My 10-week-old Sheltie is terrified of the car. There's no particular reason (she hasn't had a bad experience in a car or anything). I put her in her crate and strap the crate securely to the seat with the seat belt for safety - she usually likes the crate, but in the car, she's just petrified - cries loudly, trembles and shakes the entire time (I just took a 2-hour trip with her out of town and she did this most of the way). What can I do to calm her? I tried putting a blanket over most of the crate (so she'd think it was nighttime and be less afraid), but it didn't help. Anyone got any tips for me?? Thanks!!
have someone ride with you and distract the dog. Only distraction and playing with the dog will help your dog get used to riding cars. Ask a trainer, i'm sure they will be able to help you with our problem.
What do you do when she is in the car with you? Do you constantly reassure her? Ignore her behaviors? Whatever? Perhaps the best thing to do is go through a step by step retraining process (that may or may not work, some dogs just hate riding in the car). Try having her in the car with her leash on with you when it isn't moving, without the crate, just you and her in the back or front seat.. oh and a bag full of her favorite treats or her favorite toy. Leave the windows down so that she can get a whiff of the fresh air, but not so far down that she can jump out! Try and make it just another place to have fun and play. If she whines or whimpers, ignore it. Dont' say 'it will be alright, etc'. Instaed, try and distract her with treats and the toys, encouraging her to look at them, and pay attention to you. If you constantly try to reassure her, you may be encouraging the anti-car behavior. Try and spend a little time with her in the car every day (with it sitting still). Does she like peanut butter? Give her a kong with frozen peanut butter in it so she has something to work on. The idea is to totally distract her from the fact that she is in the car, and treat it like it's just another place to play. When she starts calming down, you can work up to puttng her in the crate with her treats and toys, and beyond. I probably don't need to ask but the only time you crate her when you put her in the car?
Those are great suggestions - I'll start trying them. That's not the only time I crate her (she seems mostly fine in the crate when it's not in the car - I think it's the noise and movement of the car that frightens her). On that recent trip I took, I put my fingers inside the crate so she could know I'm right there, and I talked to her a lot. It sometimes helped, sometimes not. I'll definitely try those techniques. Thanks!
Being that she's a baby, is it possible that she could be getting some carsickness, as opposed to being terrified? Is there any foamy stuff at her mouth, or wretching? Do you feed her before taking her in the car? How bout water intake before car trips? I wouldn't rule out carsickness as a cause, especially at her age. I'd run it by the vet that looks after your dog, and let him/her advise you once you talk about when it's happening and what circumstances exist. Puppies at 10 weeks old *generally speaking* are very curious, and that's usually the best time to get them used to car riding. Good luck! Hope it works out!
Onehappygirl - that's a real possibility, about the car sickness. I haven't seen any foaming at the mouth, or throwing up, but she breathes rapidly, and seems to salivate more in the car. I'll definitely ask the vet. Thanks for the heads up!
Chelsea - I had a Sheltie for 11 years. We just lost him in December. Shelties can be a bit skittish with new things. Mine never really got to like the car. But he did learn to tolerate it. Take small trips. Work up to bigger ones. Remember Shelties are extremely smart and SENSITIVE. I have never met one that responded to harsh training so be very calm and gentle and I agree to ignore the whimpering. Best of luck.
A friend of mine fosters lab puppies for seeing eye programs and this was an issue with some puppies. They had to be comfortable with vehicles for obvious reasons. She had one dog in perticular that would freak out and froth at the mouth. We first parked the car in the drive way with all the doors open and really cool treats in the middle of the seats, in front, middle and back back (she had a station wagon) First few days we would walk her through the open door over the seats (she was rewarded with treats and walked through out the other side. Then for another few days (with treats) Close some doors. After that start taking very small trips.Like down the driveway turn around and back in. All the while shes still getting treats in the car.(We didn't use a crate) Over time the trips would get longer till, he eventually stopped frothing at the mouth and did settle, after some paceing. Try with out the crate (I hate to say that) but it might help, get her a seat belt.
Thanks for the advice - this is such a great board to come and discuss "techniques" for these different issues. Tara - My 11-year-old Sheltie had to be put down over a month ago - she had liver cancer that had spread, and she was extremely ill. It was so heartbreaking. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, too. I know what you mean about Shelties' sensitivity. Although - this new puppy of mine surely can be aggressive at times. I've posted another thread about how she bites and growls at me - I think she's just playing most of the time, but I'm trying to nip it in the bud. AFter trying everything else I can think of (with nothing working), I end up gently but firmly turning her on her back and waiting until she stops biting me. It seems unusual for a Sheltie to act this aggressively - my other one never had this particular problem. She was much more sensitive. Are you going to get another Sheltie?
Chelsea - I looked at getting another Sheltie from a local rescue as with my current living situation, I didn't feel I could give a Sheltie puppy the yard and room to run. But I also kept my eye on the local Animal Welfare shelter and found my new best friend. His name is Duncan and he is an 8 month old cock-a-poo puppy. He doesn't need the room to run and doesn't bark like a Sheltie. I do really miss my boy Bart though. He was my parents dog first, and then when they died suddenly, he made me feel connected to them. Then he was diagnosed with liver cancer and spleen cancer in December. I consoled myself by thinking that I was sending my mom her dog back for her Christmas present. Yours sounds like a handful still. One thing that really worked with Bart was to shake a coffee can of pennies. Used to stop him in his tracks. My mom actually trained Bart not to bark. Imagine a quiet Sheltie. Well, not always quiet. Best of luck, and post pics if you can somewhere. I have a picture of Duncan on another thread called picture of my puppy.
chelsea, my dog always got sick when we took him into the car, mostly from nervousness, and weren't able to take him on vaction and we weren't going to put him into a cenal. we were able to help him get over by taking him to the store, which is close by, and slowly taking him on longer trips, and were able to take him to maine with us without an insidant. i suggest that you try something like this, but do not leave the puppy alone, slowly get her use to the idea that the car is not a bad thing.
Even more great suggestions - thanks!! Tara - it's so weird that both our Shelties had liver cancer and died about the same age. Also, I had a "personal" attachment to mine, as I bought her when I was first married, and then I got divorced 8 yrs later. She went through everything with me, and was a more loyal companion than my own husband! Aren't dogs wonderful??