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Reactive Dog -Only In The Car


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#1 KittynDoc

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 08:12 AM

Most of you know (those that are regulars on the forum) that I've been trying to sort out Wyot (the 18 month old) and his "chasing" cars from INSIDE the car...not only does he do this, but he takes a stance of wide eyes, straight out at the front of the truck, looking at the road to wait for any oncoming cars, and then diving at them...this in itself wouldn't be such a problem, but he has started INCESSANT WHINING that almost never stops during the entire time we are in the car. He is always excited to go in the car (so no problems there at all- to him, it means adventure at some point)....he wags his tail as he dives towards the oncoming vehicles. But the whining is intolerable! Not only has that started, but since Kitchee has arrived, it seems he is more on point, feeling like he needs to control and take care of these "things". Now, after getting in the car, he visibly shakes, and the car hasn't even started or moved yet, and he takes "the stance"- wide eyed stare, mouth slightly open and a bit of a runny nose.

I cannot figure out for the life of me, what I can do to help him! I've tried giving him a calming liquid called Rescue Remedy (which is great for pets and people too)...I've also purchased a thunder shirt- which is basically a wrap that hugs them, to make them feel secure during any loud noises (thunder, fireworks, etc), and he likes it- associating it with car/adventure travel- but it absolutely doesn't make any difference. Kitchee just curls up, or stays in place attached to a harness/seat belt and lays calmly, looking up at Wyot, wondering what's up. He goes from side to side, as Wyot's senses seem to go, and he just steps on, squashes and doesn't even acknowledge anything else! He ocassionally wants to try and climb into the front seat into my lap (he is SO big, that won't fly anyway), then he sidles up and sticks his head by my head in the seat, and I pet his head, telling him all is ok, good boy...etc...and go lay down. BUT NO WAY does any of that help! He won't go for goggles, or anything that covers his view of anything. The only thing I haven't tried is blocking out the side windows on either side of the seat. But, he will still see ahead, which doesn't solve the problem.

He's been traveling in the car since day one, so this is totally a new thing, which started before Kitchee came along. Nothing in the way we have done things has changed, there were no scares of any sort that happened, so this is a total mystery. We are ALL miserable on car rides now (except Kitchee can just change position, but I worry about his getting his eye poked, or injured in some other way). My last resort is to just put a divider in the back of my SUV and have them travel that way, though I like them having a bit of freedom in the back seat, and having them travel with us, so to speak- if that makes sense. I just have the instinct that that may make things worse (I could be wrong).

Any and all feedback/advice would be so helpful. I've watched Cesar Milan's training for calming dogs on getting in the car, but that just isn't the problem, and he is fixated on getting IN the car, and won't do anything else until we open the door and let him in. Had a bit of a meltdown the other day, because it reached a point where it was just intolerable!

Other than this behavior, since Kitchee arrived on the scene, he's been a lot calmer in every other instance, which is amazing.......

Edited by KittynDoc, 19 March 2018 - 08:15 AM.


#2 DarmokElizabethontheocean

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:02 AM

Holy crap! I can't even imagine. I hope you can find a solution. Everything you've tried is everything that I was going to recommend. Wow, good luck. I had a standard poodle that did just fine in my Mercury Cougar but when I changed over to a hybrid vehicle he would tremble uncontrollably almost for the entire duration of the ride. It passed after a few months but still have no idea what was causing it.

#3 LakeGirl

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:23 AM

I have no ideas about the behaviors in the car, but on switching vehicles, it may have been the unfamiliar sound frequency given off by the engine. We've recently had to replace a sump pump in the crawl space of our house, and the fan motor in our furnace. Both times Kaposia went for days quivering, shaking, wanting to go outside and STAY outside until she acclimated to the new motor sounds. With the new furnace motor it went on long enough that I called the vet for ideas, but Kaposia adjusted on her own without us needing to take any other measures.
"A life ain't much of a life without a dog in it, s'what I always said."
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#4 KittynDoc

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:29 AM

I have no ideas about the behaviors in the car, but on switching vehicles, it may have been the unfamiliar sound frequency given off by the engine. We've recently had to replace a sump pump in the crawl space of our house, and the fan motor in our furnace. Both times Kaposia went for days quivering, shaking, wanting to go outside and STAY outside until she acclimated to the new motor sounds. With the new furnace motor it went on long enough that I called the vet for ideas, but Kaposia adjusted on her own without us needing to take any other measures.


Wish I could say that this is a different car...but it's been the same Toyota Sequoia truck/SUV that he actually came home in! He has been in no other vehicle, and the noises haven't changed. Good thought though.....

