Taking Your Dog on a Car Ride- A Podcast

car rides for dogs

Taking Your Dog on a Car Ride- A Podcast

Or click the link here: Taking Your Dog on a Car Ride

Transcript: Hello, all.  Sammy the Dog Trainer here on this fine fall afternoon.  If you have a minute before we start our doggy discussion, please consider supporting this podcast.  It’s listeners like you who make it possible.

Today we are going to be talking about taking your dog on car rides.  It seems like I get a lot of requests for “how do I make my dog stop doing this thingy or that thingy.”  And I will do a bunch of podcasts on those types of problems.  If you missed it, we just did one on how to get your dog to stop barking incessantly.  So check that one out if you’d like.  As always you can submit podcast questions and topics on my website, through my Facebook page, Camp Sammy Tampa Dog Training, email me at or hit me up on Twitter, that’s @SammyDogTrainer.  No “the” because I don’t know.  Twitter decided I would only be Sammy Dog Trainer.  So there’s that.

So today’s topic is taking your dog on car rides.  Many of our dogs love going for rides.  My dog, Whuffo, you’ve probably heard me talk about him before, well he loves to go on car rides so much that he will jump in anyone’s car….and he has jumped in just about everyone’s car.  That dog has no loyalty.  He will go with anyone.  Just kidding.  He’s a good boy, but if you leave your door open, he will hitch hike.

Save Big on this Cyber Monday Sale

Why do some dogs like car rides so much, Sammy?  Well, there are a few explanations for their joy in the good old field trip.  The first is the inundation of scent.  When a dog sticks his nose out of the window, he is being bombarded with smells and airflow.  I’ve actually seen some theories that posit this can actually give your dog a sort of high euphoric feeling.  Some believe when dogs smell it is like when people read and see a scene unfold in their heads like a series of images.  Riding in the car does this for your dog at full blast.  That and being a skydiver myself, I get it.  I like hanging my head out of the window too.

It’s also a logical assumption dogs like car rides because it is something new and exciting.  They might get to go somewhere cool.  Well adjusted dogs usually love adventures.  And they love going where you go.  Now, if you only ever put your dog in the car to go to the vet, then they might not be so super excited about it.  Or you can have a dog like I do- Whuffo loves going to the vet.  He loves just about everybody and just everything.  So even if he goes to the vet, he’s super stoked.  Gotta love dogs.

Now some dogs hate car rides.  Why?  Usually they had a bad experience at one point.  This is usually an upset tummy and they probably ended up barfing.  Even if they did not get in trouble for causing a mess, they still remember the bad feeling of having the upset tummy.  Dogs are usually embarrassed of making messes if they are housebroken as well.  So to a dog like that, the car equals embarrassment and upset tummies.  When they see the car again, they get nervous again, causing an upset tummy again, and the cycle goes on.

Diamond CBD
(Ad is not an endorsement of CBD products.  Check with your state/federal laws for legality and veterinarian for safety)

OK, Sammy so how do I break the cycle?  The answer, like a lot of things in dog training, is many very small steps at a time.  Practice, just having your dog get in and out of the car and reward them profusely just for that.  Do not go anywhere yet. Just do that a few times.  Then graduate to in the car and shut the door.  Then in the car, shut the door, turn on the car.  You’re Rewarding all the time for each of these steps.  Then maybe back out of the drive and back in again.  Then take a gander around the block.  Very short distances and times.  Because remember all of dog training is a function of time and space.  If you buy my Academic Dog Training 101 lecture from my website or through Udemy (look for Practical, Easy Dog Training for the Real World on their website) then you will become more familiar with these types of key concepts.

