Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Car Trouble?!

No, I am not referring to the engine or transmission, I am referring to transporting my dog. Today I decided to do a little experiment to see why Abbey has issues with riding in the car. At one point these problems had gone away and then maybe towards the beginning of this year became apparent again. For a long while we enjoyed nice leisurely rides with Abbey in the car simply sleeping her way up and down the highway. Now, I have a dog that's so stressed she thinks the world is going to end just by hopping into the back seat. Since this behviour cannot become a constant, I decided to start desensitizing Abbey to getting into the car and hanging out in the car in situations I feel she is feeling the discomfort. At first she was so nerve racked she wouldn't even take a treat for being in the car. After a couple minutes of coaxing I decided I would allow her the freedom to exit the car and then see if she wouldn't make the choice to come into the car with me herself since there would be a wealth of yummy treats involved.

After another few minutes, Abbey decided hopping into the car wasn't so bad. I decided that perhaps the fact that it was blistering hot in the car everytime we went to get into it, part of Abbey's discomfort was the heat. Now, I don't have a garage I can park the car into to reduce this effect, BUT what I can do is start the car before Abbey gets into it so that it's already cooled off. Now, adding all these factors together, I did play a little game to get Abbey revved and excited to jump into the car. This worked for a time, but then she ran to the door. I concluded that it was definitely just way too hot. It is a good 95 degrees outside to be sure. I didn't leave empty handed, though. I was able to assess what may work in the future to calm her and also know to use maybe a little more high value treats (real meat or cheese). I also was thinking of getting her a seat belt. This may make rides a bit easier for her to endure.

I am going to work on this training until the day of our which point I hope to have a little bit more confident Abbey.

More to Come
~All American Team