How to Introduce Your Dogs to Car Rides?
1. Start Slow: If your dog has extreme anxiety and starts to stress before they even get in the car, begin outside of the parked car. If they take a step towards the car, treat and praise them. Do this daily, or every other day, for a few weeks.
2. Build Confidence: You can keep the car door open and repeat this process of giving high-value rewards for looking at and moving towards the car. Don’t force them into the car, you want them to choose to go towards the open door on their own and then reward them.
3. Reward Continued Progress: Give lots of praise and a high-value treat when they put their feet in the car, and then let them jump out or take them out immediately if they’d like. Practice this step until your dog is showing confidence in getting in the car and doesn’t show signs of immediately wanting to get out.
4. Sit in The Car With Your Dog: Spend time inside the car with them. Pet them, praise them, and give them treats.
5. Build Duration: Gradually increase the amount of time you’re both spending in the car. Consider feeding them regular meals in the car, or sit with them calmly giving praise and affection.
*Note: When you are feeding your dog, make sure it’s in a parked car as dogs get very sick if they are in a moving vehicle just after eating.