While some dogs seem totally unfazed by everyday life, others can be far more nervous or excitable when it comes to travelling. In these cases, taking your dog away can become an unpleasant and unwelcome experience for both you and your pet. Furthermore, once your dog has established a fear of travelling the problem may become worse over time and simply getting your pet into the car can become a challenge.
Fortunately as intelligent animals there are a number of effective strategies to help you make transporting your dog as enjoyable as possible.
Your Dog Reflects Your Attitude
Most dogs will look to their owners for hints as to the situation at hand and they may reflect your emotions -whether positive or negative. If you display a stressed and fearful persona to your dog, you may find them becoming increasingly agitated as a result. Consequently, choosing to behave in a relaxed and calm way when transporting your dog can also have a positive impact on reducing their stress levels.
Ease In Gently
Suddenly shutting your dog up in the car to drive for several hours can be an uncomfortable experience for your dog if they are unfamiliar with the experience. Consequently if you’re planning to transport your pet over a long distance, a great idea for reducing stress is to start your dog on shorter journeys initially and then gradually build up to longer periods of time over a few weeks. By stopping regularly to offer fresh water, praise and exercise your dog, most will quickly learn to enjoy the travelling experience rather than fearing it.
The jury is still out on the science behind homeopathy but many owners swear by its potent yet all-natural effect. There are a number of homeopathic remedies available from veterinarians and pet shops that reputedly can have a calming effect that can help to reduce the stress felt by your pet. These include Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Echinacea which are all readily available without prescription. Whilst regular use is generally not recommended if they are feel the full benefits of homeopathy, for special situations they may prove a useful tool in keeping your dog calm and relaxed.
Consider Crates for Excitable Dogs
An excitable or fearful dog risks not only its own health but that of other passengers in the vehicle if they refuse to sit still. Some dogs display their fear of travelling by jumping uncontrollably around the car of scratching at car windows, and in a rapidly moving vehicle this can be a recipe for disaster. For dogs that won’t sit quietly it is often worth considering the use of a proper car harness or a dog crate in order to contain your dog’s enthusiasm and keep them well out of harm’s way.
Keep Your Dog under Control When Opening Doors
A dog that is stressed or excitable may be unpredictable when the opportunity to flee their confinement appears. Whether this involves opening a car window, a door or letting them out of the crate it is essential to take care in these situations. Quickly placing your pet on the lead to control any tendency to run is generally recommended. Be extra vigilant when there are moving vehicles around (such as in a car park or on the side of the road) to maintain a safe distance between the cars and your dog.