My first dog HATED car rides, and would shiver, shake and cry the entire time inside the vehicle. That’s probably because he got car sick during his first-ever ride, and then later he began to associate the ride with vet visits and being left behind at a boarding kennel. No wonder he turned into a basket case! That was more than 20 years ago and I’ve learned a LOT since then.
We did things different with Magical-Dawg. And as a result, he loves car rides. He would drive the car if I let him.
Even if your dog is a reluctant rider, you can transform his hangdog attitude into a fun-loving car ride fanatic. Basically you use desensitization to help the dog associate cars with fun, happy experiences instead of scary memories of vet visits. Once your furry friend realizes a car ride means wonderful things–just like in this awesome video–he’ll look forward to trips–and he might even want to buy his own car!
He already has his Dog Tested. Dog Approved.TM license. Just sayin…*s*
CLICK on the license and it will take you to one of the most fun, clever APPs I’ve seen, where you can ask a dog’s advice–that is hilarious, type in your question and the dog on video answers! You can also input your dog’s info for the best Subaru/Canine fit, and even add your dog’s picture “driving” your favorite Subaru car. I’m afraid that might give Magical-Dawg ideas…I already have to hide the car keys. My favorite of the apps is the doggy drivers license (below). Be sure that you use a FAKE address if you do the license since it will be visible online.
And if your dog is a reluctant rider, scroll down for tips to change his canine mind–AND for a fun contest where you can win enough cash to keep him in treats for a very long time!
Make meal time car time. For very frightened dogs just set the bowl next to the car. If he’ll hop into the back seat, feed him there and make the car his go-to-dinner spot for a week. In between times, throw treats in the open car door for the dog to find, and play fun games near the car. He should learn that only these good things in life happen when you’re near the car.
Take the Wheel. For the next step, when your dog is having fun pigging out int he back seat or gnawing that puzzle toy, get in the front seat behind the steering wheel. Just sit there for a while, no big deal, then get out, so the pet understands nothing scary happens when you’re in the car with him. Do this for one day.
Start Your Engines. The next day, when you’re behind the wheel and your puppy’s munching treats in the back seat, start the car. Then turn off the motor and get out without going anywhere. Do this three or four times during the day until the pet takes it as a matter of course.
Drive the Driveway. Finally, after you start the car, back the car to the end of the driveway and stop—do this two or three times in a row, always letting the pooch out after you return. If he whines or paces or shows stress, you may be moving too fast for him. The process takes forever! but it works.
Reward Bravery. Don’t commiserate with whiny dogs–if you say “poor baby” and whine back, he’ll think he’s right to be concerned! Cheer him along, with jolly phrases, “Isn’t this FUN?! Car ride to the park to play ball!” and use words he likes (play, ball, treat) to change his car attitude.
Increase Duration. Increasing car-time by increments—a trip around the block and home, a trip to the park and home, a trip to a drive-through restaurant, and home. Go somewhere you know your dog will enjoy—get him French fries at the nearest fast food restaurant, or a doggy treat from the tellers at the bank. Make every car trip upbeat and positive so the experience makes the dog look forward to the next trip.
Ride Safe. Be sure your pet stays in the back seat rather than riding on your lap. These fun Subaru videos are just that–lots of tongue-in-furry-cheek fun but safety always comes first. Just as kids can be injured by airbags, your pets can be crushed even inside a carrier. Even though dogs WANT to drive, they can become furry projectiles in accidents, or get in the way of safe drivers when in your lap or under the pedals.
$$$ PRIZES! $$$
I’ve never offered a Rafflecopter give-away before but this was too good to pass up. It’s simple to enter–everyone must like Subaru’s Facebook page to enter, but the other 4 entries are optional and can be done once each day.The rafflecopter opens at 12:00 am ET on Monday, February 18th and closes at 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, February 24th. You can enter once every day as long as the raffle is open. One first place prize winner will receive a $350 Visa gift card and one second place prize winner will receive a $150 Visa gift card. The winners will be announced within 48 hours after the raffle closes. Click here to enter into this special Rafflecopter giveaway
Do your dogs love cars? How have you persuaded reluctant passengers to go the extra mile? Please share–and let me know how you like your doggy license! Betcha we could get a whole FLEET of dog-driven car maniacs, LOL!
This post is sponsored by Subaru. The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!