5 Easy Steps To Make Your Dog Love Car Rides

When I first got Yoda, she was terrified from the car. Every time we got close to it, she started shaking! She threw up every single time, purely out of stress. I figured it must have had something to do with the moment she got abandoned…

Now she LOVES the car! She knows the car equals going on an adventure and spending a lovely time together. Most importantly: she knows I’ll never go home without her. ❤️

We now take her on car rides of ten hours and longer. The only times she still throws up is when we’re taking zig zaggy roads by the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre – and even I want to empty my stomach there at times… 🤣

So how did we get our dog to like car rides?

how to make your dog love the car
See how she’s holding on to the wheel? 🤣

1. Let her explore the car from the outside

A car is a big, scary thing. Instead of pushing your dog in the car, let her explore it from the outside at her own pace. Reward her with plenty of treats when she gets close or even sniffs the car. Cheer her on with a happy voice. Don’t coddle her, because then you’re reaffirming her fears.

2. Sit in the car together with the engine off

Just sit with her or play with her favourite toy. Give her treats. Make it a fun moment.

3. Sit in the car together with the engine on

Just sit. 😌 Don’t go anywhere. If your dog feels uncomfortable, distract her with treats, toys or your voice. Don’t put her on your lap, put her in the place she would be when you’re actually driving. If you want her to be in a crate, make sure she’s crate trained first or you’ll just add to her panic!

4. Go for a short drive

If all of the above goes well, take your pooch for a little drive. It has to be somewhere super fun! 🥳 So not the vet or anything. Think dog park, pet store, her best friend, …

5. Slowly go for longer trips

Make those little trips longer and longer every time. Make sure you don’t feed your dog right before, because that’s asking for it to come out again… If you continue to regularly take your dog to fun places, she’ll learn that there is nothing to be afraid of, on the contrary! 🤩


Don’t try to rush these things. Take your time. Be patient. If you get annoyed or try to push it, you will only make things worse. Be supportive and create a fun atmosphere instead. One step at a time. If you feel like your dog’s uncomfortable, take a step back and try again later.

You can also put on some soothing classical music while driving, you even have ‘music for dogs’ playlists on Spotify or YouTube. I personally found that talking to her really helped a lot. Whenever I saw that she started to feel bad (she would begin to lick her chops before vomiting), I would say something like “Heeeey girl! It’s all okay!” with an upbeat voice and give her some pets. That would usually do the trick. 😊

Is your dog anxious about the car? How do you deal with it?

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