Acclimating your dog to riding in the car is a fairly straight-forward process which involves taking the dog into the car and rewarding him to create a positive association.
Begin by opening the car doors and letting your dog to inspect the car while it’s stationary. Once your dog is comfortable jumping up into the car with the doors open, you can start sitting in the car with the doors closed. Throughout the process, it’s essential to offer lots of treats, rewards and praise.
Many owners have found they can speed up the process by feeding the dog in the car (while stationary); this enhances the positive association.
The next step is to start turning on the motor while the car is stationary. Once the dog is comfortable with this, you can take super short drives — to the end of the street and back. Then, gradually increase the length of the rides and continue to offer lots of praise.
Also, it’s important to avoid using the car only to take your dog to the veterinary clinic or groomer. This results in a negative association, as the pet views the car as a vehicle that serves to take him to unpleasant places. So take your pet to enjoyable outings at the park, get an ice cream together (Vanilla! No chocolate, of course!) or visit the beach and enjoy your time together!
Don’t forget the doggy seat belt!