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Ideas to Ease Car Anxiety - Opportunity with New Car

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by RobD-BCactive, Jul 15, 2010.


  1. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Now I'm in situation where part-exchange deal is "scrappage" any condition, then there's the new car, where I might be able to reset associations (however I notice same issues in my sister's estate car as well as my 5 dr liftback so I think it's generalised to "cars" rather than 1 car).

    Border Collie unfortunately at 8 weeks on first journey the pup was car sick, hardly surprising as I felt queasy to on that road. That repeated, on short trips approx 5 mins drive, and I began to notice heavy drooling.

    OK, small earlier meal before car journey, began driving very slowly on non straight road, short trips to nice places, open windows and providing dog bedding to encourage him to settle down, expecting that he'd grow out of it.

    At 16 weeks since then, the puppy has proved generally healthy, confident and assured, made a lot of progress in all areas, was able to perform well at Obedience Training club on first night with other much bigger dogs barking around. All fine, but the reduction in drool, has now reversed and he was again carsick on a route to new park, with few extra roundabouts, which takes about 12 mins to reach.

    His only other nervousness issue, seems to be around water, streams and ponds, but that is understandable as he fell into a converted swimming pool on a cold day, having tried to paw at the fish playfully and found himself suddenly way out of his depth, and needing assistance to get out.

    The main symptoms are :

    1) Avoiding the car when being taken out, refusing to go under own steam to carpark after exercise. Passive resistance at this stage.
    2) Heavy Drooling
    3) Being very passive in car rather than alert

    Riding along in front near me, doesn't seem to affect it. Having a period of time stationary in car, so he gets sleepy does help a bit.

    My concern is that this could become ingrained and his anxiety increase, so wonder with change of car being relatively rare, whether it's worth trying some things to ease the issue and have him be a more comfortable traveller.
     
  2. JANICE199

    JANICE199 PetForums VIP

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    Hiya is it possible to crate him in the car and place a blanket or something similar?I have 2 dogs that have started off ot liking the car,the 1st was a rough collie,he just grew out of it,but one of my poodles wasn't keen on the car even in a crate until i placed a blanket over it.He now travels in the car no problems.:D
     
  3. Leah84

    Leah84 PetForums VIP

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    my lab was the same and we solved it by keeping her in the back seat and putting them sun screen things you get for kids on the back windows. as soon as they were up the drooling and vomit stopped and she then seemed to see the car as something fun as she`d be going out somewhere. we picked up a set from poundland so you can get them pretty cheap to see if they help
     
  4. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Hi Rob, in some cases a new/different car can help but with fears and most stressors dogs tend to generalise them :(

    Here is some stuff on car work to make the car waaaaay more attractive to the dog thus reducing the distress linked with car sickness and 'passive resistance' - Vrrrrooom! – Calm in the Car « pawsitive dogs
     
  5. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    You have my sympathy because I am also having 'car' trouble.

    Slightly different circumstances because my bitch is two years old and was fine in the car until this year.

    I have tried her in different vehicles and it hasn't made any difference. Having said that I think we are getting there.

    I strongly suggest you have a look at the Doreen Paige website - 'cures' and then give them a ring. They are really helpful and I know of three dogs very recently that are now OK thanks to their remedies.
     
  6. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Thanks everyone who responded. I repeated the 12 min journey today, but put in a break to add fuel, and there & back was without sickness.

    I don't mind clearing up the sick or mess, it is really the obvious and slowly building car avoidance (and implied distress to the dog) that bothers me. You'ld think I was taking him to the Dentists or something, and would like to act sooner rather than later, in case it develops into a real phobia.

    We've agreed a plan, and that's to try sleeping crate with a cover, so he can't look outside, and see if that cures it. If not, then will have to begin the more behavoural suggestions and remedies. He had some pleasant stationary time in the car, and was happy to feed, so I don't think he felt over-stressed today.

    I am wondering, what sort of timescale is expected for "grow out of it".
     
    #6 RobD-BCactive, Jul 16, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Well to my surprise, he's not drooling in the new car now. Must be a nice den in the back. The crating didn't really work out too well in end, but perhaps that was partly due to a required over long journey. He'd still rather walk everywhere than get in the car, but at least he seems happier riding in the new, and arriving more himself.

    I shall hope to avoid travel discomfort, and keep fingers crossed that this is start of a growing out of the car problems.
     
  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Thats really good to hear Rob. Unfortunately can't afford to replace mine, its only 18 months old.
     
  9. leashedForLife

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    good news :thumbsup: well done -
    i'd probably add botanical lavender pump-spray after pre-conditioning the dog to it
    Bulgarian Lavender Oil | Lavender Water | Alteya Inc.
    5 to 7 nights of a cotton-ball or tissue, sprayed and placed inaccessibly where the dog sleeps,
    about 15-mins before bedtime to diffuse, will condition the scent + associate it with relaxation + security.

    don't forget to keep reinforcing lavender odor = relax in safety periodically, once or 2x a week,
    or it becomes a cue for stress, instead. ;) definitely don't want that!

    other possibilities:
    * Rescue Remedy liquid
    * a secure HARNESS clipped into a non-retractible seat-belt for support
    * the covered airline crate [mentioned previously]
    * a Calming-Cap [Premier Pet Products] to reduce visual stim

    * a grounding strip put on the vehicle -
    Car and Automobile EMF Protection - Vehicle Ground Strap
    many dogs who anxiety or nausea were not addressed by anything else, are helped by this.
     
  10. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Well I had to go an post, didn't I? Plenty drool on same journey on way, after it apparently stopping for quite a while, I did change the dog bed to one slightly smaller that fits better, but very similar depth and comfort level (very high).

    At least I now know he can feel relaxed and confident there.
     
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