Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Scared To Ride In A Vehicle?

We have a five month Australian Shepherd that is very scared to ride in our SUV. She cowers when we put her in the car and after going a short distance will start to drool heavily and then vomit or urinate. The short distance can be only a 5 to 15 minute ride.

She will not even get close to getting in by her self. Gets very worried/ apprehensive when getting near the rear of the car.

Any suggestions??

Thank you

Byron Morris

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Scared to Ride
by: jcrply

First let me say that I'm no expert(so why am I writing???... well I thought of a couple of things that you could try which wouldn't do any harm and might possibly work). If your dog is comfortable in a crate, you might put a snug, enclosed (not wire) crate with a soft dog bed inside it into your car and see if your pup feels more secure riding in the crate. The other possibility is to let the pup ride in the passenger seat beside the driver. Pup can be restrained with a harness or other car restraint to make it safer. Third idea is to let pup ride on someone's lap while being held snugly until he gets used to riding in a car. The drooling and vomiting may be real car sickness (motion sickness). If so, then that makes it very unpleasant for the dog. Very short rides VERY often may help. In fact, you might consider just putting him into the car often without going anywhere. Make it a fun thing to do, just sitting in the driveway, maybe getting a treat. Car sickness is usually worse in the back seat....again the crate or riding in the front seat. There are stomach settling remedies for dogs who get motion sickness... some that you get from your vet, some over-the-counter, some homeopathic (a lot of people like Rescue Remedy)some herbal, even a bit of ginger can help. If it is true motion sickness, it often improves and goes away with age.

Scared to ride in the car
by: Heidi M

Well I think you need to start with very simple exposure with positive benefits. Everyday try with treats and high verbal praise to try and get her even near the car or when you pass it in your driveway. Until she feels comfortable, open the door and repeat,then try to get her inside the door, still with treats (the most yummy , favorite thing) and high pitched, positive rewards. Keep doing little stages until you can get her in with door closed, then car on, go to end of driveway, etc. Is she crate trained? If so put a crate in the car with a towel and familiar toy.

Good luck. It is tiny baby steps and a ton of patience! You will get there.

by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

I had the same problem with my youngest as a pup. I thought it would last forever. People suggested ginger cookies, Rescue remedy, herbal calming tablets, lavender, benedryl, but nothing seemed to work until we started agility. She finally started waiting at the door and jumping in the car, but it was a long process.
I am not suggesting that you start agility, but you can try the herbal remedies, etc. You can also ask for motion sickness drugs at your vet. It might help to take the edge off until your dog gets used to the car. The vet had told me that the drugs are quite pricey, but might be worth the try.

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