Helping a Rescue Dog Get Over a Fear of the Car

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 19, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we help a formerly abused 5 year-old Australian Shepherd mix named Rocky who is fearful of humans he doesn’t know and doesn’t like getting into the car or going for rides.

We started off by discussing Rocky’s backstory and new life with his current guardians. Evidently Rocky spent the first 4 years of his life tied up and neglected. As a result he is fearful of humans until he gets to know them and they demonstrate that they are a good person.

To help build up Rocky’s confidence, I showed his guardian how to pet him in a way that will help boost his self esteem and reward him for desired actions and commands. I like to call it Petting with a Purpose.

One of Rocky’s dog behavior problems is barking at the family’s son when he moves around upstairs or comes into the room. I went over a counterconditioning exercise they can use as well as suggested the son start walking and feeding Rocky. When you have trust issues with a dog, building in positive experiences is a great way to help them develop more confidence and help them get over their fear of humans.

One thing I recommended was having Rocky come to our puppy classes so he can hang out with some young dogs and benefit from their playful energy. Sometimes seeing or being around normal dogs can help a dog gain confidence, we call this habituation.

The problem is, Rocky is fearful of the car. Dogs can get scared of a car ride for many reasons; motion sickness (the most common), lack of experience in a car, bad experiences in a car, etc. As a dog behavior expert, one of the Dog Psychology tricks I use to help a dog get over a fear of the car is by helping it practice the car ride in small, easy steps.

You can learn how to help a dog get over a fear of the car in the free dog behavior training video below.

By going slow and helping Rocky get gradually accustomed to walking towards, sitting in a parked car, driving slowly then eventually going for rides, he will be able to feel more comfortable and gain confidence. Adding in a fun experience around puppies at the end of those car rides should be the cherry on top. These are wonderful ways to help a dog stop feeling anxious in the car.

To help the guardian remember all the other dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success vide that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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