Car ride "anxieties"
Most of you "regulars" won't remember me as I have only posted a couple times since becoming a member here. Other priorities keep me from frequenting the forums I belong to.
Shena, our four year old Sable GSD, loves getting in the car and going for a ride. Most times she does go, it is a 45 mile trip to my daughters where we got her from. I have taken her on shorter rides around town here as well but, I don't like leaving her alone for a few hours while I am out entertaining myself. She don't seem to mind but, does act like she would love to go in with me. If I come out and open the door to check on her, she will jump out, walk around in a circle and hop right back in the car.
Here is my issue, .... when we plan on going somewhere, it is usually after I get off work. My wife works second shift as well but has been working 4 tens so she is off Fridays. While I am working, my wife does the packing for our weekend trek. As soon as Shena realizes the wife is packing, she starts this whining and pacing thing and won't leave the wife alone. When I get home, she about knocks me over trying to get to the car! This is all good as I love taking her along and including her in our family activities. (We have our camper parked at my daughters farm so, most weekends are spent camping.) Now!, .... once she is in the car, I can leave the doors wide open while we put things in the trunk, she won't move. BUT, once we get going and are headed down the road, she starts whining again! I open the back window she is by, she is good for a few minutes. Then she will go by the other back window and start whining again. So, I open THAT window (electric windows). Then she is okay for a bit again. after a while with both windows open, she might lay down so I close the windows. This is all good during the summer but, winter time, especially through this "Arctic Vortex" or whatever it is, I can't keep us warm with the back windows wide open! She isn't happy with the window cracked so she gets fresh air, it has to be wide open so she can stick her head out. At times, even with the windows open, she paces back and forth on the back seat whining. We get to where we are going and go to unpack, she will get out of the car long enough to pee and wants right back in.
I tried explaining this the best I can. It boils down to, she can't wait to get in the car to go along but once she is in there, all she does is whine and pace or, sit on the seat behind one of us at the window panting. Well, panting and this cold weather = frosted windows. At these times, the car is not hot ... maybe mid 60's inside. We are wrapped in winter parkas trying to keep warm and Shena needs a window open! Is this a sort of anxiety? Is there a pill we can give her to calm her during the ride? This does get quite annoying after, say, the first ten minutes!
I'm no dog behaviourist but at the very least I can give your post a bump up and maybe one of the pro's can comment.
Our last shepherd acted very similar. I could never break her of this behavior. I think it was sheer excitement. If we pulled into a parking lot it sounded like we were torturing a child in the car.
With the new pup on our first few rides he started this. Mostly just sitting and crying. This seems to have worked with the new pup. When we got in the car if he was sitting quiet, I would treat. We would make it to the end of the driveway quietly, I would treat. The stop sign at the end of the road, during the drive, etc.
I would not treat if he was squeaking or making any noise. As soon as he quieted down for a minute, I would treat. This appears to be working. The past few rides he has been an angel. This pup is quite vocal. He cries when he is trying to get comfortable to nap. He still does that in the car and that's ok as it's "normal".
I think this is a GSD trait. I have seen a lot of references to them doing this. Even K9s.
There are herbals and homeopathic's that can be used for all types of anxieties. All dogs are different so one of these might work or a combination of them. What works for one dog, may not work for another, so it will be like a "trial & error" approach to see which one works for your particular dog. Yes, it’s expensive to try different things, but better than the alternative.
I would definitely consider the homeopathic Fear & Stress and choose one or two of the other modalities too. Homeopathic’s work with the body to balance it.
NOTE: If you choose an herbal DO NOT give two different HERBAL products together.
*Fear & Stress (Homeopathic): "To aid in the desensitization process a remedy called Fear / Stress is wonderful. This homeopathic remedy also contains flower essences which work on the mental aspects of the animal. Dogs who have fears, tend to be nervous, experience panic, or simply become stressed, will benefit as this remedy can be used as often as needed." Shake the bottle well by hitting it in the palm of your hand before each use, then gently lift the dogs lip and squirt it in. Homeopathic’s are “given away from food/water” about 20 minutes on each side. This allows the liquid to seep into the mucosa lining of the mouth, which absorbs straight into the body. You can administer this one as often as you feel is needed (every ½ hour if necessary) without fear of overdosing. The following is the only place that makes THIS particular Fear & Stress formula: (1) after site loads click on products (2) Then click on “Homeopathic & Herbal Remedies (3) Scroll down almost to the bottom to read about it. There is also another formula on that page called “Travel Aid” that may help. NaturalRearing.com :: Loading Website...
Here is another Homeopathic but I have personally never used this one: Pets Nervousness Fear 1 fl oz (liquid) - Newton Homeopathics | CAMFormulas.com
*Some use “Bach Flower Essence – Rescue Remedy” but I find the flower essences’ to be a very short lived fix.