#5 NorCal

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:55 AM

Have you tried crate inside the car? My Terv NEVER relaxed in the car it was too stimulating she drooled panted and her eyes looked like they would pop out of her head -she even ducked when we went under an overpass...so for longer trips we brought her crate either kind with a blanket on top and she would settle just fine... good luck

#6 KittynDoc

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 12:56 PM

Have you tried crate inside the car? My Terv NEVER relaxed in the car it was too stimulating she drooled panted and her eyes looked like they would pop out of her head -she even ducked when we went under an overpass...so for longer trips we brought her crate either kind with a blanket on top and she would settle just fine... good luck


Wow...she sounds like Wyot looks, minus the ducking- he just dives!

I'm thinking we should try the crate in the back....that way he won't see out, and he can be cozy inside his "space", and perhaps a chewy treat or filled Kong would help. Just as we thought we wouldn't need another crate, since he is perfectly comfortable in the house without one. Kitchee is using the crate we originally bought for travel but used only once for hotels, staying at mother in law's etc....Wyot's main crate that he was trained in is the huge wire crate with a movable wall as he grew, but I misjudged his size, and got it way too big, making it impossible to fit in the car, though he loved his "cave" when it was in the house (it was covered with a blanket). Now with two, there is no way that both would fit together anywhere in the house, either.

Thanks for all your thoughts, so far. It helps even, just to share...

#7 sschenck

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 01:26 PM

Sounds like this has become a game that he's become fixated on and the whining an anxiety release from the excitement of it. To break him of it you may need to let someone else do the driving while you work with him, sitting beside him in the back. With a leash on him make him sit and require him focus on you over and over, you could even practice that while the car is just parked. As he gets more and more obedient with that try it with the car moving. Try to keep him from fixating on the approaching cars and correct him as he does. When my dog Kai gets to his unwanted barking a squirt from a water bottle redirects his focus enough to get his attention when I say "enough", you could try that with a stern "no" command as soon as he focuses on an oncoming car. It is going to probably take some time and consistency to break this bad habit but is is breakable.

#8 KittynDoc

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 01:38 PM

Squirt bottle didn't even make a difference, believe it or not, and at home, it does. I sat in the back, and he is SO strong, he mowed me over, and didn't even pay attention to my ministrations, and it was hard for me to reign him in. I will try with a leash and see if that makes a difference. My hubby drives, so this should be easy to try, for sure. When the car is still, he is fine, just a little bit "ready" to be on point for his "job" (whatever he thinks that is, lol! Poor Wyot..... :(

#9 Caffeinatedasian

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 02:04 PM

I was going to suggest a crate also! A couple drops of lavender oil on a collar might help him calm down as well. I've seen it calm dogs in the car.



#10 sschenck

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 07:43 PM

:(

#11 oocahtah

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 09:06 PM

mooka would do the same thing it got to where i did not want to take him any where ,i cracked open the back window so they had air and i notice that he did quiet down a bit and i opened a bit more and as soon as he could put is head out with one paw and the back of the front seat he was in heaven,so now when ever we go any where and before i have put on my seat belt he starts that omg whining and does not care that its -20c out as long as he can put his head out life and the drive are good



#12 KittynDoc

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 03:32 AM

mooka would do the same thing it got to where i did not want to take him any where ,i cracked open the back window so they had air and i notice that he did quiet down a bit and i opened a bit more and as soon as he could put is head out with one paw and the back of the front seat he was in heaven,so now when ever we go any where and before i have put on my seat belt he starts that omg whining and does not care that its -20c out as long as he can put his head out life and the drive are good


The window thing works for a bit...until it looked like he would do anything to jump out....and then he goes from one side of the car to the other. Can't have both windows open, as we'd likely freeze, lol! I'm going to keep trying...thinking that something escapes me to make him a little less reactive or comfortable...

Thank you all for trying to help....it is very comforting to talk about this with people who understand my dilemma.

#13 Eflemma

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 06:24 AM

I guess we're lucky with Mo. We taught him sit, down, stay before we took him for long rides. He sits, lays down, and stays pretty well wherever he rides in the car...usually on the floor board with a chew toy riding shotgun. He'll raise his head to get a scratch and a "good boy" from me or the kid for doing so well. He's not completely without refocus or correction - he is 8 months old - but he does great and likes to ride.



#14 KittynDoc

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 07:58 AM

I guess we're lucky with Mo. We taught him sit, down, stay before we took him for long rides. He sits, lays down, and stays pretty well wherever he rides in the car...usually on the floor board with a chew toy riding shotgun. He'll raise his head to get a scratch and a "good boy" from me or the kid for doing so well. He's not completely without refocus or correction - he is 8 months old - but he does great and likes to ride.


