How To Help Your Dog Cope With Travel Anxiety
Whenever a person is trying to do a certain task for the first time, or go to a place he has never been before, anxiety often takes over. The excitement is gone and he feels nothing but fear. The same is true for dogs. Just like humans, they can feel joy, sadness, and anxiety whenever they are traveling. However, traveling is part of a person’s adventure that dogs must learn to cope with. Besides, one cannot simply leave an adorable dog behind. How then, can a dog be taught to cope with travel anxiety?
Get the dog to familiarize with the car
Since the dog will stay inside a car for hours while traveling, you might as well train it to love this ‘object’. If you are purchasing a car for a specific travel adventure, choosing a suitable car model or brand should be taken into consideration. If allowed so, bring the dog along. It would be their “first meeting” and from there, the dog’s feelings toward which car is more comfortable can be seen already. One can start by letting the dog sleep beside the car or play together around the garage where the car is parked.
Teach the dog to get in the car
After learning that the car is part of the family, the next step is to teach the dog to get in the car. The owner may get in the back seat while cuddling the dog. If it gets too scared, try to massage it from the neck down. It will relax the tensed muscles. Put its favorite food or toy on the back seat and command it to pick it up.
Get your dog to calm down
Anxiety can cause the dog to have an upset stomach. Twenty minutes before travel time, let the dog walk or run around for exercise. It will somehow reduce stress. The car temperature should be kept as cool as possible with windows slightly open for fresh air.
You may also play some music to get your pet to calm down. Music has the power to calm tense nerves of dogs and people. It can also prevent the dog from hearing outside noises such as car honking and other unfamiliar sounds that can scare the dog.