*Tranquil Complex (Herbal): Prof. Complementary Health Formulas -
Brain tissue (lyophilized) 200 mg Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) 200 mg Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) 100 mg Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) 75 mg Niacinamide 50 mg Magnesium (aspartate) 25 mg Niacin (vitamin B3) 25 mg Pyridoxine (HCL) (vitamin B6) 25 mg 5-HTP 20 mg Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 10 mg Kava (Piper methysticum) 10 mg Zinc (amino acid chelate) 5 mg Chromium (GTF-niacin glutathione) 25 mcg
From personal use with my dogs, it makes one drool a little. This one can also make them slightly drossy.
*NutriCalm (Herbal) was developed for dogs: to read about it: http://www.rxvitamins.com/Resources/...20-%202012.pdf
I’ve used this one with our female and it does take the edge off.
NutriCalm for Dogs was designed to help enhance serotonin dependent behavior in dogs. Animals with a range of behavior issues, such as thunder-phobia, hyperactivity, nervousness, fear of travel, fear of vet’s office, psychogenic dermatitis, hair pulling, excessive licking and psychogenic diarrhea will benefit from the use of this formula. This formula has found itself to be very useful as an adjunct to behavior modification therapy.
NutriCalm for Dogs can also be very helpful with short term anxiety situations such as travel by car or plane, trips to the vets, the groomers, and other social situations where the animal’s anxiety can pose a problem.
L-Tryptophan (free form amino acid)
Valerian Root Extract (valeriana officianlis)
Ashwaganda Extract (withania somniferum)
Catnip Extras (nepeta cati)
Kava Kava (piper methisticum) (standardized 29-31% kavalactones)
*Anxiety Wrap: https://anxietywrap.com/about/HowItWorks.aspx
These conditions are the root of many unwanted behaviors in dogs. And because The Anxiety Wrap® pressure wrap can alleviate/lessen the basic, core condition, there are many unwanted behaviors that can end or lessen such as:
Fear of other dogs
Fear of people
Other noise phobias
The Anxiety Wrap® pressure wrap can help:
· any fearful, nervous, hyperactive or anxious dog become calmer.
· dogs who suffer from shyness feel more secure and gain confidence.
· dogs become calmer and focused during training lessons which helps them learn faster.
*Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP): Dog Appeasing Pheromone - Relieves Dog Anxiety For those with dogs suffering from panic attacks or phobia miseries, there is help in the form of the dog appeasing pheromone used in the pheromone therapy. Pheromone therapy has been very effective and successful in treating phobias and stress experienced by dogs. How can pheromone help in appeasing dogs? What are pheromones? Pheromones are natural chemicals within animals and are said to be the chemical that affects animal behavior. For dog appeasing pheromone therapy, pheromones are taken in through the nasal passage of the dog to produce a calming effect on one part of the brain that is connected to the dog’s behavior and emotion.
Hope you find something that helps your baby!
and consider crating her. This may make her feel safer and calmer, if she is crate trained of course.
Since I'm usually by myself, my dog is always crated in the car. I give him things to chew on and make sure that he has had a least SOME exercise before going. It helps him settle better (of course he's 9 mos old at the moment too).
My pup gets whiny when he's excited too. What I'm doing is taking every opportunity to reward him when he's calm. Like not letting him out of his crate until he's quiet, not letting him rush outside until he's calm - that sort of thing. He's starting to get it, but there's been alot of squealing and sighing involved, lol.
I've asked DH to stop the truck whenever he's freaking out with excitement to get somewhere, but unfortunately that isn't always practical so it hasn't worked the way it should.
Thanks for all your great input on this matter. Moms, I am definitely going to look into some of your suggestions! my intention of this post was to maybe, give her something to calm her before the ride.
It sort of comforts me to more understand this is a trait among GSD's to be so vocal ... As for crating her in the car, ... I never considered it. First, it would be a PITA to get one set up in my back seat! Second, she was confined to a crate out at my daughters the first year and a half/ two years of her life! Not my idea of a fruitful life for a family pet so, she has pretty much had run of the house and yard ... and car too, for that matter .... since we brought her into our home.
Probably not applicable as my pooch's overzealous car behavior only seems to develop as soon as she realizes the trip is to the dog park. I don't believe for a second her behavior is due to "fear, stress, travel anxiety etc....just simply she gets all jacked to go to the dog park.
I decided to start taking her most everywhere with me in the truck and mix things up a bit. The first few times she must have figured it was a new route to the DP as she still exhibited her excitement but after a few treks to different places she was a calm traveler. I will say however, once we make a particular turn to the DP, she knows exactly where we are going but remains more calm than her previous gyrations. I also spent session in the vehicle with my pup like a previous poster mentioned and sometimes never left the driveway.
There is no doubt GSDs are smart puppies as they possess a pretty good "GPS" when they sense a past traveled route. Plus the packing routine prior to your departure is the same situation when we depart for a vacation....they sure are quick to understand what those bags and suitcases are all about.
Good luck in your efforts to curb her behavior and when you get it corrected, please let us know what ultimately worked.
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