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Odd sort of question

February 16th, 2006, 03:13 PM

My parents have a 3 year old fixed male Shih Tzu. He's in good health, normally well behaved (rather he bahaves well enough for them, not for me).

He was never particularly well behaved in the car (ie he would jump to the front to the back on the window etc). Recently he's taken to moving in the backseat only looking out the window whinning the whole time he's in the car. This only started around xmas time right Sasha (she was our family dog when we were growing up) was put down at 14years, She was a Chihuahua.

My Parents think the whining is him looing for Sasha. I"m not so sure. Either way it needs to stop. Does anyone have any pointers?

February 16th, 2006, 06:11 PM
Boo paces and cries. Usually when it gets really bad, it's because he has to take a dump... The car seems to stimulate his colon... But even without that, he's still really restless. We drove to PEI (12 hours) a couple of years ago and on the way home, we drugged him... I highly recommend it (with vet supervision of course).

We tried sitting in the back with him to keep him calm, and it only got the "helper" hurt...:rolleyes:

February 16th, 2006, 06:21 PM
He probably looked to Sasha for comfort and leadership, and now that she is gone no one has stepped into that role for him.
I would spend time in the car when it is not moving and make sure his behavior is good when things are quiet. Then drive down the driveway and around the block is he good then? If not I would put him on the leash in the back seat with someone and help to guide him into better behavior. Do not 'coo' at him and support his insecurity. Instead give him jobs to do - down/stay. You also need to correct the crying. Let him know you don't like it. Think of a child who whines in the car. You are going to correct him but you are also going to try to give him things to do to keep his mind off of his worries. Create a new dynamic for car rides.
We worked with a GSD who literally screamed when she was in the car with her parents. SCREAMED!!!!!!! :eek: I would work the dog for a few minutes outside of the car to earn some leadership and when I got in the car the dog stopped instantly. I never had to even discuss it with her. She just needed to know that someone else would keep her safe and be there for her.

February 16th, 2006, 07:43 PM
I use a car harness for Joey it fits around him then the seat belt goes through the loop. You have to have one of those seat belts that you pull all the way out and let go then it locks into place. IT keeps them in one place and its a lot safer then having them jump all over the place. You should be able to get one for about 20.00 at a pet store.

February 17th, 2006, 09:04 AM
Thanks for all the advice. Keep it coming.

I don't think we'll sedate Stitches, seeing how he's in the car ALL the time. At least 2 or 3 times a day. He is used to traveling in the car and I"m positive the whining is not due to fear of the car or anything.

Because we had his behaviour in the car on the right track (ie pick a spot on the back seat or floor and stay) before Sasha died, and the whinning started right after, we're sure it started as him looking for her. It's been almost two months now. Sasha rarely went in the car with him, if ever. She used to love car rides, but in the last couple years as her arthritis got bad, she only went when we made her (ie the vet). Stitches only came to live with us in the last year, so I am fairly certian that the two have never been together in the car. So the behaviour doesn't make sense.

Talking to him, etc in the car just makes it worse. As for the Harness Idea, the car does not have locking belts in the back (only lap belts). We thought of that. We've also tried crating him, but that makes it worse. While hes now in one place the whining gets louder and he still tries to jump to see out the window.

ikes...lost about what to try next.