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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have 2 great dogs with no issues,1 GSD, 1 older pitbull (had both since Feb '13), modest obedience training (not proofed off leash), except car rides are miserable due to their excited groans/whines/occasional-piercing-bark, etc. 99% of the time, car rides mean we're going to a big park for a long walk, so their excitement is understandable. Car use is mostly limited to dog use and once/week shopping, so no usual opportunity for just riding around without making special trips. Car is station wagon, they're in the far back behind a gate and out of range for anything other than voice correction which is not effective. Problem is worse when I'm talking with a passenger. I can start the ride with both dogs very calm, but shortly after starting out, one will start whining/groaning and that will start the other, then it's a chorus. Occurs even on way home from long exhausting walk, so it's a apparently conditioned response to the car ride. They don't do it any place else, so I see no opportunity to train in another context. It's not practical/safe to pull over and wait for them to be calm again before proceeding.

This issue means I'm leaving the dogs home for non-dog outings. What's the most effective way to resolve it?
 

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I would first try making car rides boring. If you are lucky, it may just take one long boring car ride which you can combine with doing errands. Make sure both dogs potty. Load both dogs up - totally ignore dogs - drive a couple of blocks - say to the post office - stop get out, mail your letter - get back in go to the next place - then after 4 times - stop at a potty place (very dull -not a park) - take dogs out to potty only - then load them back - just a quick sniff and piddle - don't allow them much time - then load them back in - ignore them - go on to your next errands - after a couple of more errands - go home -calmly let the dogs inside and no exciting walk or play time afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would first try making car rides boring. If you are lucky, it may just take one long boring car ride which you can combine with doing errands. Make sure both dogs potty. Load both dogs up - totally ignore dogs - drive a couple of blocks - say to the post office - stop get out, mail your letter - get back in go to the next place - then after 4 times - stop at a potty place (very dull -not a park) - take dogs out to potty only - then load them back - just a quick sniff and piddle - don't allow them much time - then load them back in - ignore them - go on to your next errands - after a couple of more errands - go home -calmly let the dogs inside and no exciting walk or play time afterwards.
Good idea - I tried that early on and it works if I can keep up the non-dog side trips, but just don't need a car for much. I take them by car to a park every day for exercise. Once we get back into that 90% dog-use car rides, the old behavior returns. The GSD is actually making better progress responding to "NO" or "QUIET" than the pitbull, but the pitbull is inconsolable in his ecstasy anticipating the walk to come, and he amps up the almost 2 y/o gsd (also a fan of the walks).
 

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I agree with Mary.
Even if you don't use your car, just take them on rides around the block, which might be also safer, especially in the heat.
I would make it a habit to drive them around in the neighborhood.
Worked with our dogs that were hyper in the car because they knew we went somewhere fun...

The ecollar won't do anything good. I think you might actually be able to train your dogs to be terrified of car rides if you don't use it right.
(I personally am absolutely opposed to these things, but I know some people think they can be used successfully, but to be honest, people that use them successfully, probably were trained on how to use them and so KNOW what they are doing and the effects of it and I doubt we "normalos" are on that same level)

Good luck,
Y
 

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I would just take the gsd on the non park car trips if you can leave the pitbull at home alone. Since their behavior is disturbing your concentration while driving to the park, you may want to try an anti-bark collar or one that sprays citrone at least for the pitbull who is the instigator. If you already using an e-collar you could try that to reinforce the quiet command. But be sure the dog knows the command first. Say quiet - then if the dog continues - press the button. If your e-collar has the pager feature - you can use that first as a warning then back it up with the shock if the dog does not quiet. I had to do it with my aussie and it only took one time but his drive was not as high as your pitbull's and he had a great respect for electricity :)
 

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I suggest that you put a bark on command and then, when it's reliable, teach a quiet command. Then, when they start the whining, give the quiet command and reinforce, if necessary with the Ecollar.

The ecollar won't do anything good. I think you might actually be able to train your dogs to be terrified of car rides if you don't use it right.
Not by itself it won't. But if used as I suggest, I'm pretty sure you can get a handle on this. Just go step−by−step and make sure that the barking is reliable before you move on. My standard for "reliability" is that the dog should bark 50 times on one command.

(I personally am absolutely opposed to these things, but I know some people think they can be used successfully,
It's not a matter of "some people think they can be used successfully." It's a fact. Ecollars are "used successfully" for MANY things.

but to be honest, people that use them successfully, probably were trained on how to use them and so KNOW what they are doing and the effects of it and I doubt we "normalos" are on that same level)
You "normalos" whatever that means, can get a fairly thorough education on how to use the Ecollar at my site. Http://www.loucastle.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to all for the input thus far. Re: Anti-bark or citronella collar - I considered that (have used anti-bark collar on previous dog to good effect), but did not believe a whine or groan/moan would trigger it. I can do more research on that.

Lou, your solution makes sense, but I'd prefer not to promote barking among these two dogs, at least not yet. These are pets who bark appropriately at unannounced guests, but who otherwise do not need to bark.

What worked yesterday: Wife in back seat holding leashes through the gate with dogs wearing small-clawed prong collars. Gentle physical and verbal corrections and they stopped about 20% into the trip, with (wife still in back seat) nothing on the return trip. We'll try this for 10 days or so and see if they get the message.

Thanks again.
 

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Thanks to all for the input thus far. Re: Anti-bark or citronella collar - I considered that (have used anti-bark collar on previous dog to good effect), but did not believe a whine or groan/moan would trigger it. I can do more research on that.
I know that the top three brands of Ecollar, Dogtra, Einstein and Tri-Tronics, are not set off by whining or moaning. If your dog does that I'd suggest an Ecollar instead.

I'm not a fan of citronella collars, especially in situations where there are two dogs. If one dog barks, both dogs will be punished.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wife was unavailable today so I handled the leashes myself from up front. I have to say I'm very impressed with the progress both dogs have made, esp the (hardheaded heavy moaning) pitbull. The pitbull was silent and the gsd had 2-3 minor whines (with light corrections) at the start of the trip out, with no escalation, and no triggering of the pitbull. Silence from both on the way back with no corrections needed.

I ran an errand after the walk and, after getting back into the car, neglected to get the leash ends back up front with me (they'd turned around and dragged the leashes back with them), so I had no correction capacity for 5 miles or so. Again, the gsd had 2-3 very minor whines, the pitbull (who probably thought I still had his leash) was quiet. My voice correction may or may not have influenced the gsd (I suspect not). And this is only the second day. I think they're getting the message and are able to restrain the behavior so confidence is high this will be a non-issue soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Got timed out on my ability to edit my post, so here's the addendum:

Lou, thanks for the reference to the preferred brands of ecollars. Both dogs are very `responsive' to our property's many habituated raccoons (and their young) and our plan is to follow your guidelines using ecollars to quell that response so we can live in harmony. For now they only go out on leash (hence the long park walks) and they do OK, but we'd like to see if we can give them some more room here at home.
 
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