My Dog Freaks Out in the Car

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

My Dog Freaks Out in the Car

This is a discussion on My Dog Freaks Out in the Car within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I have a 3 1/2 year old am staff/boxer mix. We rescued her from an animal shelter when she was about 1 1/2. Originally she ...

User Tag List

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-17-2018, 02:16 PM
  #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
My Dog Freaks Out in the Car

I have a 3 1/2 year old am staff/boxer mix. We rescued her from an animal shelter when she was about 1 1/2. Originally she was perfectly well behaved in the car. For about the last 2 years she has been absolutely crazy in the car. She bites the seat belts and the windows and has even bitten off pieces of the rain guard on the window and has bitten the window frame outside the car as there are many bite marks there. She constantly jumps around between the front seat and the back seat, and whines and cries almost the entire time we're in the car. This seemed to have happened all the sudden but there is nothing traumatic that I can remember that might have started this behavior.

We have tried giving her praise and treats when we tell her to sit or lie down, which works briefly but then she goes back to whining or biting things. I am hesitant to keep trying this method of giving her treats for being good because she has thrown up before in the car from having too many treats.

She is not scared or even hesitant around the car or even getting into it. She jumps right in when we go somewhere and usually seems very excited. So I don't think she is scared of the car.

We have tried to get a crate for the car, but she is a big dog and it would have to be a big crate to fit her and unfortunately our vehicles are not big enough to fit the crate.

We have tried spraying the seat belts and windows with anti-biting spray, and while that works for a few minutes she just starts biting things again shortly after. We have tried calming treats but that seems to have no effect either.

I am hesitant to put her on some sort of medication for a behavior that literally only happens when we are in the car.

Any advice would be extremely helpful.
ssawyer29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 02:27 PM
  #2
Senior Member
 
MarvelousMabel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 145
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Hi I am a dog walker with a dog who has a similar problem to your dog. I bought a tether for the back seat of my car that I clip to a harness so he can't move around. I also filled the back seat with 5 or 6 different types of chew toys. He still whines but now chews on the toys or dental chews that are in the back and cannot move about the car because of the seatbelt tether hope this helps!!
MarvelousMabel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 02:51 PM
  #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: NW Washington State
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
So, does she do this while she's driving? I would be reluctant to put her on medication that could make her drowsy. Dogs are not very good drivers to begin with.

Kidding aside, this can be really difficult to cure once it gets to this point. The problem tends to be that, because you are driving, you can't devote enough attention to be really responsive and consistent about dealing with appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. The dog knows this and can quickly figure out that you can't or won't do anything about it. So, they learn to ignore any attempts to reel it in, because they can.

And, if you try to train in a parked car, they tend to not exhibit the same behavior, so that doesn't typically help much. Though, it can help sometimes, so is worth giving it a go. I had a dog that was very assertive about trying to climb into the driver's lap. So, we practiced simulated driving in a parked car, where the dog learned strictly to leave the driver alone.

But, that same dog later become a pacer - running back and forth in the back seat - and there wasn't much we could do about that. We just lived with it, as it wasn't destructive or particularly distracting.

I would say that my best advice is to simply physically restrain the dog in the car, preferably in a crate. There are good arguments for crating your dog in the car anyway. And, this situation can be pretty intractable. So, you could spend months trying to correct the behavior, only to end up crating in the end anyway.
Foswick is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 01-17-2018, 03:00 PM
  #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foswick View Post
So, does she do this while she's driving? I would be reluctant to put her on medication that could make her drowsy. Dogs are not very good drivers to begin with.

Kidding aside, this can be really difficult to cure once it gets to this point. The problem tends to be that, because you are driving, you can't devote enough attention to be really responsive and consistent about dealing with appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. The dog knows this and can quickly figure out that you can't or won't do anything about it. So, they learn to ignore any attempts to reel it in, because they can.

And, if you try to train in a parked car, they tend to not exhibit the same behavior, so that doesn't typically help much. Though, it can help sometimes, so is worth giving it a go. I had a dog that was very assertive about trying to climb into the driver's lap. So, we practiced simulated driving in a parked car, where the dog learned strictly to leave the driver alone.

But, that same dog later become a pacer - running back and forth in the back seat - and there wasn't much we could do about that. We just lived with it, as it wasn't destructive or particularly distracting.

I would say that my best advice is to simply physically restrain the dog in the car, preferably in a crate. There are good arguments for crating your dog in the car anyway. And, this situation can be pretty intractable. So, you could spend months trying to correct the behavior, only to end up crating in the end anyway.

