Does your dog get car sick and vomit in the car? Does he pant or salivate? Does she shake or whine? To some of us, just saying “car sick” conjures memories or thoughts of how awful that feeling can be. I always got car sick as a child and still do if I sit in the back seat. Dogs suffer from this as well. This is something you should discuss with your veterinarian and if the motion sickness is severe enough, your vet may prescribe medication to relieve some of the symptoms.
If your dog’s symptoms are not severe or you have a young puppy that you’re trying to acclimate riding in the car, what I call “puppy steps” is definitely worth a try. Behaviors like this take time and patience but you can see positive results if you go slowly and take small steps, (puppy steps) to achieve your goal.
On the first day, leave all the doors of your car open. If you have another person to help, have one person on each side of the rear seat of the vehicle. Let your dog go in on the passenger side, onto the seat, and then out the driver’s side. Make a game out of it. Use a toy or a treat. Good distractions go a long way.
When your dog is comfortable with that, try sitting in the vehicle with your dog for five to ten minutes at a time a few times a day, still keeping the doors open.
When your dog can relax in the seat next to you, try closing the doors on one side. As you progress and see more positive results, the next steps would be to close all the doors and still sit there in the driveway. The next step would be to just start the engine and not move. As with humans, your dog might do better in the front passenger seat instead of the rear, but safety is just as important, and you must make sure your dog is secure in a “car harness.”
If all is well after a few days, try simply leaving the driveway and going around the block.
Don’t go to the next step unless you see good results and your dog is making progress.