Sarah is our lucky soon to be mum whose Kelpie needs some help and tips about remaining calm in the car. Sarah is nervous about what will happen when she adds a baby in the mix too.
“My husband and I are expecting a little girl in mid June. We currently have a very loved Kelpie cross, Ruger, who has been the number one in our family for three years. He is walked off leash daily but has a very strong personality and some naughty traits we just can’t get rid of, even after much research and trial.
He is horrible in the car. He has never had a bad experience in the car and car rides always end with a positive occasion yet he cries, paces and barks (high pitched) the entire trip.
When visiting my family five hours away it is pure hell. He does not stop for hours. I have been angry and stern and have tried calm and supportive. Remaining calm seems to help but he never stops.
He is harnessed in but tangles himself at times and it becomes so stressful to me, it can be dangerous. The odd thing is that when returning home from somewhere he is generally quiet.
On long trips he will have episodes but it isn’t constant. We have tried exhausting him beforehand and it helps a little but still continues. He is not scared of the car. He is happy to jump in at any opportunity.
Do you have any advice for us as the only other options I have been told of is to sedate him but that can have an opposite effect? I don’t want him doing it with a baby in the car and leaving him at home is not always an option.”
Dog trainer Mel Ritterman answers:
First off, well done for taking the steps to fix this. Avoiding car trips with your dog is not the answer. Making car trips a positive experience, is the answer. Just be aware, that this is not going to happen overnight.
It’s going to take some work. Lucky you still have time before bubs arrives, as there is nothing worse than a screaming baby when you drive (yes I have dealt with that plenty of times with mine) plus an anxious dog on top of that!