Dog Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 4 year old akita that recently adopted.
Whenever I try to take her anywhere, she does everything she can to not get in the car. The only place I've ever taken her is the lake, which she loves and runs around until worn out.
It's about a 45 min drive and about half way there she throws up. It always seems to be after a bit of stop and go and not freeway.
On the way back home, still have to pick her up to get in the car, but never gets sick.
Not sure if its associated with anxiety or carsick. I've tried dramamine, read it can help with both scenarios, and same thing.

What can I try?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
I'm not sure how you can tell whether it's car sickness or anxiety, but as she is reluctant to get in the car, let's assume it's anxiety. What I would suggest is a gradual desensitisation/counterconditioning process. You'll need to adapt it according to your personal circumstances and how she responds, but it would look something like this.

I would stop taking her anywhere in the car for now. Walk her from your home on foot instead. When/if you walk past the car, open the car door, give her a treat, shut the door, and head on out for your walk. You want her to see the car door opening as a good thing.

When she likes the door opening, put the treat inside the car so she has to reach in to get it... then go on your walk on foot. Progress through putting the treat far enough in that she has to get in to get to it - then let her get out again. Get to the two of you being in the car together without going anywhere, giving her treats or making a fuss of her, till she thinks the car is a great place to hang out. Then sit in the driver's seat, start the engine, and turn it off again. Then drive about a yard... and back again, and get out. Get onto the road... and go back home. Round the block... and home. Drive to a good walk even if it takes longer than walking there would...

You get the idea. It's a drag if the drives seem a bit pointless, but you're changing her associations with the car from negative to positive, and increasing the distance at her speed. Hopefully, eventually, you can get back to the lake.

I've gone through this a couple of times with my dog, and it's taken a week or two before we can drive a short distance. He's not reliably good on long drives, but luckily we have good places to walk within very short drives.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,271 Posts
It could be cause, or effect - either she dislikes the car and resists getting in because she gets car sick, or she dislikes the car so much that it makes her car sick.

Have you tried things like letting her in the car, rewarding and straight back out, sitting in the car with her with the engine off, then after she is comfortable with that having the engine on but not moving. Then when she is ok with that, driving to the end of the drive and when she is ok with that, to the end of the road?

And also, once you are getting to short trips, experiment with feeding times in relation to the trip.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top