Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
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Within days of arriving home safely hopefully ,lol, here is a program for desensitization.
Although car sickness may appear to be a health issue, if it re-occurs it can become a
learned behavior problem. The dog begins to associate the car with feeling sick and will
proceed to vomit on each consecutive trip.
Treatment for Car Sickness
If the dog is afraid to get into the car follow this desensitization program.
Leave both the driver's side and passenger doors open. Place a trail of small healthy
treats from the door of the house, into the car and out the other door. The treats
should get bigger as you get closer to the car, largest and tastiest in the car and
smaller on the way out. Use a long life line for safety purposes when necessary and
let the dog set the pace. If you push him. you'll slow down your progress.
When this step is successful, close the passenger door and allow the dog to follow
the trail of treats in and out of the car with one door closed.
Next, stand beside the driver's door as the dog follows the trail in and out of the car.
Now you can place a special treat on the seat where the dog will sit, using
something that will take more time for the dog to eat. When he gets into his seat,
slip in beside him and close the door. As soon as the dog finishes his special treat,
open the door and allow him to get out.
Now you can begin to desensitize the dog to the moving vehicle.
Get in the car beside the dog, feed him a few small healthy treats and get out.
Get in the car beside the dog, turn on the engine, feed him a few treats, turn off the
engine and get out.
Next leave the engine on for five minutes, slowly feeding him treats and get out.
Get in the car beside the dog, turn on the engine, back down the driveway, drive
back up, feed the dog a few treats and get out.
• Next go to the end of the block and follow the same pattern.
Now, go around the block and follow the same pattern.
If the dog drools or vomits, you've moved too quickly. Pretend it did not happen,
take a break, go back to your last point of success and proceed more slowly. If you
get upset, you'll add to the negativity of the experience.
At this point you'll want to make the destination of your first trip special tor the
dog, to create a positive association with the car. Take the dog to the park for a
game of 'fetch/ or to visit his favorite friend.
A dog that gets sick ever}' time he gets into a car is conditioned to get sick, and we
have to change this conditioning. After spending time in the car again and again, the
dog will no longer associate the car with feeling sick. It's crucial to increase time
and distance gradually, but the more repetitions you can fit in, the quicker you'll
solve the problem. Praise and reward the dog for each step of progress and ignore
any negative behavior.
In some cases "Gravol" can help but only use it at the advice of your veterinarian. In
other cases, putting newspaper on the dog's seat can help due to the charcoal in the
paper. In all cases, it's important to set the dog up to succeed by moving slowly,
keep the excitement level low and eliminate all negativity.
Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
Last edited by davetgabby; 04-25-2013 at 11:30 PM.