"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Afraid of the car

– Posted in: Columns, Mastiff, Molosser, Newsletters
afraid of the car

When I got my cane corso puppy, he was very timid of everything. He has progressed greatly (not afraid of anything anymore) but, he is afraid of the car, at least getting into the car. What steps can i take to help him understand nothing to fear about vehicles. Once inside a vehicle it takes all of a few minutes for him to calm down but, then he becomes afraid of the car again when having to exit. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dino – Everett, On.

Hi Dino,

I’ve worked with quite a few dogs like this over the years that were afraid of the car, except it’s usually not just getting in or out, it’s the ride too. You’re very lucky that isn’t the case here.

One thing you can try, is to break through with positive associations. Here’s one example.

If your dog is not already enthusiastic about meal times, cut out all treats, start putting food down twice a day and removing after 3 minutes. By the 4th day most dogs will be looking forward to their meals with enthusiasm. (This usually means they’ll salivate a lot more in anticipation which is better for their teeth in the long run.)

Once the above has been accomplished, divide morning and evening meals into 4 smaller servings each and feed far enough from the vehicle that the fear response isn’t triggered. Feed the four smaller meals one after the other and after a few days move the dinner a little closer. Keep doing this until the food is in the vehicle and the dog is eating even if his body is outside the vehicle when he’s eating. Move farther into the vehicle a tiny bit at a time, day after day until he’s eating inside the vehicle twice a day. If the problem is getting in and getting out, make him wait to go in to get 2 of the meals and stay inside the vehicle while you fill his bowl for the next portion just outside of the vehicle for which he’ll have to leave to get the next portion.

Hopefully your dog, will change from being afraid of the car and start to see the car as much as a favoured restaurant rather then something to fear.

John

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