Virginia Simpson and Chance

Ask The Trainer

Fear of Riding in Car


I have an aussie/collie mix that will not get in a vehicle. When he was a pup he would get car sick, quickly. I have tried to use treat to get him to get in, But that does not work. We even picked him up and put him in (not running truck), and he jumped out the window on the other side, Even with the windows closed and just sit in the drive way with treats. Any suggestions?? I would love for him to go places with me. He is a big dog (70 lbs) Not to easy to pick up.    ~ Madonna



Hi Madonna,

Thank you for your inquiry!

Is there any way to fit a crate in your car?  That would be the safest way to transport him.  If you can’t fit a crate, you might try a dog seat belt to keep him from being able to bolt out and hurt himself.  Then it is a matter of spending some time in the car. 

Whenever I am trying to help a dog through a situation they are fearful or uncertain of, I break the problem down into manageable steps for the dog.  That is usually different for each dog, so if your dog is struggling with a particular step in the journey, just step back and master the step before.  Really important to take your time and move at the dog’s pace.   Create a positive experience for each step and you’ll build the dog’s confidence as you go.  Also, start out with short little sessions, building on each one.  For example, if you can even do 5 minutes a day to start out with, just sitting in the driveway next to the car with the car door open and the dog’s leash on that is a start.  Don’t move on until your pup is calm and relaxed sitting by the car with the door open.  Then work the dog into the car.  Just spend 5 minutes and repeat until the dog is calm.  Then shut the door and start turning the car on, wait a minute, then turn it off, wait a minute, get out.   Once he is calmer with that, try driving around the block.  Then take a trip to the dog park. 

As far as using food, try using chicken as a treat.  I would cut up a cooked chicken breast and feed him pieces of that while he is in the car.  That is usually of a higher value than some the treats in a bag.  Chicken and going to fun places should help develop a positive association with getting in the car.  If this is a serious fear response, the dog may not be able to eat because of the flood of adrenaline, etc.

Take the time you need and be patient!

I hope this information is helpful to you!  Please feel free to contact any time with any other questions.

Thank you for contacting Unleashed Canine Obedience through Cincinnati Pet Pages!

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Virginia L. Simpson, CDT
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
4955 Creek Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242