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:
- Get him to enter the garage without trepidation then leave it.
- Let him get used to the exterior of the car.
- Let him get used to the car with the doors open.
- Try to persuade him to put his paws on the back seat.
- Try to persuade him to enter the car and sit.
- Persuade him to enter car, close doors then let him out.
- Persuade him to enter the car, start the engine without moving and then let him out.
- Persuade him enter the car, start the engine, drive out the garage and straight back in.
- 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.