Thursday, September 3, 2009

The problem with car sick dogs...

I cannot afford to have a dog that has a phobia about getting in a car. My dogs need to go to parks for exercise, to the vet when they get sick and on holiday.

But Jamie hates my car. I have analysed that this is due to a couple of bad experiences as a puppy when he was stressed, overheated and car sick. A fatal combination which has led to this phobia. I have been told that any one of the above can trigger his resistance to getting in the car.

So how to try and cure the problem. The combined advice I have received is the following:

  • De-sensitise him to the car slowly.

  • Use the TTouch elastic bandage on Jamie when he is in the car as this gives him a sense of security (see picture).

  • Stroke his ears to calm him.

  • Give him Rescue Remedy before a trip.

  • In the case of a major trip, give him anti-nausea drugs.

The De-sensitisation process:

  1. Get him to enter the garage without trepidation then leave it.

  2. Let him get used to the exterior of the car.

  3. Let him get used to the car with the doors open.

  4. Try to persuade him to put his paws on the back seat.

  5. Try to persuade him to enter the car and sit.

  6. Persuade him to enter car, close doors then let him out.

  7. Persuade him to enter the car, start the engine without moving and then let him out.

  8. Persuade him enter the car, start the engine, drive out the garage and straight back in.

  9. Persuade him enter the car, go for a short ride and come back home etc. etc. etc...

Well so far it has taken me a week to get him to enter the garage but he is still not enthusiastic about the idea to put it mildly.

Jemma (who loves the car ) and I sit in the back with lots of treats appearing to have lots of fun. If Jamie happens to appear at the door he gets an enthusiastic greeting and a treat. But the smallest mistake such as moving too fast or a noise from outside will send him into retreat. Jemma and I have even fallen asleep in the back of the car.

The De-sensitisation process is going to require GREAT patience and MEGA treats. It could also take a LONG time. So far it has been a matter of one paw forward and three paws back.

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