Now that’s the behavioral side of it.  There are a few other things you can do to help your dog stay calm.  On the over the counter side, there’s always giving your dog a ginger snap cookie or some kind of doggy ginger chew.  These are available for dogs (don’t give them sugar free people stuff).  The ginger helps settle their stomachs.  There are also a variety of homeopathic calming chews available out there.  I would take a peek on Amazon to get an idea of what’s available or your local pet store.  I’m a big proponent of buying local!  There are also herbal calming collars available.  Many of them have natural scents like lavender to help ease your dog’s anxiety.  One thing I have had some success with and that did well in clinical trials is dog appeasing pheromones.  This is a synthetic pheromone that you can get in a room spray, diffuser, or collar, that your dog can smell but you can’t.  For the car, I find the spray to be the most effective.  The pheromone helps to ease them.  Now of course there are bigger hitting options available through your vet if you are doing the small behavioral steps and the over the counter methods and it’s still not working.  But I would encourage you to try those steps first before resorting to prescription medicine, unless your situation calls for it or your dog is going to bust through your windshield.  Nobody wants your dog going through your windshield.

Now Sammy, why does my dog slobber so much in the car?  It’s gross.  Well, slobbering is a reaction to increase stimulus.  It basically means your dog is over excited.  Or they have rabies.  Just kidding.  Vaccinate your dogs for rabies.  Rabies is actually gross.  Slobber is just kind of par for the course if you have a dog.  Try putting a bandana on them.  Not only is it super cute but it doubles as a spit wiping rag.  Yay!  Now, take note of when your dog slobbers excessively because that will tell you vital information about their excitement levels.  Or it might just tell you have a slurpy derpy dog.  One of the two.

Ok Sammy.  What is the safest way for my dog to ride in the car?  Well, technically the safest way for your dog to ride in the car is in a crate in the back.  However, this is not super fun for anyone.  I have a metal barrier put up separating the back portion of my Jeep from the front, so that the Whuffers has a nice, foamy padded area to hang out in, but I don’t have to wrestle an 85 lb dog in my lap while driving down the highway.  It works out well.  I can roll the windows down a bit and he can stick his head out and everyone is happy.  Just a precaution, I do not roll the windows down so much that he can wedge his body out, because he will tumble out of the car.  It is an old wives’ tale that dogs will simply just stay put in the car.  Some dogs do.  Not all dogs do.  It’s not a good idea to figure out where your dog falls in that spectrum at 70 miles an hour.  I also put the child safety locks on because my dog is too smart for his own good and will let himself out of the car if he feels like it and the child locks are not engaged.  Yay dogs!  Always inventing fun problem sets for us.  So that’s how I travel with dogs.  There are all kinds of harnesses that clip into safety belts and whatnot.  I find dogs get tangled in them more often than not and it is a distraction for the driver.  That and not many of them have been impact tested, so you’re using a product that supposedly is going to provide your dog safety basically blind.  I like the metal barrier solution and they have their own area, personally.  I even have a foam mattress topper back there and when my dog and I go camping, we both sleep back there.  Whuffo thinks it’s the coolest thing ever.  I do have to remember the child safety locks then, because otherwise we lock ourselves in the Jeep…yeah….anyways.

Now, I encourage you guys to get out, especially now in this nice cooler weather, and take your four-legged children for some joy rides.  As always do not leave your dog unattended in a hot car.  Switch the AC on and check on them every now and then.  Use your judgement.  Hydrate your dog.  Make sure you have enough gas to keep the AC running and do not leave them for a long period of time.  As a professional I would say never leave your dog in your car.  As real person, I would say use judgement.  Don’t be stupid and don’t abuse your animals.  It’s pretty easy to figure out what is too long to leave your dog in your car with it running.  Also that extra set of keys comes in handy when you lock your car while it’s still running.  How do I know this? Hmmm yeah.
1-800-PetMeds Free Shipping $49
SO anyways get out there and enjoy the road with your poochy partner and thanks for listening to Sammy the Dog Trainer’s podcast.  It’s because of listeners like you we can have these podcast sessions.  If you’re feeling generous please click on the support this podcast button on or check us out on Patreon.

Get out there and have some fun!  Cheers!
-Sammy the Dog Trainer


Popular Posts