Riding in the car.....causes headaches - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Riding in the car.....causes headaches

A quick history on Sheba; she is 7 months old, I have only had her in my home for 2 1/2 months. She was a gift for my dad this last Christmas and after he passed I chose to keep her. She left me at 6 weeks, I saw her again at 4 months and the week I spent in his house was unbareable! Sheba was an out of control puppy that was an excited pee'er, had seperation anxiety, and would jump and climb all over guests to get attention. To top it off she spent 7 days in a kennel after my dad passed until I could bring her home with me. This was the first ever GSD that my dad had allowed to run rampant (I think it was due to an empty nest).
Needless to say I have started to retrain her, she no longer jumps on guests ans quietly waits at the top of the steps until they have entered and acknowleged her. She does not urinate when touched unless at the clinic, and only two people trigger it when they pet her.
My biggest problem is traveling, I have a Bronoc so Sheba is put into the back, but 10 seconds later she climbs into the back seat, which I wouldn't mind if she would stay there, she positions her front feet onto the center console and whines! The whole trip! The worst part is when we get to the sitters house (she has dogs) the dog park, or to the clinic and she goes bannans barking, howling, and suddenly forgets the sit, wait and tries to climb over me to get out. I thought I had a solution to the problem when I asked a neighbor to install a hook in the floor to attach her leash, which would keep her in the back, it works for keeping her there but now I have this howling animal, which only escalates the second I turn onto the street my sitter and her outside dogs live on. How can I teach her that car rides are meant to be semi quiet and that the commands in the house are the same even when we are excited in the car?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 09:29 PM
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She needs to learn the words "no" and "easy".
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 09:31 PM
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Sorry, forgot to mention that since she seems extra stressed in the car, you probably ought to start the no and easy training outside of the car, in other situations first, then extend it to the car after she gets it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 10:42 PM
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This is kind of dangerous. My dogs loose in the car also like to ride with their feet on the console. But I shudder to think what would happen if I ever had to slam on the brakes.

That's why my dogs ride in crates in the car. This ensures they stay safely out of my way when I am driving, and also to an extent provides an extra layer of protection should there be an accident.

In addition, my dogs understand crates and that we are quiet in them. You could also use a doggy seatbelt to keep her secure, but my dogs were always restless in them. When they are young I will take them everywhere in the car...but they don't necessarily need to get out. Maybe I'm running to the Post Office to drop off a letter? I'll load a dog in the car, drop off the letter, and then go home. Dog never gets out of the car but has the experience of the ride. I'll do this just about any time I can when I make quick runs out...Maybe to pick up a pizza, maybe to run through a drive thru, drop off dry cleaning...etc. This way car rides don't have to be such a crazy source of excitement...because the dog isn't really going anywhere.

Consider all the times your dog is in the car...She knows she's going somewhere and she's SO Excited. Dogs seem to have an excellent sense of direction, mine always knew when we were getting close to training...maybe if she learned that car rides don't actually mean anything she'd learn to relax a little?

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 11:34 PM
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Also if you take the same route each time you go to those places, maybe consider an alternate route so she doesnt get the chance to recognize it and work herself up.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-12-2010, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I can't really change routes to and from work since I am forced to take the interstate and work is litterally off the exit and turn into the parking lot, same with daycare.

I am working on "calm" or quiet rather with her but it seems she just gets herself so overworked knowing we are going someplace fun.

I do take her for short rides where she doesn't get out, and it seems to be hit and miss, some days he sits in the truck quietly and "waits" like she is told, other days she goes ape crazy because I have just left her.

I took her to work with me and tried letting her sit in the back seat on the floor, every time she was quietly riding I had the kids slip her a treat and say "good quiet". Worked great until we got to the sitter's house. As soon as her dogs started barking in the yard Sheba went crazy! I am wondering if I could apply the same tactics as if we were on a walk and she did this; turn around, leave the situation and try again and again until she figures out she needs to be relaxed? Time consuming, but if it would work I am willing to try.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 02:57 PM
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I think your starting expectations are too high. You need to look at the dog you have right now and then train to get the dog that you want. You need to start at the beginning. In the meantime, I would have her spend all car rides in a crate, covered if necessary. Maybe give her a kong or a toy or something. Separately, I would practice putting her in the backseat, having her lie down (or however you want her to ride) and then practice making her wait for a cue to get out. Once that's in place, move to taking a short drive, like backing down the driveway and back, then around the block, etc.

I have a Chevy Cavalier coupe. It is not the most dog friendly car, but we have a routine and it works. Hannah LOVES riding in the car. She sits on one side and looks out the window. This is NOT how she started off when I first got her. When I take her on errands, I can get out, get her leash and my purse, put her leash on and then say, "Ok." Then and only then can she get out of the car. This is a safey issue too. You don't want to be worried about your dog dashing out into a busy parking lot or whatever.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 03:21 PM
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I would wonder if your pup has a bit of a confidence problem due to the death of your dad. If she lived with him for a few months, bonded with him and then sensed the emotions everyone felt with his death, I would imagine as a young sensitive pup, that could cause some serious confidence issues.

I'd start at home and build her confidence with things she knows and is solid in. Then in the car reinforce those things. Like if she knows sit and down. Have one of your kids make her sit and down during a short trip, using something she treasures the most as a reward. Make sure when you arrive (like at the sitters) they are still asking her to sit / down and reward.

Try to set her up to succeed by using a command & treat she can't ignore.

My sympathies regarding the death of your father.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2010, 11:00 PM
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I agree to never leave you dogs loose in the car. That's a general safety issue (bet you wouldn't let children unseatbelted in your car) for the dog as well as for you.

Crates may help calm the dog. Or at the least I'd have the dog harnessed (NOT WITH A LEASH/COLLAR around their neck!!!) with a dog seatbelt system.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
I would wonder if your pup has a bit of a confidence problem due to the death of your dad. If she lived with him for a few months, bonded with him and then sensed the emotions everyone felt with his death, I would imagine as a young sensitive pup, that could cause some serious confidence issues.
I think she could have some issues due to loosing him. She displayed so much confusion after his death, she even showed aggression when she was taken to the boarding clinic. So naturally I think it messed her up some.

Here is the car scenereo in a little better detail:

I send the kids out first, then make Sheba sit and wait at the door while she is leashed, I then open the door and make her continue to wait then give her the command to exit. At the truck she again sits and waits while I open the tailgate, and release her to get in (release is let's go). All the while she is calm and quiet.

Once in the truck I tie her down (via her harness and the hook in the floor) As soon as the vehicle moves she starts whining, pacing, and occassionaly a barking cry which is ear peircing. I ignore what I can to keep from rewarding it. If at any point she is quiet the kids hand her a treat and say "good quiet".

The ride isn't all bad until we hit the sitters house, she has two outdoor dogs who naturally bark when we pull in, that is what sets SHeba over the deep end. She goes absolutely insane! I can't get her attention long enough to even get her to lay down. Same happens at work if clients are out with their dogs.

when exiting the truck she again knows to sit and wait until I release her to get out, but this time it takes longer because she is trying to focus on me, but gets distracted by the excitement. She would never bolt from the truck, it's like her butt is glued but if I don't release her as quickly as she would like she barks at me and shifts her front end, i think it takes a good 10 minutes for her to get the hint to calm down.

I have tried the crate, and it made it so much worse. I have bad memories of when I drove her from Fl to Tn. 2 hours into the drive I was forced to heavily sedate her with ace just to get some peace.

I think it's just going to be one of those things I will have to continually work on. Sadly it's a lack of time that makes it so hard. I have to admit that short rides aren't as annoying as they used to be, baby steps I guess.
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