Thank you for the advice. I would love to be able to crate my dog in our vehicles. But when going with the guidelines for the size of crate that she needs, it does not fit in either of our vehicles. I actually purchased a 42x28x30 inch crate only to find out that it didn't fit in my boyfriend's SUV no matter which way we arranged the seats or the crate. So unless I get a crate that is technically too small for her, this option is not possible.
ssawyer29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 03:02 PM
  #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarvelousMabel View Post
Hi I am a dog walker with a dog who has a similar problem to your dog. I bought a tether for the back seat of my car that I clip to a harness so he can't move around. I also filled the back seat with 5 or 6 different types of chew toys. He still whines but now chews on the toys or dental chews that are in the back and cannot move about the car because of the seatbelt tether hope this helps!!
We have gotten a seat belt tether and tried to use it a few times. She whines and cries when she has it on and a few times she actually somehow stepped on the seat belt button and managed to unhook herself. I guess we could try doing this again.
ssawyer29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 03:04 PM
  #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: NW Washington State
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Hmm ... I reread your original post. There are a couple of indicators that your dog might just be getting overstimulated and using some of these behaviors to cope with that stress. This is different from an anxiety response where the dog is fearful or tentative. It is sometimes the case where the dog just can't process everything very well, so just acts out. This is definitely not a diagnosis - just something to consider. It's hard to speculate without seeing the behavior.

As a quick fix, you might give one of those anxiety vests. I have no experience with them, but they can be quite effective for some dogs. While this doesn't sound like classic anxiety, this state of overstimulation is similar and, if that was the problem, the vest would tend to address some of that. I think higher-end vests are still under $50 and might make a big difference.

I would want to combine the use of the vest with some short controlled training sessions in the car. Simply reducing this agitated state would be some immediate relief, but it would be good to take advantage of that to help your dog understand specifically what you want her to do. Without calming her down a bit, that lesson is pretty hard to get across. So, the combination might work great.
Foswick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 03:13 PM
  #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: NW Washington State
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssawyer29 View Post
... when going with the guidelines for the size of crate that she needs, it does not fit in either of our vehicles ...
Ignore those guidelines. They are almost always WAY too large, particularly for travel. If the dog can stand up and turn around, it is big enough. Much bigger is too big. You would probably be just fine with something like 36x27x25.
Foswick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 03:26 PM
  #8
Senior Member
 
MarvelousMabel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 145
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I thought of something else that might work! I have seen these partition wire things that you can put between the back seat and the front seat. I'm not sure how expensive they are, as I imagine they would have to be custom made. This deifnately will not sole the barking problem, but may be helpful so she at least isn't moving around in the car. Another thing I do is periodically toss treats back there, even if he is barking, as I am just trying to get him comfortable with the car, and hopefully that will help solve the barking. I read you have issues with treats (she vomits) so you probably cannot do that! Hopefully somebody has some sort of cool solution, I'd love suggestions as well!
MarvelousMabel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 05:12 PM
  #9
Senior Member
 
Shadowmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Cambridge MA
Posts: 1,277
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I had a cat that used to get severely carsick, twice in a twenty minute drive to the vet. When I took him in the car every day or every other day for an hour or more he stopped getting carsick. I also had antinausea meds to give him about an hour before car rides that worked very well but they weren't very cheap.
When I first got my dog he used to fly around the back of the car and look at everything and bark at lots of things. He even figured out how to open the windows and hold the button down so I couldn't close them again.
He chewed through leashes back there in seconds and would have easily chewed through a tether. Couldn't crate him he went frantic.
I kept a longish secure chain on him so he couldn't jump out the doors and windows since he did several times, played slow soothing relaxing music and was very consistent with telling him to sit or lie down and stay. I got him lots of toys and annoying squeaky balls and chewy bones and things to keep him busy and praised him for being quiet and still. If redirect him and ask him where his ball was and get him squeaking in my head as opposed to lunging and barking. He gradually calmed down and is very good now.
Shadowmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2018, 07:20 AM
  #10
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boston metro-area, USA
Posts: 1,885
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Exclamation somebody's pulling yer leg!...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssawyer29 View Post

...
I would love to be able to crate my dog in our vehicles. But [per] the guidelines for the size of crate that she needs, it does not fit in either of our vehicles.

I actually purchased a 42 x 28 x 30 inch crate only to find out that it didn't fit in my boyfriend's SUV, no matter which way we arranged the seats or the crate.
...
.

WHERE did that crate-sizing come from?!?! - jeepers!
She's a Boxer x pibble, not a Dane ... how much does she weigh, please?

Rather than look at a table or chart, i'd take her to the nearest physical pet-supply & "try on" several crate-sizes.
The smallest she can enter, U-turn, & exit from, is the correct size. // The next size down, she'd need to back out - there's not sufficient width for her U-turn.

A 27-H x 24-W x 36-L airline-approved shipping crate fit my 80# Akita bitch just fine; she could even lie on her side, with her legs slightly curled. // I cannot imagine how such a massive 42-inch long crate was ever recommended for a medium-sized dog. ::blink::

- terry

.
leashedForLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Tags
american staffordshire, biting, boxer, car

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Puppy" sees another dog and FREAKS Dutch253 Dog Training and Behavior 2 03-11-2017 06:06 PM
Took in these little freaks today! K9Chaos Other Pets 5 02-06-2016 11:20 PM


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.