Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are Car Rides good for you dog?

I see alot of folks taking their dogs along when they go on errands, and then leaving the dogs in the car while they shop. It's an interesting thought process we have that dogs actually enjoy going in the car for just a ride. Here's just another way to look at it - through your dog's eyes.

You get ready to go somewhere and you tell your dog he gets to go. He's very excited and happy. Jumps in the car, settles into his favorite spot (PLEASE don't let that spot be hanging his head out of the car while you drive!). He's with you - things are going past him, he's happy. park the car, leave the dog alone with the window cranked down a bit for air. He sees you walking away, he's stuck in the car. So now you've left him. Some dogs lay down and sleep - nothing else to do is there. Others, however, then get nervous. They are the ones that you've seen that bark at everything moving in the parking lot. You just put your dog in charge of "guarding" your car, in his eyes. He's not very good at guarding - as a matter of fact, at home when he barks at everything moving on the street or in his yard you seem mad about it. Here, however, in the car, there is no one to stop him. He gets to rehearse his "guarding" behavior over and over. Then he goes home and continues it. And you get on him for it. How confusing to a dog is that!

Think hard about whether or not you should bring your dog on ride with you. Being alone in a car can be stressful, or just plain boring! Yes, they love being with you, but actually watching you walk away can be a tough thing in their head.

Spend a little time playing ball or cuddling before you leave on your errands - they'll be waiting happily for you to return!

Deb Schneider
Corky the yorky, Everee the BC and Eli the Bloodhound