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Dog bonkers in car!

February 17th, 2004, 07:28 PM

I have a beautiful 3yr old black & tan german shepherd that, in most situations, is extremely clever and obedient. Until you get her into the car, that is.
That is when my calm, clever dog loses her little mind - she screams and barks and yelps and paces, launching herself all about the car. Now I crate her for safety, but she still goes off like a siren. She does not seem panicky or afraid, more like extremely excited, and I cannot calm her down until we reach our destination.
I would like to have her along with me while I work, but a good portion of my work is (you guessed it): driving. Apart from this one problem, we work together seamlessly, but this one problem is huge!
Help, help!


Lucky Rescue
February 17th, 2004, 07:42 PM
She needs to learn that the car is no big deal! Desensitization should help her with this.

Take her out to the car and get in. Sit there with her and say and do nothing. Wait her out. As soon as she calms down, even for a second, give her a treat and get out.

Practice this often, increasing the time you sit there. This could take a while until she sits calmly in the car.

Once she is good with sitting in the parked car, start the engine but don't go anywhere. Wait til she calms, treat, engine off and get out.

You get the idea - the car is boring and ordinary!;)

February 17th, 2004, 08:24 PM
Thank you for the advice that I will certainly put into immediate practise.
Specific to my dog:
1) She goes INSANE in the car, not a bit out of control, but totally whacko.
2)She is usually much more relaxed when she drives with my ex, so it is specific to being in the car with me (no, I am not a reckless driver!). She is crazy for me and screams like she is seeing the Beatles when I come home. Doubly so when I take her out.
3)She is not at all food-driven. Toys and fetch are all that she lives for, and food holds no interest for her whatsoever.

thanks again...


February 18th, 2004, 09:06 AM
Hmmm wondering something? You said the dog is calmer with your ex? I wonder if the dog is sensing your anxiety? I know its tough but try not to get excited when the dog does. LR has great advice....also teaching command "Quiet" will help you both in and out of the house.

Lucky Rescue
February 18th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Just this a police dog?

February 18th, 2004, 10:45 AM
Amaruq - I drive quite a bit, so traffic does not make me stressed, but the dog flipping out in traffic does, very much. I would be interested to hear more about teaching and implementation of the 'quiet' command...

LuckyRescue - No, My dog has never been a police dog, but her sire was! (Her mom was a schutzen-bitch). What does this tell you?
I am in EMS, and it is my hope to involve the pooch in S&R once her vehicle issues are resolved and her heeling is tightened up a bit...

Once again, thank you both for your advice!

February 18th, 2004, 11:03 AM
LR,that was great advise....

As for it being a Police Dog I doubt it.

When doing all the basic training as pups(before the initial training)they are also taken in cars to get them used to it.That is a very important part of the training.Considering they are in the car most of the time.That's where the "sit" and "stay" comes in.

This is what I had to do with Tron.

February 18th, 2004, 11:04 AM
WOW,didn't expect you to answer that one yet Adami.....LOL

Lucky Rescue
February 18th, 2004, 01:47 PM
I was just curious, cause a high drive dog from working lines may be so anxious to go to work, he could go "bonkers."

But as Mona said, he would have learned to sit quietly in the car.

Where do you go when you take him out in the car? Someplace exciting?

Is he excited, or anxious? Is he panting, drooling? How much exercise is he getting? He may need a job of some sort.

A tired dog is a good dog!:D

February 18th, 2004, 02:00 PM
And I can't get over how she is calmer with the ex.

Ask the what she's been doing to have her calmer.Maybe there is a trick to it.LOL

Also,since she isn't food driven,try one of her most FAVORITE toys....Use that when you have her in the car with the advise that LR gave you.

I know that alot of working dogs,S&R and Police Dogs don't use food treats to reward.They use a favorite toy.Usually a ball or with Tron it was his ball on a rope.

Also,maybe you can talk to a trainer..See if they can suggest something.

February 18th, 2004, 02:01 PM
Any pics of her?:D

February 19th, 2004, 07:59 PM
I see this was posted *3* times under different catagories

I submitted my reply under one of the others if you wanna look there.

LMAO @ LR's response.... hahahah I didn't copy you HONEST!

February 19th, 2004, 09:49 PM
I am sorry for the multiple posts, but I was not sure which category was apppropriate - General Forum, Training, and Vet advice all seemed germane...

I appreciate the advice and, while it is uncanny that you and LuckyRescue have given similar advice, it is not redundant - I am grateful for the indepth examples of the progression of things, and where to take things...

