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Old 01-01-2013, 06:34 PM
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Default Car Ride Help

Unity my Chihuahua always rode up front with us from day 1 on our laps when we go for car rides. (I know not safe) but we were driving on the highway and my SUV hood flew up onto the window and cracked it (no glass broke or anything it was just a loud bang)

Unity was up front when this happened and it scared the crap out of her so now she will not come for car rides anymore and when we have to take her she shakes/pants like crazy the whole way.

Does anyone know of a way we can get her over this? It's so sad seeing her like that you can tell she is really stressing in the car.

Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:06 PM
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I start by bringing her near the car, click and treat. When she's ok with approaching the car, switch to opening the car door, click and treat. Keep repeating. Hopefully she'll not only be calm, but start to get excited about it. You'll probably need a high value reward, and make sure nothing happens at the same time to frighten her. Then start putting her in the car, click treat, take her down. Over and over. Until she's not scared.

Then bring her in, let her hang out for a few minutes...click and treat as long as she's calm. Shut the door, click and treat. If at any time she seems stressed, stop and go back. When she seems really comfortable just hanging out in the car, turn it on. Same thing, click treat click treat. Take it slow...it will take a few weeks at least. Go for a very short drive, even just down the driveway, click treat, bring her inside. You might want to do this just once or twice a day, very short sessions.

If you do NEED to take her somewhere in the meantime, I would suggest trying rescue remedy, and if she's more comfortable, crating her. Any stressful ride will be a step backwards in training.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:16 PM
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Change up the picture for her.

I'm so sorry that happened to you, but it could have been worse. You mention you drive an SUV, and Unity is a chihuahua. Get a small crate and sit it on the floor in the back of the SUV where she can't see out the window. This may help her immediately because she's no longer in the same position she was when the scary thing happened. I would suggest doing all of the desensitizing things MilosMommy suggested as well.

This is an excellent time to transition Unity to riding in a crate, you said it yourself, you know riding loose isn't safe.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:53 AM
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Poor Unity. It is not uncommon for owners to carry Chihuahuas and other small breeds instead of using crates for car rides but this is one of the dangerous drawbacks of this practice.

Reintroduce Unity to being in the car and to car rides gradually. Use treats to entice the dog to get inside the parked car. You can play with the dog inside the car too until the situation becomes less stressful for the dog.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:36 PM
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Jackson was in a bad car accident with me where he was in the back. My SUV was totaled. If he had been on my lap, he would probably be dead. He was shaken up by it, for sure. It happened two years ago now, and occasionally he still gets the heavy panting and nervousness when first getting in a car, but honestly, he just kind of got over it. But he's in the car with me ALMOST every day, and we do a lot of traveling back and forth, so I had no choice but to get him in the car. He won't take food in a nervous state, so it was never worth trying to treat, etc. I have never lifted him up into a car though, he's always been the type to jump in by himself, so I just always encouraged that and also the Snoozer car seat made him really a lot more comfortable. He enjoys sitting/laying in that.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:55 PM
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If she's too nervous to take a treat she normally likes (or show interest in a toy), she's too nervous and you need to take a step back. This might mean starting ten feet from the car, five feet from the car, or even more for a dog who is truly terrified.
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