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Discussion Starter #1
I also posted in "First Time Dog Owners and Basic Questions" as this is a new puppy question (not that I am a first time dog owner) But after posting I thought more appropriate to ask here..

new pup sick in the car, hates car rides....Catch 22 on how to socialize.
Sorry for the book.

So the new guy is 3mo. I've had him 2 weeks now. He salivates (nausea) barks, whines, paws at the crate trying to get out and poops or pees in the crate when in the car. The drive home from the breeders was so horrific for him that I kept him home for a week to let him settle in. Then I went to the vet for his puppy check up and advice on the car issues. Which is to say that we are way behind on the socialization process since he's so traumatized by the car ride, and I need to drive to see people and other dogs.

I'm doing counter conditioning work with positive reinforcement and the car (feeding all meals in car crate) I've taken him on short 1 min, 3 min and then 5 min trips with my other dog who is not car phobic. I've gotten some Cerinia from my vet and talked with her and my +R trainer on the need to give the meds and take him on frequent short positive trips when he's on the drug. I used it yesterday, some success, short car rides with other dog (only whined a little) then a ride to first puppy socialization class he barked the ride home and tried to paw his way out of the crate. The class wasn't a negative experience, it was also NOT a tail wagging good time either. He was timid and interested in other dogs but didn't play with any of them (other pups were smaller, softer)

I'll continue the short trips on drugs with the other dog and try to build positive association for the car. But do it every other day.

ANY other Ideas???

Anyone else deal with this?

I'm reluctant to use the drug every day. For fear of any harmful side effects. Maybe that's my own paranoia that I need to get over quick. But I also have this supposedly tiny window of opportunity to socialize him. So I need to get him out and see other dogs, animals and people but

Likelyhood of him growing out of it? I recall something online about inner ear development of puppies that causes motion sickness.... that they grow out of as they develop. Vet never mentioned this, and I forgot to ask.

Currently only other thought is to play more crate games in his house crates and really up the positive association with the crates.

Re; the pottying in the crate in the car, It really is an accident. HIs potty training os going really well, he never soils in a crate in the house. He is used to his crate, has one attached to his ex pen that he sleeps in all the time (I leave door open though) and He's in a crate at my bedside at night. I am tempted to allow him loose in back (have a dog barrier) to see if there is an associate confinement issue that adds to his car ride panic. But then makes clean up far more difficult.
 

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Hindsight is 20/20, but perhaps it might have been better to allow your pup to have his inaugural ride home, up front, gently restrained and reassured by a passenger. Maybe you could even try that now. As the pup matures, slowly transition him to travelling in the crate.

As far as the drugs .. wouldn't be my first choice, and I'm curious to hear what your R+ trainer had to say about that aspect. Vets often seem a little too quick to go the pharmaceutical route, especially in this case with a new, young puppy. Cerenia is only recommended for dogs 4 months and older.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks. hindsight might have been 20/20. But the vet is a behaviorist, so not the typical dose em up type. SHe's also into chinese herbs and holistic treatment. Her opinion was that the nausea and sickness cause the anxiety and panic.... I think of it like people who are allergic to cat and hate cats. They hate cats b/c the cats make them feel miserable. take away the allergy with meds and they like cats...

R+ trainer is in favor of the meds. She used them on her own dog (adult dog) for 2 months for 3 days a week.... using it off and on. Again the meds take the sickness away and they the counter conditioning helps the anxiety away. She also recognizes that Cerenia is for dogs 4mo and older.... so again I'm in a catch 22. The trainer will come over Tues and give help/insight.

re; the car ride home from the breeder... he was freaked at leaving the breeder behind. He was comforted by her presence and freaked by her absence. He wasn't into us at all. Our presence didn't seem to calm him at all. SO in hindsight I'd have had a 50/50 chance of ending up with poop all over whoever was holding him. But I'll give the holding up front in a lap a try now that he knows and likes us and see how it goes.
 

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Do you think this is all about a traumatic incident or do you think you have a sketchy temperament in your pup? Some dogs roll with things and some really struggle.

Does it seem like your pup is tough to deal with in other contexts?

I have a dog with a weak temperament. I have a solid dog. I have a reactive but wonderful dog. The solutions for each are pretty different due to their different wiring.

