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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if this is in the wrong section...

Starting this past Sunday, Laika is terrified of car rides. There is uncontrollable shaking, quickened breathing and at times panting, tail tucked underneath her, and a sad/scared/crazed? look on her face. She also did her best to hide under the passenger seat. I've tried tethering her in the past but that has always made her panicky.

We haven't been in an accident but I can think of a few possible causes: 1) I veered a bit out of my lane and ran over those "holy cow pay attention get back on the road" bumps for a split second and she didn't love that, 2) she rode with another dog on Sunday which she isn't used to doing, 3) I started the engine with her near the car on Sunday which she also didn't love.

The off the road thing happened about two months ago but she since became a little sensitive to road noises (like running over those car counter wires occasionally, rough spots, etc). She's already pretty wary of loud noises anyway.

But Sunday we were on a 1.5 hour drive and I had to stop halfway and give her some Benadryl because it was pretty bad.

She's fine as soon as she gets out of the car, and she gets into the car with no qualms. She has never really enjoyed eating treats while I'm driving, even a filled Kong.

So, what do you think I should do to reverse this? I obviously don't want her scared of car rides. Desensitize her to the engine starting? Start with short times in the car (get in get out with a lot of treats) and increase gradually? What about the road noises?

The poor dog has never loved car rides but she has usually just fallen asleep during them.
 

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Two of my young adults who always loved being the one to go on car rides, started to do the avoid entering vehicle.. So I just left them home. Couple of months . I offered to take them with but it they avoided the open door, I just left them home. They fine and over it on their own...

J never liked the vehicle. She had a really bad trip being transported from Canada down to NM as her first ever car ride that took 3 weeks.... with her I would do short rides take her from the house down to the end of the drive to pick up a package at the main gate.. or in the truck to the barn to unload feed then back to the house.. She still prefers to lay on the floor board as we travel, but she loves to go places no more drooling all over herself panic stuff like when I got her for the first year or 2.

If they liked the vehicle before, then I would just give them a rest from traveling if you don't need to take them with you...
 

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I don't really have much advice on this, but am commenting for a, "You're not alone effect" and to see what everyone else has to say.
Sans hates car rides, I've never had to drug her, but she slinks all the way up to the car at .00005kms/hr and gets in begrudgingly. She pants 90% of the time and she used to get sick as a puppy but hasn't in like a year. We've RARELY went places she doesn't enjoy. Dog park, day care, and the farm are all weekly things she has to get into the car for. They're never long drives either. 20 minutes max.

To get her into the car more enthusiastically I know I could treat her without going anywhere and I've done that in the past and it's worked. It's made her more enthusiastic to hop in the car and wait for a treat. Potentially you could use this method in kind of a step-by-step process. When she's enthusiastically getting in the car, put the car into drive. Stop. Treat. Repeat.
Move the car back a couple feet. Stop. Treat. Repeat. Work on her being calm and enthusiastic until you can go a block with her relaxed and build it up for longer car rides. In theory this should work, but I've never taken the time to work on it.
Also finding a spot where she can be jostled less and less should help. Crating, and making sure the crate can't move, and has a grippy bottom could help. Or placing her somewhere that she feels more secure. My dog can fit on the floor in front of the passenger seat snuggly and she doesn't jostle around at all down there so she's more comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses! She's too big for a crate to fit in my accord. I'm on mobile but I'll try to remember what you guys suggested.

I've kept her home for a few days at a time, but a lot of our activities happen by car since I live in an apartment (hiking, running, dog/public parks, pet stores, downtown, etc).

She did used to huddle up in the front passenger floorboard but she's become reticent to be up front, which is just as well because I'd rather her be in the back.

I'll try the baby steps thing. She's usually good to get in the car and ride for a few moments in the slow residential areas before she lays down, maybe that's where she's starting to get scared. I'll test some things out when I get a chance and see if that helps.
 

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I'm not sure if this would work but maybe a good place to start. If it is the sounds that she seems scared of, what about walking her on a sidewalk next to a busier road so she gets used to the sounds? If she likes walks it may be enough "good" to get over the "scary" and can start getting her used to the sounds of the car so she won't be as afraid when she's in one?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just wanted to update... Also didn't even see the last post up there ^. We live near a busy road and I've taken her downtown before so she's okay with that.

Honestly i think it's the noises inside the car + the bumps and general movement. But now I have a bag of treats in my car specifically for rides. Our lives are too dependent on being mobile for me to have left her at home for too long. I just ply her with treats as often as she'll take them.

But now she's no longer panting or shaking & will take a treat if the car is stopped. She'll stop chewing on a bully stick or hoof as soon as we start moving. She still gets in voluntarily. And she hasn't tried to climb deep into the floor anymore, not that I'd stop her. So I guess, for the time being, the crisis is being averted.
 

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Is it possible that she has a painful condition and associates the car with exercise . . . which she may love but finds painful?
My dogs have all loved the car cause it means walkies . . . maybe even walkies in a new place.
Or perhaps she gets carsick but for some reason doesn't barf?
 

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You could start all over again as if shes a puppy. Set her in the car, then set her in and turn on the car, Set her in/turn it on and drive down the driveway/street, etc building and building.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She'll be two in December, so not really a puppy anymore. When she was a puppy, though, I made it a point to only drive her places - well, if longer than 15 minutes - after tiring her out so she'd sleep. I think it's conditioned into her to feel drowsy or something now.

Places we go via the car: parks, either to go on a walk, run, or to the dog park; daycare, which she loves; the pet store or other stores; my parents' house; friends' houses, typically only one friend whose dog is essentially her bff. And the vet, but only rarely.

Maybe she does get car sick, idk. But everytime we hit a bump or the texture of the road changes she sits up or shifts or something that tells me that's what bothers her.
 
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