Odd problem of refusal to get into car
My two year-old male Shepherd Tanner is wonderful in all ways, gentle, protective, social, and HUGE! I recently purchased a new vehicle (GMC Acadia) after selling my PT Cruiser. Tanner had no problem getting into my PT Cruiser, and loved to go for rides. However, he absolutely refuses to get into my new car. My other Shepherd, Ava, loves the car and has had no problem at all. I have tried food, frisbee in car, dremel tool hooked up and ready to go in car (he loves having his nails done), and myself just lying in the cargo area hoping he will jump up in the car. I also purchased a large ramp, but he refused to use that. I have gotten terribly frustrated by all this, and don't like being angry at my wonderful dog. I cannot even plan to take him to the vet if he will not get into the car!
It is a weird sort of refusal. He does not appear to be scared of the car. He simply refuses to try to get in. After trying and trying to lure him into the car, he just sits down or lies down; just seems to give up, like he doesn't care at all about trying any more. I have muzzled him and put on a harness, trying to lift him into the car, but that did not work. Tanner weighs about 105-110 pounds, and I simply cannot lift him in. He bucks like a stallion and freaks out with the muzzle and me trying to lift him into the car. The only reason I used the muzzle was because when I first tried to lift him into the car, he turned his head and tried to put his mouth on my arm, like he was scared. He has never bitten me or anyone, but I am in unknown territory here with this car business.
I am at a loss at this point. He needs to be able to get in the car, not just for vet visits, but I am taking them on vacation this summer across country, and the dogs will need to get in and out of the car frequently on the drive, of course. I think my next step is to shell out some money for a dog behavioralist/trainer, which I am sure I cannot afford, but I really want to resolve this issue, because I love my dogs and need to be able to get them in the car!!!
If anyone has any ideas, I would welcome any suggestions.