. And she wouldn't stop crying through the whole car ride. Another dog will pant and shiver a bit. And my current dog loves car rides. He sits very nicely in the passenger seat. Knows only when I turn the engine off that he can move from that seat. He also loves visiting with people when we go through a drive through. LOL.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Thanks all- I had no idea there would be so many different opinions on cars for dogs. II should count my blessings that he doesn't get sick or whine.

    @Losech, my daugher has a Jeep and they are pretty bumpy-I'd think that would be hard to balance for most dogs. That's great news that Conker looks forward to riding with you now. Gives me hope that one day Kaji might start liking rides too.

    @notoriousscrat, I too, have forgotten that Kaji was in the car because he gets so quiet. Luckily I looked in the back seat before heading inside! He usually sits in the passenger side, but I must have had my son in the seat so Kaji had to move to the back.

    @sarahzilla, I'm going to have to try the drive through! I bet that would be fun!
    Post edited by amti at 2013-02-17 01:44:24
  • my bear is too excited to go into the car sometimes. If we walk by the cars and don't get in, he'll get pissed. When he is in the car he has to be touching me somehow. Its kind of annoying. He also like to stand on my tummy which hurts.
    Benny Bear. Shiba Inu year and a half old living in Tempe, AZ
  • When we got Nookie she wa 9 months old and already had 2 homes.Taking her for a ride she would shake and cry after a few trips to the dog park car she loves to go as seen in the profile pic
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Samaasen, THat's too funny about Bear. My dogs step on me at times and I push them off. I think they forget I'm there sometimes. At least with Bear loving car rides so much, you can always use the car as a treat to lure him in the car when he gets loose. Opening the car door was the most effective and fastest way of catching our Samoyed, when she got loose.

    Misterelwood, we are Taisho's third home but he's the one that loves cars. If I have to leave him home crated, he shakes and whines and looks like he's going to cry. It is really hard to watch so I have to leave immediately. I think he wants to go in the car to be with me (separation anxiety). Funny how different dogs will act differently when exposed to similar situations. I wish Taisho would stop shaking and crying when I leave...
  • We had an 8 hour ride home from the breeders with Kenzo when he was 7.5 weeks and he was great. He was in this big plush bed we got him and slept the whole time. We keep the bed in the house for him to sleep in and when we go on car rides we put the bed in the car. That way he had something familiar in the car. We did this every time on a car rides and we have had no problems at all. Also we put lots of toys and chew stuff in there. The bed helps to prop him up too so since he was little he was able to see out of the window.

  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    My cars are filled with dog toys and cow hooves. Is it fun for him in there?

    Unfortunately I don't have my experience with this. This is what my boy did for the whole 3.5 hour ride the day I got him:

    Also have you tried to have him crawl around in your car with the intent of taking him anywhere? Let him explore it like it's one big crate.. let him make it his own, ie:
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Kenzola, great idea with the bed and transporting your little one home! I brought a dog bed to my mom's house and Kaji slept in it while we drove there. They are a bit too bulky to keep around for me though, and it really didn't make Kaji enjoy the car more. If anything, he just slept more comfortably.

    Tatonka, that harness looks very familiar. I think we own one too. Love that picture too! I have a nylabone in the car, but nothing else. He's not responsive to anything other than petting, in the car. I don't think we've ever let him crawl around. I'll try that! Once he's in the car, he tends to lay down and stay put. He must think it is a traveling crate or something.
  • zazazaza
    Posts: 56
    Kasha hates getting into the car and will throw a bitch fit by resisting and pulling against me. I have to carry her from the house to the car just to get her in. Once she is inside she will sit and look out the window or else sleep and she seems perfectly content, not so much as even a moan from her. I think they have funny notions and then realise this isn't so bad. I hope she grows out of this too as it can be a nightmare when you are in a park with a lot of other people and dogs and they are so well behaved about getting into their cars and I have a crazy maniac on the other end of the leash throwing a fit, lol!
  • DebDeb
    Posts: 286
    Treats and bribery have worked well for us when desensitizing/counter conditioning an apprehensive dog. Even eating a peanutbutter cookie and sharing bits with the dog has helped. People food seems to be the highest value treat I can find so when high value dog treats aren't attractive, I use people food like mozzarella sticks, cold cuts, cooked chicken, even peanut butter cookies. I wouldn't say that peanutbutter cookies are something the dog should eat much of, just a few tiny bits in one short session. It seems the dog's point of view is something like: if mom can eat this situation can't be that bad and maybe I can get a crumb or two as well. Getting their attention focused on me and the yummy goodies I'm enjoying is a first step to helping get the dog closer to the goal, whatever the goal is when other treats just aren't tempting enough. When doing this it is key to start treating before the dog is so upset and distracted they can't eat and to try not to flood the dog to the point they can't eat. When a dog is so stressed out they can't eat, they can't learn anything positive either.