Further to the dog with my ex, she (my ex) has definitely been the disciplinarian in the family. Trips with her have been more business like, and with me have in the past been special events. Frankly and furthermore, my ex is better with dogs...I am very much the permissive parent.

Included find a photo of the Kitty lounging with her daughter Etta (the small shep-x) and Max (the wee white thing)...


February 19th, 2004, 09:50 PM
Here is the photo.

Yes, I am a moron.

Have a nice day.

February 19th, 2004, 10:02 PM
One more photo of the charmer...

February 19th, 2004, 10:04 PM
Just one last photo! The only body shot I have right now...

February 19th, 2004, 10:10 PM
They are very nice pictures

Looks like you have to show that you're Alpha now since it seems like your ex was (if I understand correctly)

A helpful link that LR has recommended many times and to me the advise is invaluable.

That being said #1 the dog misses her no doubt. Do they visit? And who's dog is this yours or hers and who spent more time with the dog you or your ex?

Breakups affect dogs as well as people. This is a rough transition.

February 20th, 2004, 07:58 AM
OMG!!!! What a gorgeous animal!!!!!!!! I love it!

Yup i agree your problem is you have to become the alpha. Different ways of doing it. Read and try different things till you become the boss.

February 20th, 2004, 09:58 AM
WOW...Beautiful dog.:D

February 20th, 2004, 10:29 AM
Thanks for the comments on the photos - She is gorgeous...I wish I had a better quality, full-bodied, standing photo...she is really very impressive and healthy - well cared for!

That is a compliment to my ex, with whom the dog lives. I won't comment on the breakup stuff (though I know it does affect dogs, too), but I am not too sure that dominance is the key issue.

I will try to include my ex in this discussion, as she will most articulately and objectively be able to explain my relationship with the dog...

February 20th, 2004, 10:50 AM
Though making sure your pet understands that you hold the key to the treat cupboard, it is extremely*** important to understand that you dog(s) don't nessesarily speak your language. Well it is all fine and good to let your dog know who is boss, it is also important to understand what exactly your dog requires in order to be an upstanding member of your family.
Best way to start is to watch your pet to see what signals they are giving you in the way of calming. Are they yawning, streching, licking their mouth? When you find this out, use it right back at them. Being alpha does not mean forcing your will on them, especially when it comes to GSD, who are possible more stubborn than a mule! Communication with a dog is a subtle thing, that takes alot of time and effort on both your parts. If you shepperd loves you like "the beetles", then she'll want to please you. After all that is what they do!

I am not a big fan of "dominating" your dog, few people including trainers really understand how to do such a thing without putting the dog in a compromising position. If you are the fun parent, use that to work your magic.
Adami has put her head through a windshield in her exuberance, my being the ex in question. Ted is being very kind by using Bonkers as the operative word. Actually insane would be quite apt. Adami is fine when we go on "business" trips, but going to the park she is can not be consoled with any manner of "training" which goes back to a bad experience as a pup with a trainer who wanted to "show her who's boss" so there is you wonderful alpha idea shot out the window. Ted is Adami's trigger,she flips out when she sees hime, she adores him so adamantly when he brings her back to my house she waits for him to return for hours. At times still with me she goes a little snakey when she thinks something good is gonna happen. And it is very difficult to assuage a 85lb GSD in that kind of a frenzey.

Lucky Rescue
February 20th, 2004, 12:31 PM
but I am not too sure that dominance is the key issue.

I agree this has nothing to do with dominence whatsoever.

February 20th, 2004, 12:32 PM
Can I ask how she was when you two were together?

Did Ted take her for car rides?

Who was the "main" parent with her?

I have heard that sometimes dogs act no different then kids when there is a divorce/seperation.

Child goes to dads for the weekend.Comes back and acts up for mom.Vice versa.

I have 2 GSD's...And I must say,I haven't had a problem with them at all.They were so very easy to train.And they learned pretty quick.

Here are my guys.

February 20th, 2004, 01:47 PM
Your GSD are breathtaking!

