Problems When Dog is Crated in Car

This is part 2 of the blog about the dog whose owner reported she “went nuts” when left in the car in her crate.

Our experienced trainers (thank you Kathy, Deborah, Sue, Karen and Vicki!) had some additional questions for the dog owner and some tips based on their experience.

Questions were:

1. Would the dog be okay in the car if not crated?

2. Have you tried covering the crate?

3. What does the dog do when you leave her at home? Does she have separation anxiety?

4. Does she normally like being in a crate? (at home)  Will she go in on her own? How long is she crated at home?

5. Was there a bad experience such as a car wreck, always going to the vet? etc.


The trainers suggested:

1. Leave something in the crate for the dog to do- a chew or interactive toy works well.

2. Try a frozen Kong.  Be sure water, temperature and blanket is all comfortable.


The dog owner could also try these steps:

1. Before putting your dog in the car, make sure she’s had a chance to relieve herself. If your dog is thirsty or needs to urinate, the crate can be conditioned to be a negative experience.

2.  Until your dog learns to like the car, make sure the car ride is paired with something positive.

3. Start with very short training sessions-the idea here is baby steps. You’ll need to do this when you don’t have somewhere you need to go. This assumes the dog is fine during the ride, and she goes “nuts” when you leave the car.

a) Put your dog in the crate.  Ride a short distance, park the car. Open the crate, give the dog a treat.

b) Next, go for the ride, park, walk away from the car a few steps, return immediately, open door, and give dog a treat.

c) With each phase, you will add a little more time and distance.  You can also take the dog out and do something fun when you return (such as go for a walk.

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About Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen Director, Author of the AKC's official CGC book, "CITIZEN CANINE"
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