As with everything, we need to train our pets from a young age.
Sometimes we’re going to get in the car for a nice outing and sometimes we’re going to get in the car and it’s for the vet. So from the word go, our dogs need to be comfortable with getting into the car.
A few weeks ago we talked to Dr Innis about crate training, using the crate is a great strategy for many different types of trainings; including transport. The crate is your puppy’s “safe space” and he knows that, so you can pick up the crate, put it in the back of your car, puppy goes in the crate and you’re sorted. If your dog is the right size, you could do that for the rest of his life.
“Now this is really important: there is no point in getting in your car once a year and it’s only to the vet. Every time your dog goes close to your car, he’ll know ‘oh it’s vet time again… I’m going to get squeezed and poked.’ You need to mould his memory to associate something good with the car.”
Dr Innis recommends putting the puppy’s favourite toy in the car or his favourite treat and only use these in the car.
Looking at the extreme side of things, if you’re planning a couple of hours-long road trip to Margaret River and your dog is incredibly anxious in the car there are medications your vet can give you to calm him. There are very mild, homeopathic remedies as well as heavy sedatives that your vet may recommend.
Now, this may help to train your dog to be comfortable in the car, but you may also be looking at a life long reliance on drugs for long road trips with your puppy.
This is the same with cats, start them young and get your pets used to the whole process of being in the car.
Have a listen to our chat with Dr Innis below: