Loony tune in a car - advice please

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Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by smudge95 on Fri Sep 23 2016, 10:29

Buddy is 17 months old -suffered bad car sickness as a pup but has outgrown it - I have a catch 22 situation I do not take Buddy out in the car often because he is a looney tune on the back seat but I think that is because we don't take him out often so is over excited ..never ending circle

If someone sits next to him he is great sits with his front feet on their lap and is as calm as anything , if its just me and him. even though he has a car harness and is attached to the back seat belt clip and a car hammock ( so he doesn't fall off the seat ) he just does not sit still he is constantly moving up and down the seat or standing on his back legs to look out the back window or side window then falling when I turn corners or apply the brakes - other times he is whining and trying to get over the hammock to me - so distracting when driving.
I have a lot of free time of a weekend on my own and would love to go out and about with him but I just cant get him to behave - when he is tired its worse he wont lay and sleep he is so restless -

My car boot is too small for a crate and I have tried him in the boot without and he was throwing himself at the back seats to get over or at the glass when he saw anything that interested him - was so scared he would hurt himself

Any ideas ? have tried a frozen kong - treats - toys - ignoring him, talking to him , just sitting in the car to get him used to it and he is fine as soon as we move he starts then once moving if we stop in traffic he is excitedly scratching at the door to get out - totally different behavior if someone is with him ..
help if there is any ????
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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by -Ian- on Fri Sep 23 2016, 20:39

Hmmm, really is a dilemma. Sounds like he is just super excited but how to calm him down Carol ? Let me have a think as you've listed most things I would suggest already.


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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by LizP on Sat Sep 24 2016, 07:15

It sounds like anxiety rather than excitement, but either way I think I'd try and break down the whole thing very slowly. Often, the anticipation starts before the event, so in getting into the car, sitting there while you clip him in, you get in, etc., and if you can deal with that the actual event gets easier.

So what I'd do is spend a week or so at least on lots of very short sessions desensitising him to the car. I'm leaving on holiday in 45 minutes so don't have time to type more now but will later. For now, every time you walk past the car, or any other time you fancy, pop him in the car, take him out again and walk off. Get that to be boring.

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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by -Ian- on Sat Sep 24 2016, 20:57

That's a good point Liz, the fact he's calm when sat with someone would indicted anxiety. Will be interested to know how you get on Carol.


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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by LizP on Mon Sep 26 2016, 07:08

... so, after your practice of just getting in and out, build up to closing the door, then to you getting in the car without switching the engine on, and after a session or two sitting there for a few minutes (your neighbours will be certain you've lost the plot by now). The aim is always that he just lies still.

If it helps, give him a treat or two but I'd try and do it without if you can. I know he didn't want treats before but that's not uncommon in stressed animals. It might also help to have something that takes a minute or two to chew as chewing promotes relaxation.

When he can do all that, then switch the engine on and then off again. That might be an indicator to him that he's going somewhere, so don't give him time to react, just on then off until you get no reaction when you can leave it running for a short while.

It might be useful to adjust your rear view mirror so you can see him without turning round.

When all that's fine, absolutely no worry/excitement reaction to all the different stages, then you can start moving the car! To start off with, just back the car out of the drive or whatever, literally just 5 metres or so, enough for him to register movement, then go back, switch the engine off and hop him out. Then build up. You might want to drive him down the road then walk him back, for example.

Keep an eye on him so you know when his 'uh oh' moments are. There will be points that you might see him just think what's coming next. Those are the points you go more slowly through.

As things settle and he learns to travel well, be very mindful of your driving. Take corners and especially roundabouts slowly, brake as gradually as you can. Remember he can't anticipate the movements as we can. And be aware of any return of stress and be prepared to do a little more training if needed.

I learned to do this loading and travelling horses and have taken horses from refusing to load/collapsing in the trailer to travelling happily. I also managed to get Bobbert from tearing the car bedding to pieces to travelling happily. It can go quickly, it can take time, depending on the animal. Whichever, you have to keep working for the time it takes and try and avoid car journeys before he can cope with them.

Fingers crossed!


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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by smudge95 on Mon Sep 26 2016, 08:48

Hi - thanks Liz for all the advice - I am going to give it a go - will start tonight -and see how we get on- now I think about it maybe it is more anxiety than excitement although I think there is an element of excitement too , he knows when he gets in the car that he is going somewhere different , so the desensitizing him to it makes a lot of sense. He is a quick learner so hopefully he will get the idea sooner rather than later but I will not rush him that's for sure -fingers crossed for me..
Will keep you updated ...
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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by LizP on Mon Sep 26 2016, 10:24

It's easy to forget that excitement and anxiety are different sides to the same coin, and that you can bounce between the two more quickly than from calm to one of them. They are both heightened states of awareness with an adrenalin rush, ready for action. I think that's one of the reasons that dogs go from OTT playing to going too far so quickly, because their bodies are already primed for it so the slightest thing can flip the coin. In this case, if Buddy is excited because of the walk, it will mean that he can't cope with the anxiety aspect as well so, as you say, desensitising to the excitement at the same time makes a lot of sense.


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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by smudge95 on Mon Sep 26 2016, 12:55

I am also going to try him in my husbands car too see if his reaction is the same be interested to see if its any car or if it is linked to me and my car ..he has never been in my husbands ...
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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by Mia05 on Wed Sep 28 2016, 15:39

I would do as liz suggested its common for dogs to hate cars


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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by smudge95 on Thu Sep 29 2016, 09:36

well he went in the back for a short ride yesterday I kept his lead on him and wrapped it around the headrest as well as clipping his seat belt restraint on him and he sat perfect - I think he doesn't like the lack of balance when the car moves so I am going to look at different harnesses' and maybe a high sided bed he can sit in so that he is kept more secure - failure on that front maybe have to look at getting a custom crate made for the boot will keep you updated still desensitizing too all advice being followed thanks everyone as usual or your help
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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by LizP on Thu Sep 29 2016, 11:41

Can you adjust the seatbelt restraint to make it shorter, Carol? Very interesting find, and hopefully a breakthrough!


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Re: Loony tune in a car - advice please

Post by smudge95 on Thu Sep 29 2016, 12:04

hi Liz - no its at its shortest and its in the middle seat belt clip so he isn't near the edges when the door opens but I am going to have a look on amazon and see if there are any that come up shorter - was amazed at how he was didn't even move when the door was opened until I had the lead and unclipped him - maybe he thought someone was holding him - don't know he is such a strange little fella !
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