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Training advice needed!

My 5 month old Shepherd/Mastiff mix is petrified to get in my car. He lays down and won't budge. He doesn't get car sick and is good once I load him in (which is getting harder since he's already 50 lbs), but getting him IN the car is a challenge. I've used toys, affection, play, treats, etc. but no dice for him.

He is a shelter rescue (I got him at 3 months) so maybe something from his short past has scared him about cars? I'm training him to be a service dog for me so being able to get in and out of a car is a necessity. Any and all help is appreciated, please and thank you! :ponder:
 

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Merlin used to be terrified of my car. But he wasn't a car d once he got in, it was just walking up to it. My advice is either try a different approach with lots of treats, or start giving him treats before he gets to the point where he refuses to budge. What worked well for me was picking him up before I got to his "no budging" point, but I realize that's pretty difficult since your dog is pretty big. Maybe try some training with him (like teaching him to sit before jumping in to the car). Is it the whole car he's afraid of or just the passenger side? I noticed when I brought Merlin around from the front, instead of the back, Merlin wouldn't shut down. So, like I said a little bit earlier in my post, maybe try a different approach or vary your approaches?
 

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Not that Pax had a fear, but there has to be something in it for them to get over that fear and WANT to get in the car. I carry a small Rubbermaid container of food in the car and I always put a small handful of kibble in the back seat before he got in the car every time with a "load up" command. Been doing that even when I had to lift him in. Now he BOLTS into the car even with a distraction of a cat in the lawn cuz he knows "loading up" means good things...like food!
 
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