How do you get a dog used to a car?

Animals have a hard time with travel. Sometimes they get sick, panicked and scared… However, it is not always possible to do without a car. For example, it is difficult to walk outside the city or to the clinic on foot. What can I do? The best option is gradual training. Where do I start?


The first thing that’s important to understand is what causes this reaction in dogs.

There are three main reasons for this:

  • fear;
  • the negative experiences we’ve had;
  • the work of the vestibular apparatus.

Usually there are all factors in a hard hitch. A lover sees that other cars, buildings and trees are glimpsing outside the window, but he himself is immobile. There is a mess: the movement occurs and the paws remain in place. For people, such a state is common. In dogs, it causes a natural panic.

If a pet visits the clinic more often than a training ground or parks, then negative experiences are added to the main reasons. The animal firmly associates the car with something bad. The pet knows that it will be hurt now. How do you like to travel after this?


Not everything is lost! In most cases, you can fix it. For puppy owners, the task is much simpler: kids are more loyal to everything new. But there’s no need to rush things. A puppy will only be ready to learn after initial adaptation, basic instruction and vaccination.

To get used to the car, there is a whole set of gradual exercises. Each step on the average takes a week.

Let’s consider actions:

  • Let the ward “get acquainted” with the car: to look, smell, walk around. By no means pull your pet by force. You can lure an animal to the car with a toy. Leave the doors open so he can get in and out in peace if he wants, but take your time.
  • After a while, you can start practicing inside the car. If your dog doesn’t want to come in himself, lure him in with a treat or toy. Iron, praise and play in the salon. The dog should only associate the car with positive emotions. Leave the doors open: do not turn the salon into a dungeon.
  • Start the engine. Do not close the doors. You’ll need a helper: your pet will probably be scared, you’ll have to calm him down. If your dog wants to get out, don’t let him get in the way but gradually get used to the car. Sooner or later he will get used to the vibrations and noise.
  • Repeat step 2, but with the doors closed. You won’t keep them open during the trip, will you?
  • Try to start the car and drive off at 100-200 meters. Get out of the salon with your pet and play. If the animal is afraid, calm down, but in moderation. Otherwise, your pet will be constantly crying out for pity. You have to show that everything is okay, nothing special happens. The success of an event depends largely on your mood: dogs can feel fear and anxiety from their owners.
  • In the future, simply change the length of the trip. As time goes on, you can stop playing. If your dog still gets motion sickness, try to reduce the amount of time he stays in the car to a minimum and stick to the general recommendations.


How do I make my trips as comfortable as possible?

  • At least the three of you should be on the road. First, it’ll be easier for the animal to carry on traveling in large company. Secondly, it’s safer. A frightened pet can interfere with the driver.
  • The place of the dog is in the back. That’s where he has less access to the windows. The vestibular machine doesn’t have many “attacks”. You can buy a doggie bag or a special plastic container that attaches itself to the seatbelts. Remember, however, that you must also get used to carrying your dog gradually and not leave him in it for long periods. This option is also only suitable for smaller breeds.
  • Leave your favourite toys in the car. You can offer delicacies to the puppy, but this can lead to motion sickness.
  • Do not feed your pet before you travel.
  • Remove any unnecessary irritants. Remove flavourings, turn off the radio. Leave only one window open. Preferably on the passenger side. Any distractions will increase the anxiety of your pet.
  • Keep a careful ride. Speed mode should be gentle, but safe. Do not make abrupt movements. This is especially true for braking.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car alone! In summer it is fatal: even in the shade, the car heats up quickly to 40-50 °C. Open windows will not save you, and the air conditioning can let you down. If it is necessary to go away, someone should stay near your pet.
  • Ideally, your dog should only leave the car on command, otherwise there is a high risk of him getting hit by the wheels.

You can’t train a dog by force. Stop being patient and be friendly. Make sure your dog associates his car and travel with positive emotions.