Among the dogs there are real car junkies, but also some who prefer to give the car a wide berth. The latter can have many reasons. Bad experiences with the car can happen quickly if the dog is frightened or gets his tail caught, for example. Often car rides are negative for the dog, because the first (usually too long) car ride is accompanied by the separation from the siblings and the mother in a completely new environment. But if you take enough time and approach it slowly, your pet will gradually become more relaxed about the situation.
Always remember that less is more when preparing for the trip. we humans tend to want too much too fast. Introduce the dog slowly to the car and encourage each step positively. Depending on how your dog feels, just walking past your car or stopping in front of it may be enough in the beginning. Start the engine when your dog is sitting a little away, so that he can get used to the noise. gradually you can let your dog jump into the trunk or into the back seat.
All of these steps are reinforced with lots of praise and treats. Close the door for a short time and move a few steps away from the cat. Come right back. If your dog shows a relaxed and stress-free behavior during these exercises, you can start the engine to get your four-legged friend used to the vibrations. Drive gradually short distances, preferably always to nice corners, so that the dog combines the trip, for example, with swimming or other activities. The dog learns: "car = great"!"you can also let a dog buddy ride with you or put someone on the back seat, so that your dog is not alone. This training should take place over several weeks and be built up in small steps. A new exercise every few days is enough for man’s best friend.
How you transport your dog is up to you. You can take him in a transport box in the trunk, put a safety belt on him, or transport him in the trunk. The transport box offers the most protection. our expert video of the dog trainers of "freude am hund" in munich shows you the different transport possibilities in the car. If you wish to harness your dog, always use a well-padded harness. Remember that you would not strap your children by the neck either. The trunk should be secured with a partition that gives the dog support even in the event of an emergency stop. inform yourself beforehand about the different safety regulations in the countries. In italy, for example, dogs are only allowed to travel in the back seat if they do not pose a danger to the driver (impaired vision or hearing), i.e. if they could disturb the driver.
If your dog vomits regularly, you should consult a veterinarian. because then it is important on the one hand to exclude a disease, on the other hand your dog can also get travel sick – and there are good medications against this. Ensure, for example, with a sun screen that he can not look out of the car.
Expert advice from rita kampmann
There is one thing we would especially like to recommend: try to see the world from your dog’s perspective. our four-legged friends experience the world differently from us. Therefore, we should always try to put ourselves in the dog’s shoes without anthropomorphizing it.
Just before the trip
Before the trip, give your dog a good workout. Take your dog for a long walk, jog, or engage in his favorite activity. It is generally not advisable to play with balls, as this stirs up the dog internally and the four-legged friend has to sit in the car for the next few hours pumped up with adrenaline. Do not forget to challenge your dog mentally as well. Shortly before departure, go through the checklist of our dog experts from "freude am hund" again, so that you do not forget anything. Do not feed your dog excessively shortly before or during the journey.
do not listen to the radio loudly, but if you do, then listen to quiet and calm music. If possible, do not argue during the ride, because your mood will be transmitted to the animal. Drive carefully and with foresight to avoid jerky braking or acceleration. If the dog howls, whines or barks, do not yell at him. As soon as your dog is lying calmly in his place and looks relaxed, you can encourage him and talk to him. But also here applies: less is more. Also, water should be available to your dog at all times.
The most important thing is to remain calm – even and especially in tense situations. Our mood is transmitted to the dog. Most of the time we do not realize the many signals that we send to our dog. This is why a calm aura and deep breathing can work wonders. The more excited the dog, the calmer you need to be. Here also a stretched and quiet voice has a calming effect.
If you have a long drive ahead of you, try to divide it into several stages. Plan breaks for short walks so that your dog can relax and move around. How many breaks a dog needs varies from animal to animal.
dog discomfort or anxiety
If you notice strong stress symptoms (heavy panting, sweaty paws, restlessness, urinating/ defecating, trembling, salivating, exaggerated vocalizations or similar) in your dog, take a break immediately. Wait until he has calmed down, and then continue the journey. Think first of all of the mood transfer! In addition, Bach flower preparations, globules (cocculus), calming vest, calming collar or something to chew can help.
If you are traveling by ferry
Find out how and where the dog is allowed to move around or do its business. In some companies the dog is not allowed on deck, but has to stay in the parking area. Often the dogs are only allowed to travel in dog crates. This means that for a few hours they are housed right next to strange animals. in addition, there is the noise and the strong smell when they are not allowed on deck. On some ferries the boxes are also left on deck in the blazing sun.
Dogs can get seasick just like us. You can get medication against seasickness from your veterinarian before the trip. Fear of heights can also be a problem on large ships. Watch your dog throughout to see if he is comfortable in the situation.
In case of a mishap, always have your emergency cleaning kit (household roll, plastic bag and room spray) and a disarming smile for the other passengers.
Get your dog used to large crowds and loud noises beforehand to avoid exposing him to unnecessary stress during the trip. For tips on getting used to large crowds, see "by train". Think carefully in advance whether you want to put your dog through a ferry journey or whether you would prefer to leave him at home with friends or in a boarding kennel.
Your dog will be full of energy after a long voyage and will be looking for ways to discharge it. In addition, the stress of the journey is let out through various valves. This can be manifested by wild jumping around, tugging at the leash, strong barking or biting the leash. It’s the same with us humans: after a long day at work, a round of sports in the evening clears the head again. Allow your dog to open his valves and go for a long walk. Be careful not to add too many new impressions and to keep your body busy while your mind relaxes. as soon as you arrive at your accommodation, give the dog the opportunity to rest and sleep. All the new experiences must now be processed first of all.
Expert opinion by rita kampmann
The dog should be accustomed to driving a car before a long trip. Be sure to take regular breaks and avoid smoking, loud music and stress while driving. Secure your pet well and give him enough space to stand up, turn around and lie down. driving a car can cause nausea, just as it does for us humans: if this is the case for your dog, hopefully aids (see article) will help you. Sometimes a gentle, harmonious driving style can also help.
I wish you and your four-legged friends a nice and relaxing vacation and… come back safe and sound!