Car rides - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Car rides

Recently, Mgelika has developed a problem in the car that I am unsure of how to correct. I have a tiny Pontiac Sunfire, 4 doors, that we use when my husband is at work. To be honest, it's just big enough for me, my daughter and the two dogs. I have no problem getting the dogs to hop in the back seat, to sit or lay down while in motion, etc. They are very good in the car. It's when we drive up at home that both of them go absolutely spastic. My Rat Terrier mix (female, 3yo, 28 pounds) will start yipping, whining, high pitched barking, jumping up and down, just basically goes nuts. Well a 28 pound dog isn't too hard to just grab and hold while you open your car door. Now Mgelika has started this same behavior. I took them both to PETCO the other day and they were angels....until.... we got home. The second we drove up and the engine was turned off, both dogs went hysterical. I've tried just sitting there until they calm down - before I open a door, but that doesn't help. The second a door is opened, they both lunge from the back seat to the front to get out. As I said before, with a 28 pound dog it's not much of an issue... but with an 80 pound dog, it's a huge issue. KoKo got out by leaping across into my daughter's lap. My daughter grabbed her leash and let her hop out. Mgelika kept trying to do the same thing, but I blocked him with my arm. He finally had enough and jumped across my arm, landed on the upper arm near the elbow and then used it to push off of. I have some serious scrapes and terrible bruising from it. How do I teach him to stop that? It's like the second they see "home" they go completely insane.

Oh and one final thing, I've considered trying to bring a crate, but darned if it won't fit. It's a really small car.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 07:43 AM
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Seatbelt restraint. You put a simple harness on the dog (I use Lupine). Then you get the doggie seatbelt that clips to the ring on the back of the harness and connects to the seatbelt. I'm probably not explaining it well, but Google it and you should find something. Then you can open the door, leash them, then unclip the harness.

But you do need help on the over-excitedness, not sure how to fix that. Hopefully someone wiser will chime in.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Good Karma: Yeah, I had checked into the seat belt restraints just yesterday, but y'er right, I do need to figure out how to calm them the heck down! It's just getting to where I don't want to take them anywhere anymore if they are going to go spastic when we get home. My arm, it hurts.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 08:19 AM
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I"d also use the harnesses to at least restrain and keep them (and you) safe.

One day when you have a TON of time (and I'd probably try one dog at a time with this) I would drive away with the dog. Then when returning, IMMEDIATELY when the dog whines/barks/whatever that isn't silence, I'd slam on my brakes (safely, no one behind) give my 'uh uh' correction with my voice, then turn and drive IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!

Then when the dog quiets, I'd say 'good dog' turn back towards home and then play the 'slam the brakes on and turn' again if the dog cranks up again.

I'd really dog this with one dog at a time. Then when EACH has learned, try them both. That way even if the other dogs starts the ruckus, BOTH dogs will immediately know what the 'slam the brakes/turn around' means. And if they want to get home they will learn what works (silence) and what does not (hysteria).


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 09:39 AM
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Had another thought, do you make them wait at the door to go outside at home? If you can train that at home, maybe you can transfer that behavior to the car. Use a cue like "Wait" or something, and then have a release word that tells them they may exit.

MaggieRoseLee, you always give excellent advice!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 09:48 AM
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i would take them one at time for
a quick car ride. bring them home and teach them
to wait for a command to exit the car. at the same time
you'll teach them not to jump to the front sit.

you could start by teaching them in
your driveway. actually your 1/2 way
there in teaching them car manners because
they ride nicely. imagine if they didn't ride well.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 02:46 PM
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Yikes...I like the idea of teaching them a word and then releasing them from the car. I wonder if you can combine that w/the slamming on the brakes approach. If you have a ton of time try one dog in the car and wait for him to calm down before letting him out. Give him a treat eveytime he sits calmly (even if for a second). Soon he may catch on that if I sit calmly I'll get treats and get to go home ...who wouldn't like that
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