car calmness

Car Calmness

Ditch the routine when it comes to car journeys! Why?

Dogs are genius at working out predictors! For example; what happens when you grab that leash? The usual response is excitement as your dog anticipates a fun walk! We are keen advocates of ditching the routine generally and one particular place we work on this the most is the vehicle!

Make the car a non-event

Making the car a non-event is super important for calmness in the car! The goal is for your dog to not predict what the car journey could mean. If we don’t ditch the routine, car journeys could be a fun or scary thing to your dog.

For example; If you only ever drive your dog to their favourite walk, this could mean the car is a fun and exciting thing to your dog. Or, if you only ever use the car to drive your dog to the vets this could mean the car is a scary thing to your dog.

Here are some of the things we do to mix up the muffins when it comes to the vehicle. This ensures that our dogs never know why they are in the vehicle or where the journey will take them!….

  1. Let your dog enjoy their dinner, a kong or long lasting chew (supervised) in the vehicle while it’s parked on the driveway
  2. Drive your dog around while you are running errands (while the weather is cool – not advised if it’s a hot day)
  3. Drive down the street, stop, get your dog out and play a quick game, then pop them back in the vehicle and drive home
  4. Drive to a car park, get your dog out train some skills and game and then come home
  5. Drive to the car park, scatter feed in the car park, and then come home
  6. Drive to various hiking destinations and enjoy a nice walk – don’t always go to the same places
And then specifically for making journeys to the vets a non event:
  1. Drive to the vet clinic, park up and then leave
  2. Drive to the vet clinic, get your dog out play some games in the parking lot, then load up and head home
  3. Drive to the vet clinic, take your dog inside, weigh them, play a game/scatter feed, and then leave

Honestly….the list is endless! Making journey’s in your vehicle unpredictable will ensure that your dog views them as non events!

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Featured image by Mel Taylor