If a dog is afraid of cars, it can become a problem to travel or just walk the busiest streets. This behavior is usually associated with trauma, a bad experience from the past. However, there are good techniques that will allow you to overcome the problem.
Post-traumatic stressful situations are more common in adopted dogs that have had a stormy past. Often, due to a negative environment in which they grew up. A dog is afraid of cars when their presence reminds him of unpleasant and painful sensations. In this article we will see how to act if this situation concerns your four-legged friend.
Steps to follow if your dog is afraid of cars
If you are already aware of this bad relationship your pet has with machines, and every time it sees one the reactions are exaggerated and unexpected, you will need to learn to remain calm. If you show agitation, you’ll end up encouraging the dog’s nervousness, making things even worse. Address them in a calm voice as you walk quietly. Smile and be calm and confident. This positive feeling will be passed on to your friend.
Avoid stroking it
If it gets anxious, you don’t have to pet them. Caresses are interpreted as “rewards” and this is how your little dog will understand them. From their point of view, you are rewarding this fearful behavior and it is something to be avoided. Not only will you not solve the problem but, indirectly, you will encourage the animal to repeat it.
The fear is a feeling that no one can avoid. Your pet, if you scold or punish them, will feel even worse and their fear will grow. Also, it may associate you with something negative, just like the noise of cars, becoming more anxious and nervous when you are next to them. It must see you as a friend, who defends and supports them and not as a threat.
Don’t force situations
They say the best way to overcome fears is to face them. This doesn’t work for all people or even animals. Don’t think about helping a dog who is afraid of cars by throwing him into traffic. It would be too much trauma for anyone.
Try to get them used to it
If you live in a large metropolis, cars are very likely to go by on the street all the time. Begin to accustom the dog to their noise, for example, by opening the windows. Don’t do it right away. Try to keep only one open for a week. Then open another one and so on, until the noise is very present.
During this process you will need to observe your dog’s reactions to ensure that their fear is not being expanded. If you have opened another window but the animal does not seem ready, it is better to close it.
Take them to where the cars are
Obviously, however, keep it at a safe distance. Go to a park or a street near busy roads so you can see and hear cars in the distance. Don’t force them to stay here if you notice any signs of anxiety. A minute and a half, two or three times a week, is more than enough therapy.
As their fear diminishes, you can increase this exposure period.
Give them an order
Try to obey them or even teach them a new command near an area with many cars. If it can focus on you, it will forget that there are machines around and this could help them overcome fear.
What if the dog is afraid of traveling by car?
If your dog’s fear is about car travel, make sure their harness is comfortable, secure, and not too tight. If you keep it in a pet carrier, always make sure it has a size and height proportional to its size.
Open the windows to avoid possible dizziness and keep the interior airy and cool. Avoid using car air fresheners which can be very annoying for the smell of your four-legged friend, very powerful and sensitive.
If your dog appears frightened and anxious, don’t force them into the car. First try to calm them down and let them get in and out of the car as if it were a game, without forgetting to reward them. This will prompt them to associate the car with something positive.
Any fear or trauma can be eradicated, if you understand the causes, by helping your pet with patience and affection. Even if the dog is afraid of cars, thanks to these tips, you will easily manage to get over the situation.