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Let's Go For A Ride

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

By Barbara Cannon

When most people imagine a life with a new puppy, they can see themselves out together taking trips to the beach, to the park, or even on the road visiting new destinations. So, it can be a sad day when you discover that your puppy doesn’t like riding in the car. Now what do you do?

There’s lots of reasons that puppies develop an aversion to car travel. The most common one is motion sickness. Your puppy might have experienced motion sickness even before he comes home to you, or possibly on the way to your house. If your puppy is experiencing motion sickness, especially vomiting, talk to your vet right away about ways to prevent it. A puppy who gets sick in the car is never going to build a positive association with car rides.

And that is the key. As with all positive reinforcement training, we want to make sure our puppy has a positive association when he goes for those rides, and even before if he is nervous about getting into a car. If you have taken care of the motion sickness, here’s a plan to help create a positive association with the car.

  1. Start with taking your puppy and putting him in the back seat of your parked car. Take a lot of good rewards and high value treats and some fun toys. Have a play session in the car without turning on the engine. Do this several times before moving on. (Note: if your puppy is nervous about even getting in the car, start this exercise outside of the car first.)

  2. Do the same exercise but this time, just turn on the engine while you play. Don’t go anywhere yet. Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated location.

  3. In these next steps you will need a helper. The helper will sit in the back seat with the puppy and play games and deliver treats while you back the car forward and back on a driveway. Don’t go anywhere! Just let the puppy experience short periods of motion.

  4. Next, do the same exercise while driving around the block. (We will talk about safety in a minute.)

  5. Next, take your puppy to someplace fun, preferably not too far away.

  6. Finally, slowly build up your time on the road, associated with fun toys and treats.

Take your time with these steps and don’t move forward too quickly. Think about what could be making this experience difficult for your puppy. Puppies can quickly make associations with seemingly (to us) insignificant events. Try to avoid JUST taking your pup to the vet. Turn on soft music in the car. Watch your own language and behavior. A puppy doesn’t know if you are angry at the car that cuts you off or at him and may experience your behavior as a negative experience.

Another useful tip: if you know someone who has a confident dog that loves car rides, it may be useful to borrow that dog for a few car trips. Many puppies who are reluctant to ride in cars find it much more fun when they have a buddy who comes along with them. Dogs learn from other dogs (good and bad!) so this may be a way to teach your puppy that riding in a car can be fun, especially if your end destination is a dog-friendly spot such as a beach or park.

Now a word about safety. We strongly recommend that your puppy be restrained in some way while the car is moving. There are several options. A crate or travel carrier is the safest way to transport a puppy. It should be in the passenger seat with a seatbelt attached to keep it from moving. There are also booster seats with harnesses that keep your puppy safely in the car seat. In any case, we don’t want your puppy to move should the vehicle experience any sort of impact. Accidents are just that – events that happen unexpectedly. Safety first. Looking back at our plan, I would suggest that once you start driving (step 4) your puppy should be secured somehow in your car.

It can be such a joy to travel with your dog! We truly hope that these steps will help make the experience a happy one for both you and your puppy.

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5 Yorum

Our little Aussie doodle also vomited on the drive home from breeder (just over an hour). Our breeder recommended that we hold her on one of our laps for the ride home as it lessens the stress of it all which contributes to the carsick. I also suggest bring a towel or washable blanket for your lap just in case and something to chew on. Ours loves having her face cradled in a hand with her neck outstretched as we drive. Ask them not to feed for a couple of hours your ride :) Our girl seems to be outgrowing the drooling and nausea now with many small positive trips and a good chew toy. Best of luck!


We took our Aussie Doodle from the breeder to our trainer for a two week session. the pup sat on my wife’s lap with a towel under the pup. About an hour drive. The towel and the lap were soaked with drool. No drooling now.


Our Ausie Doodle had massive drooling and an occasional vomit. I would put her in the car back seat, back the car out of the garage, read the newspaper for 15 minutes. No treats and no talking. Did that for a few weeks then did slow trips around the block with frequent stops. Soft and assuring talk. Then moved on to short trips to our local park. No drooling now and she loves going to the park. Any trip to the vet also includes a park visit.


07 Eyl 2023

Our puppy vomited 3 times on the way home . I wished she had not been fed . I don’t offer her treats in the car now. She has had lots of slow 1 or two minute drives up and down the driveway. Freeway speeds stress her out. 60km is ok. She is 4 months now.. I guess we stay on the back roads for a while.


Ah, good points to add to training.. so, how would u recommend we take puppy home the first day for an hour car ride? Should we have her on our lap? Suggestions, appreciated.

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