Dogs and Indoor Car Safety
Quick Tip - Dogs and Indoor Car Safety
First off, let me start out by saying this is an article to keep your dog safe inside the car.
It is nearly impossible to expect to teach a dog to respect traffic, safely.
Fences, leashes and invisible fences are available to keep dogs from being run over and killed by our vehicles.
But, you can keep your dog safe if you teach him boundaries within the car!
Does This Shoe Fit?
You open the car door, with your dog inside, and your dog charges the door and runs out?
For so many people, the answer is YES!!! Yesssssss, yesssssss!
The simple answer is because this is not only what you allow.
But it is also what you have taught and encouraged!
Sounds ridiculous, right?
But how often, can you honestly say that you have made your dog wait to jump into the car, and wait to exit the car?
Chances are that you open the door and allow him to throw his furry tail inside and when you arrive at your destination, you grab the end of the leash and allow him to throw his furry self into the new environment.
Even if you just take your dog for a ride, chances are that you let him load up and then just open the door of the car when you get home.
This creates excitement!
It also teaches him that he doesn’t have to control himself when he goes in the car.
He gets to go somewhere AND he gets to exit the boring car as quickly as possible so that he can get “to the action!”
He may even jump on you or seemingly through you just to try and get out of the car!
I have seen dogs jump in the front seat on kids or on their owners just so they could get out of the car faster.
Can you see how this is teaching and conditioning your dog to the opposite and WRONG behavior?
I teach my puppies boundaries in the car!
But, that is what is important, I TRAIN my dogs in the car!
After all, they aren’t born knowing how to act and react in different circumstances; we must teach them!
My dogs are so good, that I can leave the driver side door open when I pump gas.
I am a single female, and I often have to stop in uncomfortable places in the middle of the night to pump gas when I travel. I feel much more comfortable and confident knowing my dogs could help me if I asked them to; so I teach them to stay in the car unless told otherwise.
We work on it A LOT!
Put your dog on a 6 foot leash and head out to the car, bring another leash with you.
The good news is that you don’t even have to drive anywhere for quite a while.
Make your dog wait before jumping into the car.
A good behavior is a sit stay until you tell him to load up; but if he isn’t ready for sit stays then just wait until he has stopped pulling you toward the car and give him the command to get inside.
As you are loading him inside, shut the end of his leash into the door.
This prevents him from being able to exit the vehicle on his own!
Now wait a few moments and open the door across from him.
He will likely struggle and pull to jump out of the opened door.
Ignore his struggles and wait until he stops trying to get out, then click and treat.
Shut the door and try again.
Do this for several minutes until the dog is barely struggling when the door is opened.
When you are ready for him to exit the vehicle reach in and click on the second leash and wait a minute.
Your dog will likely think when he hears the leash click that you have unhooked him and he will again struggle to get out.
Click and reward him for waiting patiently without any struggle, do this several times.
Now unclick the leash that is shut in the door all while still having him on leash.
Be ready to shut the car door if he goes to jump out on his own all while holding the other end of the leash.
Then open the car door and wait.
Once he sits and is waiting patiently you can give him a command to exit the vehicle.
Do this several times per day until you have a handle on how he loads and unloads in your car.
Then, drive him somewhere and you will likely have to start over due to the distraction level and excitement.
Be patient and don’t allow him to enter or exit without command!
Soon, you will have a well-trained dog with impulse control in your car!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.