I run a day service for dogs out of my home, so when we were together Adami's exercise fell to me. Honestly she would have preferred being at her fathers heel all through the day, but obliged me with trips to the park in the AM. She would be quite content to be an "only child", but only when Ted is around. When it is just me (the only human around) she plays with the other dogs, and generally has a good time.
I am her "main" parent, she spends most of her days with me, Ted did take her for car rides, but she was pretty wacky then (a year ago) with both of us in the car.
I have settled her into car rides by taking her everywhere, being a single female it is nice to have the protection. The first time I really worked with her in the car I gave her sedetives (as prescribed by my vet) and after that she seemed ok. I only doped her up once, but she was a different girl after the initial trip. She also has a very rigid schedule here, which she is very sensitive too. Ted is party party time, so of course she'd rather be with him than here with me (and moose and etta).
She does act up when she gets home from spending time with her pop, she is growly with Etta (her pup) and if any dog really bothers her, she gives them the lip (you have shepperds, you know what I mean!).
Training is not a problem when it comes to obidience, I work her in the AM (long stays, heeling and such) before the other dogs show up, and weekends try to get to the agility course as often as I can (she is such a show off). Day time we practice in the bsmt, and she is very quick, but I have alot more room than Ted does, so working here is alot easier (my 2100sq' to his 400sq'). She was also "pinned" by some jerk in October, which messed her up a bit, but she seems to be fine with me now. She is very boy crazy though, even strangers (especially loves little boys, which boads well for my nephews) - I am thinking it is a gender thing, we seem to be getting 2 different dogs.

February 20th, 2004, 02:37 PM
Thank you.They are my babies.:D

Have you had her since she was a pup?

If so,how was she in the car?

When Tron and Yukon were pups,we always took them in the car.They loved it.And we definately had to get Tron used it.

February 20th, 2004, 02:57 PM
I have had her since she was 6 wks, yes way to early to be away from her mom. She was fine in the car until a trainer (and I use that term loosely) punched her for barking when we got to the park. He then instructed me to bite her ear each time she started to freak out. Good plan right! So of course being a new mom, I tried a variety of things (not biting her ear unless she murdered someone), but after the inital incident she was stupid whenever we went to the park (which is every day).
It is hard to see her triggers all the time, as she will be fine at an intersection one day, and the next she is flittin around like a fart in a mitten.
With Ted it is a whole different story. He is the good time guy, and apparently I am the heavy. When she is with him, she doesn't really stop trying to engage him in a game of fetch. Right now after 1hr at the park she is out cold under my desk with her brother (the little white guy in the above picture).
She was in a daycare (I used to be a groomer/trainer) where I worked, but they kennelled her with other dogs her age for the majority of the day. After a stupid long day we'd come home and go to the off leash across the street from my old house.
She and I met Ted when she was a little over 1, and she was immediatly infatuated - I think she has a shrine to him somewhere in the back yard still.:(

February 20th, 2004, 04:34 PM
My dogs just reminded me of something.....what kind of car do you drive Adam?
Why I'm asking is some cars make a weird noise (mosty the japanese type with the high whining engines).
My dogs go nuts when they hear that! Even the bikes with the high whissing sound.
But my dog will be totally quiet when a big ole Harley pulls up with no pipes. I know its the sound of the car that makes them nuts.
I'm just trying to think of a solution...maybe cotton balls in the ears? Like if its the car I mean lol! Not for you...well ok for you lol!
Trying to help :D

February 20th, 2004, 10:18 PM
Mona - Nice dogs! They look very well cared for...

Amaruq - I've had two different vehicles (1 foreign, 1 domestic), and same might be on to the right approach, though...I find myself wondering if some sort of 'static straps' or something might be the answer. I have seen her calm in cars before, though, so I am still confused!

Lucky - We are in agreement. Dominance has little to do with this situation, and your patient, repetitive approach just may be the only way to get over her real problem (my best guess as to that, anyway): over-excitement.
Not an easy task, though. Just came back from a ride, and I tried to talk to her, calm her, give her some down commands, etc., and she just yipped and squealed like a hyena right over my soothing tones. Didn't even stop to listen...then, we arrive at our destination (home) and she's quiet as a church mouse.

PrettyKitty - Adami wasn't the only one infatuated with me back then! ;)

February 21st, 2004, 09:45 AM
Thank you Adami.

And just think,I had both at the same time as pups.But I must say they were great when training.Guess I was lucky.:D

Have you tried a dog seatbelt.?The harness kind?

Also,what about trying to tire her out before she goes in the car?

Also,is she fixed?...If not maybe having her fixed will calm her down a bit.Just a thought.And health wise it is so much better for her.:D

February 21st, 2004, 08:49 PM
Adami isn't fixed due to the uterine infection she had when she last whelped. She gets blood panels about every 3 months to see if she is ready for the big op.
I do have a seat belt for her, but I find it a little tough to use. She snakes around and tangles herself up in it. A dog who is in the throws of excitment can easily step on the buckle the wrong way and set herself free.

I had use a kennel to ride with her before, and she flipped out in there too. The combo of car ride and dad seem to be what gets her howling.

The car ride home from the park (with me) she is often much calmer, so tired does help. But I think with Ted she would go until she drops, a rather scary thought. Infatuation is a funny thing.