Many puppies are afraid of the car because they associate riding in the car with scary things. After all, it was the car that took him away from his mom and littermates and itis the car that takes him to the veterinarian’s office where bad things happen.
Of course you don’t want your puppy to dwell on these situations; you want your puppy to understand that riding in the car can be a good thing.
Begin by lifting your puppy into the car and handing him a yummy treat. As soon as he has eaten the treat, lift him down and walk away. Repeat this exercise periodically over several days. Then lift him into the car, give him a treat, let him eat it, and let him explore the car a little.
After he has sniffed a little, give him another treat, let him eat it, and then lift him out of the car. Continue this type of training for a week or more, depending upon how nervous your puppy is about the car.
When you sense that your puppy is feeling better about the car, put your puppy’s crate in the car and strap it down so that it won’t bounce around. Put your puppy in his crate, give him a treat, and close the crate door and the car door. Start the engine, back the car out of the driveway and then drive back up to the house. Give your puppy a treat and let him out of the crate. The next time, drive down the street and back, then around the block.
Increase the time and distance of the drives very gradually.
Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book. This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.