Overexcited in Car

Posted by abchak1
May 15, 2012
We have a 2 year old (spayed) female vizsla/lab mix that we adopted about 9 months ago. We've been having trouble with her getting overexcited in the car -- whining, panting, running back and forth, trying to get in the front seat to see the action. I'm pretty sure it's not anxiety about the motion or anything like that, because she's always eager to get in the car and has never been carsick. We've tried ignoring her (makes her whining spells shorter, at least), spraying her with a squirt bottle of water when she whines (only makes her bark at me and more tense), only giving her attention when she's laying down (especially if she's actually calm), making her lay down (she just paws at us to request to be pet, then stands up when we don't, even when this is repeated many times), bringing her favorite chew toys and bones (she ignores them), and taking her on boring drives without letting her out anywhere. When we first got her, she would just lie down and sleep in the car, but now that she's been driven to the dog park and hiking trips many times, she expects something great at the end of every drive. Driving with her in the car is very annoying due to all the whining, panting, and running around. Any suggestions?? We're going crazy. As a general note, she is pretty well-trained and seems to know that my boyfriend and I are the "top dogs" of the family.

PS: Sorry if someone else already has a similar thread. The forum wouldn't let me search for the word "car" so it was difficult to check.
Posted by KOPCaroline
May 16, 2012
Hi there,

I'd recommend first that you get a dog safety harness for the car - it works like a seatbelt for your dog. This will help reign in her hyperactivity and obviously will prevent her from dashing around the car.

Second, try putting her in the car without actually going anywhere. Just put her in the car, in her seatbelt if you get one, and leave her there. When she starts responding positively to this and not being excited, put her in and just turn the engine on, but don't go anywhere.

After getting used to this, you can try just backing down the drive, then going home again, then moving up to driving around the block, etc etc. Basically just break down her being in the car into babysteps, and dont move on unless she's behaving well.

Hope that makes sense - you should be able to find safety harnesses at pet stores or online, or your vet may have them. Best of luck!
Posted by abchak1
May 17, 2012
Alright. I'll try your suggestions soon and get back to you if it doesn't work. Hopefully this is the last you hear of this issue.