Wyot did well up until he was probably 9-10 months old. He was taught sit, stay, and did those perfectly- car rides were glorious, and he was excited but calm-knowing he was going on an adventure. He did pay attention to cars on the road once let out of the house, and wanted to run towards them, and since we live on a main road that is pretty well traveled, that was tough (we have a pretty long driveway, but they run fast!)....we taught him NO, STAY...and his focus eventually didn't even go to the road. We let him off leash, and he isn't even interested. He knows his boundaries on our property, and we are never worried about him that way. Since then, though it seems like his focus on the cars went INSIDE theCAR! We live on two lane roads, so the cars are pretty close when they pass....and this has been the problem.

Gonna try to crate him, as this seems the only thing we haven't tried....

Edited by KittynDoc, 20 March 2018 - 07:58 AM.


#15 Eflemma

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 08:21 AM

Wyot did well up until he was probably 9-10 months old. He was taught sit, stay, and did those perfectly- car rides were glorious, and he was excited but calm-knowing he was going on an adventure. He did pay attention to cars on the road once let out of the house, and wanted to run towards them, and since we live on a main road that is pretty well traveled, that was tough (we have a pretty long driveway, but they run fast!)....we taught him NO, STAY...and his focus eventually didn't even go to the road. We let him off leash, and he isn't even interested. He knows his boundaries on our property, and we are never worried about him that way. Since then, though it seems like his focus on the cars went INSIDE theCAR! We live on two lane roads, so the cars are pretty close when they pass....and this has been the problem.

Gonna try to crate him, as this seems the only thing we haven't tried....

wow. Thanks for the heads up! I've got nothing for such a turn around that is so stubbornly pervasive. Maybe a gentle leader inside the car for gentle corrections prior to and during the events? Heck, I don't know! Thanks again.

 

Ed



#16 NorCal

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 11:26 AM

I really hope this works..with my dog ..again a tervuran not AID ...but a dog with herding and guarding instincts and also hyper aware.. i think it was so many things going by so fast you could see her getting spun up...i tried corrections treats etc. it just was not something she had control over...crate made it a safe place...good luck Wyot...sending peace your way.

#17 KittynDoc

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 03:30 PM

I really hope this works..with my dog ..again a tervuran not AID ...but a dog with herding and guarding instincts and also hyper aware.. i think it was so many things going by so fast you could see her getting spun up...i tried corrections treats etc. it just was not something she had control over...crate made it a safe place...good luck Wyot...sending peace your way.


Thank you!!! Yep, clearly it seems the best for poor Wyot is a crate. I'll let you all know how it turns out...


#18 Samie

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 04:45 AM

The crate with the blanket does sound like the best idea. Maybe with a little bit of space at the bottom just enough so he can see Kitchee. Is there anything he just goes crazy over? A stuffed kong or something? Put one of those in there the first few rides to try and give him something else to think about. 



#19 KittynDoc

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 10:53 AM

The crate with the blanket does sound like the best idea. Maybe with a little bit of space at the bottom just enough so he can see Kitchee. Is there anything he just goes crazy over? A stuffed kong or something? Put one of those in there the first few rides to try and give him something else to think about. 


Thank you! I might try a Kong, which he loves. That will be the trick to get him in the crate to begin with. I may have to fold down the seats so he can see Kitchee through the bottom- nice suggestion! Hopefully he won't feel the separation anxiety from us...especially since he has been riding like this with us from day one. I so appreciate the suggestion!


#20 vlkea01

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 07:43 PM

We, as humans, tend to try to comfort, like we do with our kids. However, with dogs, comforting is reinforcing behavior. We want to comfort, but we should be telling them "No!" It's so hard to do this for us humans because these are our fur babies, but we do need to think like they think. So, this is not acceptable behavior, and we need to tell them no. It is so against our grain. I remember when we first got Noquisi. He was very worried about riding in the car. He would cry, but we bit the bullet and told him, "No!" After a few rides of that, he calmed and now he sits in the front seat, ears back, right paw on the door where the window meets. It's a hoot. He's too cool for cool! 

 

I think something must have happened for this behavior to have developed. Was there an accident? Fender bender? Maybe he feels like oncoming cars are a threat. I would first make sure he pees and poops, at least pees before getting into the car. I would not do this if you are actually going somewhere for a purpose. Go for a ride with the express purpose of resolving this issue. A training ride. That way you won't be stressed because you are going somewhere. If you tell him, "No," and he becomes quiet, give him a small training treat with praise. This will be a build up of time. At first it will be a short time and will lengthen over time. I would start with just him and you in the car. Once that is conquered, add the other dog. 

 

The message to him is that this behavior is not acceptable, and he will change when you treat him and praise him when he quiets. Then it's okay to be quiet when his doggie sib is in the car too. It won't be instant. Persistence is key. Small increments.






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