How To Train Your Dog To Be A Good Boy On Car Rides (4 Simple Tips)


Jade Poole from I Write Words

How To Train Your Dog

We all dream of car rides with our precious pooch. Wind in their fur and tongues out as they lap up the joy of car rides. But sometimes this looks more like vomiting, sad faces and shaking bodies. Here’s what you can do to grow your dog into an excellent travelling companion.

Why your dog hates driving in the car

Some dogs naturally love and look forward to car rides, others, not so much.

The reason why a number of dogs do not like going in the car is that they associate these rides with trips to the vet.

What a number of us also make the mistake of doing is over-comforting our dogs in the car. When we try to soothe them with sympathetic sounds, this can often sound similar to their own whimpering and whining, which only further reinforces that this is a scary place for them.

How to get your dog to relax in the car

The trick is to associate car rides with happiness, good times and fun instead of scary trips to the vet.

This process is known as desensitisation and it takes time and patience. The great thing is that this method will work for dogs who are scared, hyper or sick in the car and helps to ease their fears. Once your dog starts to realise that car rides can be fun and exciting, this will allow him to look forward to going in the car. 

1. Use food

If your dog is very scared to go in the car, then it’s a good idea to place his food bowl near your car and allow him to eat his food there. Do this for a few days to get him used to the car. When your dog is eating, leave the car door open and move the food bowl into the back seat of your car (only if you are comfortable with this).

Between feeding times, place some non-messy dog treats into the back seat for your dog to nibble on in the car.

This will allow your dog to start to associate food (and happiness) with the car. And the more time your dog spends in the car, the more comfortable he will become. 

You can further encourage your dog’s comfort with the car by playing games around the car. Throw a ball in the car and ask your dog to fetch it.

Make sure your car is parked securely and that this is in the safety of your own driveway. Not on a busy road or in the street.

2. Quietly sit in your car

When your dog is eating in the back seat or nibbling on a treat, while the car is still parked, quietly (without making a big fuss) get into the driver’s seat and just sit there in silence. When your dog is nearly finished eating, then you can also get out of the car.

You need to only do this for one day and ensure you do not make a big deal of it.

The following day, whilst your dog is munching and nibbling down, then get into the driver’s seat and start the engine for a minute or so. After this, turn the car off again. Ensuring the car does not move yet.

You can do this 3 or 4 times in one day for a few days in a row until your dog does not make a fuss over it.

3. Start with short trips (VERY short trips)

After you have sat in your car and started the engine while your dog is snacking (it’s a good idea not to do this during mealtime as your dog might still get sick), close the doors and start the engine.

Without making an issue out of it or reassuring your dog in a whining voice, slowly reverse your car to the end of your driveway and back. You can do this a few times. Just make sure you let your dog out of the car when you drive your car back to its original parked position.

If your dog starts to show stress or whines, then you might be driving too fast. This process will take a while, but it is known to show great results.

You can continue to increase this drive-time by a few minutes each time. Try to drive around the block and then back home. Then take a trip to a fun place like the park and then go back home. If you go somewhere your dog enjoys, then he will begin to look forward to the next trip.

Read: Socialising Your Puppy: 7 Simple Steps To Doing It The Pawfect Way.

4. Start crate training your dog

This is a great idea to help in confining your dog in a moving car. If your dog is loose in the car then this can be dangerous for you and your pet.

Have a look at some seat belts, car barriers or kennel options available at your local pet store.

It’s a good idea to always keep your dog in the back seat to ensure they do not get under your feet or hit their head against the dashboard if you suddenly hit the brakes.

Crates work well for small dogs. If you have a bigger dog then you might want to consider getting a barrier installed in your boot to keep your dog in a confined space.

The trick is to ensure you take your dog to destinations he enjoys, like the park or a hiking area for dogs.

Yours in cuddle-worthy pet insurance,


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