Dog’s and Car Ride’s

Teaching your dog to ride in a car.

Some dogs are born to ride in cars. They are happy. They are excited. And, you have to worry more about how they behave in the car rather than getting them into the car. With others, they may exhibit signs of fear and anxiety and may even become nauseous during the ride.

This usually occurs due to socialization or the lack of socialization of your pet. You may never know exactly why your dog sees the car the way he does. Maybe, he associates that a car ride equates to an unpleasant trip to the vet’s office for shots. He may even associate it with getting sick during his first car ride. Or, he may have never been in the car and does not know what to expect. Whatever the reason, you need to take steps to help him so that he will associate a car ride as a positive experience … like a ride to the park.

How do you train your dog to ride in the car?

First, you take your dog to the car (on a leash) with the door open and walk around it slowly and praise him as you do. Stop occasionally at the door and praise as well. If he remains calm or positive, we can continue. If he freaks out, back away from the car until you find a spot that is comfortable for him. Encourage him, but do not baby or nurture him. This will only make the unwanted behavior stronger. Slowly work him closer and closer to the car and the open door until he is calm and relaxed.

Note: If the dog has had real dog obedience training this exercise should not be difficult.

When everyone is comfortable we are ready for the next step. Get your dog’s favorite treats (break it into very small pieces). It actually will help if he is hungry when you do this. Go back to the car door and have him sit. Here is where we may have to try different some methods:

Try to coax him into jumping into the car using the treats as sort of a breadcrumb trail … at the door jamb, the car floor and a small bounty on the seat. I always use a command of some sort in a very encouraging, positive manner. This could take a few attempts, but it is considered progress if you can get him to eat the treats at the door jamb and move closer.

If the above doesn’t work, try having someone on the other side of the car calling him through the car. This person needs to be very encouraging and have some treats or even a favorite toy to tempt him.

If neither of these steps work, try backing your dog away from the car and then running up to the door and encouraging his momentum to take him further in.

If any of these are successful, lay on the praise as if it is the best thing that has happened in your life. Once in, make sure that you keep the doors open at all times.   He can leave if the pressure becomes too much for him; but try to encourage him to stay.  Allow him to sniff around and inspect your car if he shows an inclination. Whatever you do, do not acknowledge his anxiety!

The next step to training your dog to ride is to close the doors with you and your dog inside. Make sure the windows are down for good air flow and again, do not start the car. Turn on some light music. Pet your dog and talk to him in a normal tone. Again, if your dog shows signs of nervousness, ignore it as it will only reinforce that behavior. If your dog sits easily, give him a treat and praise him. Keep this first enclosed experience to just a few minutes. Repeat the training process with your dog.

Once your dog is comfortable in the car, start the engine. Don’t go anywhere. Just let the engine idle with both you and your dog inside. If your dog seems amenable, go for a quick drive around the block. Reward your dog for good behavior while in the car. If he shows signs of fear, ignore it and return home. This may take a few days until your dog is relaxed enough with a trip around the block. Note: Never feed him prior to one of these trips or allow him to drink a lot of water.

After you dog is fully adjusted and doesn’t freak out at the short car ride, take him some place fun like the park or a nature trail where he can sniff and explore to his heart’s content. We want him to have a good time and you should be enjoying yourself too. By this time, your dog should start to associate the car (and the dog training) with pleasant feelings.

Before you know it, you and your dog will be going everywhere together!

If for some reason you can’t get your dog to get into a car with the above tips, consult with a dog trainer. It is amazing what you and a professional dog trainer can accomplish together.

My Dog is marking in the house

Why has my dog suddenly marking in the house when he didn’t do it before?

Usually it is because of feelings of insecurity or a perceived threat. This perceived threat, for example, can be an introduction of a new baby, a new pet, a visitor or even a new piece of furniture. The smell of other animals on your footwear or clothing can also trigger a dog to feel the need to mark his territory.

For example, a son or daughter goes to college. This cause the loss of sounds, smells, and people, as well as changes in routine. Your dog may not be getting as much attention as previously. Changes cause him to feel anxious, which may cause him to mark.

Some dogs feel the need to lift their leg and pee on all new things that enter your house, shopping bags, visitor’s belongings, new furniture, children’s toys etc. Many of these dogs are lacking in confidence and training, so by marking new objects it makes them feel more secure having deposited their own scent on these objects.

Some dogs will never mark in their own house but will embarrass you by marking if you visit a friend or relative’s home. Your dog feels less secure there and feels the need to make it more comfortable to him by laying down a few of his own familiar scents.

How to stop your dog marking urine in the house

Neuter: For pet dogs, early neutering will stop marking behavior in the majority of dogs. Neutering at an early age can prevent the habit forming.

For older dogs, neutering may still have the desired effect but marking in the house may have become a habit that you will have to break.  It can’t be guaranteed that neutering a dog is going to magically cure this problem but if you don’t neuter a male dog, your chances of breaking the habit are greatly reduced. 

Supervise and Break the Habit: Catch him in the act! DOGS LEARN QUICKLY FROM THIS!

Close supervision is necessary. You must be dedicated to stop the marking behavior of your dog and you must be consistent. A couple of weeks or often much less time of intense supervision and correction can save you a lifetime of tearing your hair out trying to find a quick fix for the problem. Some people have reported that it has only taken a day or two using the intense supervision method.

Confine your dog to one area of the house where you can watch him. Shut doors to other areas of the house or barricade them off with baby gates or improvise with whatever is at hand.

If barricading is not possible another option is to put your dog on a retractable lead while he is in the house with you and for you to have total control at all times.