It’s not uncommon for dogs to have unpleasant feelings toward riding in the car, but it can be a challenge for their owners. As a dog owner, you may want to travel without leaving your pup with someone else or boarding them in your absence, but it’s not always the best decision if they act up during the trip. If you’re unsure of the reasons your dog may act crazy in the car, keep reading to learn more about the various issues your four-legged friend may experience involving vehicles.
Believe it or not, some dogs bark or jump around in the car simply because they’re excited to get to their destination or love the scenery change during the ride. If you often take your pup to enjoyable places, they may get overly excited as soon as they get in the vehicle. Unfortunately, excited dogs can be difficult to manage, as they often move around in the car. If that’s the case for your dog, consider the following:
- Use some type of restraint to keep them safe in their designated spot in your car.
- Distract them with an interactive toy, such as something you can fill with treats or dog-safe peanut butter.
- Train them to wait until you give them the okay to get in and out of the car. Doing so will save you from them escaping as soon as you open the door.
Intense anxiety is one of the most common reasons your pup may act differently in the car. Generally, dogs have car-related fear because they have a negative association with riding in the car, whether it be going to the vet, getting into an accident, or another traumatizing experience.
If your dog has anxiety about riding in the car, you must find a way to give them a positive association with it. For instance, you can give them a special treat every time they go somewhere in the car, start with short, easy trips, or take them to fun places like the pet store or dog park, to ensure they feel safe and look forward to being in the vehicle.
Barrier frustration is a bit more difficult to understand, but it’s a common issue for dogs. You may notice that your pup loves to bark at things outside the car, whether people, cars, or other dogs. Interestingly, this is most likely a result of barrier frustration—they can’t get to these things physically because they’re in the car. So, they bark…a lot.
Although it may be challenging, you can block the windows to prevent them from looking out. After all, they can’t bark at what they don’t see.
Motion sickness is more common in puppies, as they typically don’t have much experience riding in a car. Usually, they will grow out of this as they get more comfortable with the motion, but it can be a major adjustment. Small dogs may benefit from being in a dog tote carrier to keep them comfortable and secure during the ride. Furthermore, all dogs may benefit from starting with short trips and gradually adding more time.
After learning the reasons your dog may act crazy in the car, you can address any concerns as soon as they arise. If you’re struggling to fix the issue independently, there’s nothing wrong with asking your vet for advice.