When You Don’t Want to Go for a Ride…because of all the barking. Part IV of our canine car series, “Barking in the Car”

Barking in the car is a common concern for pet owners. Since my last entries have been exceptionally long, I’ll try to keep this one relatively short!

Recently, friend and colleague Jules Nye of Sit, Stay, and Play joined us on the Rewarding Behaviors forum to discuss the topic of barking. Treating barking in the car is much like treating any other barking issue, with the addition of a few new considerations.

Visit the forum thread from Jules’ week as expert to learn why dogs bark and for techniques which may help you address your dog’s barking.

Jules also made a fantastic video to share with our forum members on teaching a dog the paired cue of “Bark/Quiet.” Check it out!

For a great short read on the topic of barking from one of my favorite training authors, pick up a copy of Turid Rugaas’s Barking: The Sound of a Language available online from www.dogwise.com.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WORKING ON YOUR DOG’S CAR BARKING

  • If your dog is barking because of fear, consider using the calming techniques mentioned in Part III of the series, No Way Do I Want to Go for a Ride!, which is full of tips on teaching your dog to get into and out of the car in a relaxed, confident manner and settle into relaxation once inside the car.  While you can certainly use the bark training techniques Jules mentioned on the forum, if the barking is a symptom of anxiety it may very well go away once the underlying cause has been addressed (or at least reduce in frequency and intensity).
  • You may need a friend to help you with these exercises.  Turning around in the car to treat your dog can be dangerous and cause a vehicle accident.
  • If your dog reacts to specific stimulus while in the car (people, other animals, etc.), practice first in a number of environments with the car parked and turned off before you begin practicing while traveling.
  • If you are not able to train your dog while driving, use management tools – a covered crate, an appropriately desensitized Calming Cap to reduce your dog’s visual stimuli, even those shades meant to protect babies riding in the car from the sun’s hot glare.
  • If you do not have a helper, consider using a Manners Minder, which is a remote-control treat dispensing training aid.
  • Practice “Look at That” from Leslie McDevitt’s fantastic book Control Unleashed. This exercise is basically using the clicker to classically condition a new emotional response to whatever triggers your dog’s barking.
  • Make sure your dog is well-exercised before car rides.
  • If you feel as though your dog’s barking behavior compromises your ability to drive safely, consult with a well-qualified behavior professional right away.

Again, this is a rather short entry to cover the topic, but with the barking resources and tips provided, you should be well on your way to enjoying a quiet, peaceful ride in the car with your favorite dog!

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