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Hi all - I adopted Captain from a rescue home last week. On the journey home he drooled like there was no tomorrow and eventually threw up. On that journey he also scrabbled around a lot. He's since been on a couple of car journeys - just very short ones to the park. He's still drooling and has thrown up once but he stopped scrabbling around. I keep getting him to sit in the car for short periods of time with me in the back and noticed that he is super nervous - visibly shaking. He refuses to take any treats whilst in the car. I also tried putting his breakfast in there but he wouldn't eat. Does anyone have any advice to getting him used to it or do I just have to accept it will take a long time.
 

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Also will it help to get the car valeted before his next time in there so it doesn't smell of drool etc? I've wiped it all up and to me it doesn't smell but I'm sure he can smell it!
 

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It could be just plain motion sickness. Which in turn makes a dog more fearful and stressed about the car because who wouldn't be if they knew they were going to feel horrible the whole trip?
Younger dogs seem to be more prone to motion sickness and many dogs grow out of it by around age 2 or so.

Some people find that crating the dog in the car helps-- for one, it at least makes clean-up easier. It keeps the dog from scrambling around and you can open the windows all the way down safely to get fresh air which is usually helpful for motion sickness.

Fresh ginger is a natural remedy, its spicy flavored so some dogs won't eat it but a little bit of it (like about the size of 2 M&Ms) about 30 mins before a car ride may help.

For training, sitting in the car for a short time with the engine off is good but if he won't take treats, he is still past his stress threshold. So start outside the car. Walk him near it, treat. Walk him up to it and treat. If he sniffs the car, treat. Then open a car door and walk him near it, treat. Etc. If at any stage he starts to get super nervous, back up a few steps (both literally and figuratively: give distance from the car and start back a few steps in the training program). Do this only for maybe 10 minutes each day.
 

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That's good advice - thanks She'll. I've been so obsessed with getting him in it I've not really thought about getting him comfortable around it yet. He will climb in when I say but he clearly doesn't like it so I'll work on approaching the car. Do you know if that synthetic hormone works? I saw it mentioned somewhere but I'm a bit sceptical as he's over a year old. I just want to speed up the process so we can vary where we go for walks!
 

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That's good advice - thanks She'll. I've been so obsessed with getting him in it I've not really thought about getting him comfortable around it yet. He will climb in when I say but he clearly doesn't like it so I'll work on approaching the car. Do you know if that synthetic hormone works? I saw it mentioned somewhere but I'm a bit sceptical as he's over a year old. I just want to speed up the process so we can vary where we go for walks!
I don't know anything about using a synthetic hormone for car travel.

Remember that you've only had this dog for a week. While it might seem more fun to you (the human) to go lots of different places for walks as soon as possible, it can also be stressful for a new dog. His whole routine and life has been flipped turned upside down and he will need some time to acclimate and gain a comfort level with his new home, routine and people.

Walking the same neighborhood route 2x per day (particularly if you have a quiet neighborhood with sidewalks so it is safe and steady to walk in) might bore you, but it allows him to de-stress and bond with you. Plus, for a dog, there are always new scents and sights and sounds even on the exact same path as the day before-- birds, maybe a rabbit, kids, cars, the scent of other dogs on the trees and lamp posts etc -- all are different each walk.

I think that keeping life low-key and building a routine for the first 3-4 weeks with a new dog helps set the dog (and owner) up for success.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yep I just did a bit of treats near the car after a walk and he refused them when he was about a meter away from it. He's much happier now we are in the house!
 
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