My dog loves to ride in the car and jumps right in, but
barks like crazy the entire time I’m driving. Any
suggestions besides just leaving him at home?
I’m going to assume, Steve, that your dog is barking
due to the anticipation of arriving at a fun
destination. There are, of course, many reasons a dog
will bark — fear, anxiety, excitement, etc. But since
you mentioned that he jumps right in, I’m going to
assume he’s just overly excited.
I’d suggest more frequent car rides with no exciting
destination. Until the weather gets too warm to risk
leaving your dog in the car, include him in as many
trips as you can — to the grocery store, the post
office, the drive through, etc. Leave him in the car
while you run errands, allowing him to exit the vehicle
only when you’ve returned home.
you have a highly active dog, the goal should be to have
him relaxed while riding in the car — a calm and
relaxed dog is a quiet dog. Start by giving him an
opportunity to wear himself out physically before going
for a ride. A few rounds of fetch or a jog should do the
trick; make sure he is worn out and ready to relax
before putting him in the vehicle.
have him ride in a crate. This is not only the safest
way to transport your dog, but it will limit his ability
to bounce around in the car, as well as what he is able
to see. It is possible that viewing the outside activity
as you travel — kids on bikes, motorcycles whizzing
by, dogs being walked, etc. — is causing him to become
excited or aroused.
him something to do that is incompatible with barking,
such as a yummy, juicy femur bone to chew on while in
the crate. I know of no dog that can devour a good chewy
and bark like a maniac at the same time. Make sure the
item offered is highly enticing and will provide your
dog something to focus on the entire time you are
be sure to reinforce quiet and calm behavior by allowing
your dog to exit the vehicle only when he is calm. If
you arrive back home and he begins to bark while you
park, either wait it out in the car, or leave the car
with him in it until the barking ceases. Once he is
quiet, let him out without any excitement or fanfare.
the above points for a while should gradually give you
the result you are looking for, but don’t expect it to
happen without some repetition. After all, it took some
time for this to become a pattern of behavior; it will
also take some time to create the new habit.
I’ve heard that it is a bad idea to let my dog chew on
his tennis balls. He loves them! Do I really need to
take them away?
In a word, Linda, yes. The felt covering of a tennis
ball is extremely abrasive, and chewing on it will
gradually blunt the teeth, meaning the fibers will wear
down the enamel. Feel free to play fetch with your dog
using tennis balls, but remove them once the game is
over. There are many other balls and toys available, in
a variety of materials and textures, on which your dog
can safely chew without doing damage to his teeth. Start
experimenting with a few different items — he will
show you which type he prefers.