Some dogs are better at traveling in the car than others. A dog that is happy to take a ride makes for a more pleasant experience for everyone involved. A dog that is skittish in the car, or becomes car sick, is a distraction to the driver and makes simple trips to the vet or groomer a strategically routed plan. To put it simply – it is a hassle and it is a stressful event for everyone involved.
How you introduce your puppy to car rides will affect their attitude about them forever. A puppy that is bounced around on a sharp turn or a sudden stop becomes frightened. Falling off a seat may injure your puppy making them reluctant to want to go again.
For your puppy’s safety and mental well-being, crate training is the best option. After your initial ride home, familiarize your puppy with their crate inside your home. When it comes time for a trip, talk to your puppy about it. Tell your puppy excitedly that you are “going for a ride” or “going to the park”. Build it up and sell it.
Next, load your puppy’s crate and your puppy into the vehicle. Start with short rides and gradually add distance. Do not feed or treat your puppy two to three hours before a ride to prevent carsickness. Getting carsick will make any puppy dread going for a car ride. Also give a potty break prior to leaving to assure your puppy is traveling comfortably.
Upon reaching your destination be sure to praise and play after getting your puppy out of the vehicle. You want your puppy to associate “going” with “fun, fun, fun”. Visit new, exciting, safe places and before you know it your puppy will be racing you to the door ready for their next ride.