Sounds like you are doing all of the right things. This pup is lucky to be in your care. If the pup is weak nerved, is there a chance that your breeder might be part of the solution? Will a sensitive dog fit into your lifestyle?

When I recently picked up my pup, I put her in a crate and drove 2 hours. She freaked out for 10 minutes and then just chilled and never had another issue. She didn't seem to care in the least that she had just left everything she knew. She came out of the crate happy and social and confident. I did less "right" than you did but got a totally different result. I think if my pup was reacting like yours, I would have contacted the breeder for a different pup. (Not that YOU should!!! Only you know if the pup will fit into your world. Mine was destined to be a therapy dog and compete, so for me, a bold and take-it-in-stride temperament was of primary importance and the breeder and I both understood that up front.)

You may have your work cut out for you. I feel bad for you and the pup.
 

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Why do you need to drive anywhere to socialise it? Is there nothing within walking distance of your house? Like a club of some sort, supermarket, service station etc, anywhere where strangers come and go?

And if there isn't, are you friendly with neighbours so you can go and visit? A new house with new people is also a different environment for the puppy to experience.

As for desensitising to the car, I think you're doing the right thing. Obi was very car sick as a puppy, and still isn't as good as I would like, but I found that when I give him a nice long massage before we go he feels less sick, because he's less stressed. And other than that we just go even when he doesn't like it. He's restrained on the passenger seat though, not in a crate. I think the puppy will be less stressed if it's close enough to you that it can see you and you can reach out and give it a quick pat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
training junkie, yeesh I sure hope not. He is lovely around people. Confident at the vets. He's nothing compared to my female... so far. He's loads easier in that he has less drive, less ballistic crazy I can't wait-ness in him. He's chill and mellow by comparison. Wonderful with my 5yo daughter.

Lil_fuzzy I live on street with 7 houses, mostly rentals and collage students. No dogs to socialize with. Dog not trained to walk on a leash....working on it multiple times daily but still not there.... there is an ice cream store half a mile away. To get there I have to walk on narrow sidewalk with cars driving past at high speeds. So I need to desensitize to the cars... not expecting that to be huge issue but I would expect the need to work on it some. My uber confident, not afraid of anything, agility queen was spooked by cars as a puppy, and I got her a little later (older) than this guy. Anyway I imagine the walk there to be horrific. Lots of stopping. I'm not sure a meals worth of kibble and treats will get us there and back. But worth a try. I can always go a short distance and turn around and come back home and try to go further each day.

Honestly the only people with dogs to socialize with live 30 min drive away...I do know one mom with an older lab male, but again it's a mile walk with a puppy who doesn't walk on the leash.... SO much to work on in such little time...
 

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Socialising isn't about playing with other dogs. That is the smallest part of socialisation. Socialising means firstly to experience many different environments, new sights, sounds, smells etc. Secondly, the dog should be able to focus on you in all of those environments, even if there are other people and dogs around, and thirdly, the dog should be able to greet unfamiliar people nicely. Being able to play with unfamiliar dogs would be last on the list, and personally I wouldn't bother with it. It's unnatural for a dog to interact with unfamiliar dogs on a regular basis. All it needs is a few doggy friends that it gets to run around and play with once in a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
lil_fuzzy thanks for the lightbulb moment! I couldn't see the forest for the trees! I was so fixated on the car issue and dog on dog socialization that I pretty much shut down the other socialization ideas. I was also trying so hard to get the LLW early (bit of a struggle on the leash) I should have been having people over to the house and hanging out on my street corner saying hi to folks that walked by.... yup socialization is about seeing new things/places/people.... doh!

No I don't know the neighbors, it's not a Norman Rockwell type neighborhood, lol. We've lived her 3 yrs and we are social wallflowers. Everyone else keeps to themselves. Its a small 7 house cul de sac off a busyish road........ 3 of the houses are rentals, some to collage students. But I know one neighbor and can go over there to say hi.

And to be clear I wasn't looking for doggie play sessions. I wanted a casual meet and greet and for the puppy to see that different breeds/sizes/colors/shapes of dogs are equally nice and friendly... or at least not scary. In other words I just wanted him to see non-reactive dogs. And being a total social wallflower I wanted to take him to the places that I frequent and know the people/dogs. which require driving.
 
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