Car rides can be challenging for dogs. For one reason or another, being in a car makes them anxious. The moment they enter your car, they want nothing more than to leave as soon as possible.
Since you will have to take your dog or puppy to the vet clinic and other important locations, this reaction is very hard on your dog as well as you. The best thing we can do is to try to understand their fear so we can do something to reduce it.
We’ve already discussed some of the reasons why dogs may feel anxious in cars in a previous article. We’ll highlight some other possible explanations here.
Your Pet Is Going Through Their Fear Period
Early on in your puppy’s development, they will go through something known as a fear period. For those unfamiliar with that term, a fear period is a phase puppies go through as they become more aware of the world around them. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), puppies are more apt to develop a long-term fear of something (or more than one thing) in their environments during these fear periods.
A puppy will go through two fear periods. The first takes place when your puppy is around 8 to 11 weeks old. They will go through another fear period from approximately 6 months old to 12 months old.
Unsurprisingly, puppies in the midst of fear periods can grow very anxious about staying inside cars. Whatever feelings they have about hopping inside your car may be amplified during a fear period.
Do your best to accommodate your puppy during those crucial development stages. Offer them plenty of support so they can feel more at ease.
Riding Inside Your Car Is Overwhelming
Take a moment to consider the experience your dog or puppy may have during car rides.
Inside the cabin are all these unusual odors and strange objects. Their seat is comfortable, but they don’t know if it’s completely safe.
Then, you go to turn the engine, and your car comes alive. Your pet is caught off guard by the sudden movements and noises. The revving engine sounds like a potential threat, but they cannot even stand straight because the ground underneath them is moving.
Simply put, being inside a moving car can be an overwhelming experience for a dog or puppy. It may take a while before they get used to everything that happens during a car ride.
As their owner, you have to ease your pet into the experience. Give them time to get used to the stimuli inside your car, and their anxiety regarding car rides may eventually fade.
Your Dog Is Suffering from Separation Anxiety
We love our dogs. If we could spend all day with them, we would.
Of course, the realities of everyday life prevent us from hanging out with our dogs and puppies all day. We still have to clock in at the office to earn a living.
If you take your dog to the sitter every morning before you head to work, you may notice them start to get anxious inside your car. Their anxiety may not necessarily be due to the experience of riding in your vehicle. Instead, they may be experiencing a bout of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is typically characterized by destructive behavior and barking. Your dog may also start to pace inside your car if they’re worried about being separated from you again.
Dog training can help combat your pet’s separation anxiety. You can also have other members of your family spend more time with your pet and see if that helps calm them down.
Understanding why your pet feels anxious during car rides is the first step towards helping them overcome that problem. Use the information in this article to pinpoint the source of your pet’s anxiety and do what you can to address it.
If you’d like to learn more about how to help reduce your dog’s anxiety while riding in a car, our dog trainer Cathy would be more than happy to help. Schedule a complimentary call today.