    So, for the end result of having a dog able to ride in the car without being stressed, start with getting the dog close to the car, then maybe next time depending on how the dog is doing you might advance to sitting in the car tossing treats out to the dog, play at it like the car is a wonderful play house and you are having lots of fun, smiling and happy. Maybe you will only be able to advance next to touching the car door, but you will know by how the dog is acting what size steps to take. Step by tiny step and quitting while you're ahead with lots of short sessions with the aim of getting closer to the goal is what has worked for our disadvantaged rescue dog who has emotional baggage. It is a time consuming type of training but it sticks and has been worthwhile in our situation. It is more about shaping how the dog feels and making things fun to convince them to comply with what you want them to do because nothing bad is going to happen and the snacks are good. Then to complete this the treats and bribery are phased out slowly as the dog becomes confident, but continue to give surprise treats or rewards every so often.

    I hope I've explained this in enough detail to help if you choose to try this kind of approach. Good luck helping your dog learn to be less stressed.
    Post edited by Deb at 2013-02-19 00:04:53
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Zaza, Kaji is very similar but maybe not as reluctant. Once he figures we aren't going for a walk but a car ride, he will not come to the doorway, so I just leave him home. If he has to go or I am ready to leave, then he protests by squatting down and not coming once the car is in sight. That is when I have to pick him up and place him in the car. He doesn't try to run out or anything though. And he it is as if he decides it isn't so bad and just lays down and sleeps too. He sort of reminds me of the child who yells, "she's not my mom!" in front of people, but once in the car, decides to return to being part of the family.

    Deb, Kaji will walk right by the car when it is parked outside. We go by our cars all the time when we take walks and have no issues. I think he would rather stay home than ride in a car. So weird... Maybe it is like me and planes... I'd rather be someplace where my feet touch the ground.

    One thing that is helping is Taisho. If I call Taisho, Kaji comes running, and vice versa. They are jealous of each other. lol. Taisho loves going places and riding in the car, so when Taisho jumps in the car, Kaji feels like he might be missing something and isn't as reluctant. He's still not happy, but not resisting as much. That was when Kaji went into the car himself, so we are making a bit of progress. When I took him to the pet store yesterday, I had to carry him into the car again since Taisho didn't come. But he did sit up and look for a few minutes before laying down. I have decided that if he wants to sleep and not look around, then it really isn't that bad of a thing. Seems like a lot of other dogs do that too. Much better than getting sick. :)
    Post edited by amti at 2013-02-19 20:01:56
  • My 4month old shivers badly when ever she gets in the car. So we make sure that after vet appointments and such, we bring her to a store that she likes and as soon as she has met everybody she no longer shakes when back in and goes to sleep. After a 10hr plane ride and the. 3 hrs in a wonder why she doesnt like it! She wont take treats or play in the car, just sleep. But we always follow a car ride with something positive. It does help a little.
  • MooseMoose
    Posts: 41
    My puppy is pretty small, and doesn't have this issue yet, since I still carry her. However, maybe if the car becomes something with a positive association, it would help?

    I would use a ball with treats/kibble and toss it into the car, and then say some sort of command to get the dog to jump in. I would also sit in the back seat and play with the dog so it's associated with something fun.

    I know the trainers I email also say it's common for a dog to have anxiety if they associate the car with a specific routine. For example, one of the trainer's clients used to always use the car to drive the dog to the vet, but would walk to out the back door to the park. However, if there's a place the dog likes to go, maybe you can take the dog on a short ride and walk the dog afterwards, so it can understand the car isn't bad.

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