Make the dog comfortable
If the dog is fearful or stressed in the car try gradually introducing the idea of the car to the dog. Start by taking the dog for a walk, making sure that it does have a bowel movement. Take the dog to the car and just sit in the car without the car running for a short period of time. Have the windows down a bit, but not enough for the dog to try to squeeze out of.
Give the dog lots of praise and attention in the car, and even give a few very small treats. Remove the dog from the car if there are any signs of stress or anxiety. Gradually increase the amount of time you sit in the car, always making sure that the dog has defecated before starting the process.
When the dog appears comfortable with this try the same procedure but start the car. The next step is to drive around the block, and then gradually increase the time the dog is in the car. Be very positive and praise the dog. Do not yell or punish the dog if there is an accident in the car, as this will only increase the stress and anxiety of being in the vehicle.
Timing is everything:
Avoid feeding the dog for at least two hours before going in the car. Take it on a long walk and make sure the dog has done its business before taking it in the car. Do not feed the dog on the trip, even if it is over the normal feeding time. Don't feed until you plan to stop for at least an hour after eating to allow time to exercise and give the animal time to digest the food.
In addition watch for any signs of need to defecate by the dog. Getting up and sitting down, circling or whining or panting may all be signs that the dog needs to take a quick break and a walk.
Make the car part of the house:
An otherwise housetrained dog may not understand that the car is the same as the house and off limits for toilet activities. Try bringing the dog's bedding or basket with you in the car to help the dog understand that this is not an area to mess in. If your dog is crate trained it is very advisable to take the crate with you in the car. The dog can safely ride in the crate, and can even be belted in with a special strap and seatbelt harness that can be purchased for the crate. http://sitstayfetch.eoltt.com
This not only provides safety but also security for the dog or puppy, as well as preventing the dog from messing in the car. Remember that the dog will still need to stop and go for walks along the way, and avoid waiting too long and forcing the dog to use the crate as a toilet. This will cause stress for the dog and can undo a lot of good training if it becomes a habit.
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Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California
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