On The Road Again: Basic Car Etiquette For Well Behaved Dog Trippers

Kevin Roberts
by Kevin Roberts

What’s the longest period of time you’ve ever been in a car with a dog (or four dogs, for that matter)? For Kevin Roberts, he’s driven through Canada, down to Wisconsin, up to the Yukon before making his way back home again. You can say he’s spent a fair amount of time trapped in a vehicle with his pooches. Here are a few commands that have made life on the road that much easier for both him and his dogs.

Sometimes long periods spent in the car can be a good test of a relationship. The close confines can really turn minor pet peeves into major annoyances! With some basic training tips, your dog will be well behaved in the car and your relationship will be the stronger for it

Basic Training

Your dog may be well behaved enough for your regular life in your home (or he may not be!). But before you hit the open road, you are going to want to do some basic training with your dogs to ensure this is a safe and successful trip. Before you get in the car, here are a few things your dog should know:

Come: This means come when called, no matter what, no matter where. This command could save your dog’s life!

Stay: In the car, when you open the door. Practice this one once your dog has a solid recall. You want to be able to open the door, and the dog doesn’t jump out. There may be times you simply wish to open the door, not go on a doggie adventure. Rover better sit until you tell him otherwise!

Eat: Some people have dogs that are wonderful eaters, and will eat anytime, anywhere. Other dogs can get really picky, or become stressed on a long road trip. For these dogs, it’s best to start to feed them in a variety of places before the trip. If you always feed the dog in the kitchen, try the hallways, then the backyard, then the car. Walk your dog to the park and feed him dinner there. The point is, on the trip, your dog will need to feel comfortable eating and drinking anywhere you stop. The point is to practice as often as you can before you leave if you have a picky dog.

Pee: Watch your dog, and when he relives himself, attach a word or phrase to it, such as “Go Pee,” then offer a reward. Keep this up for a while, until your dog relives himself on command. When you are on a road trip with your dog, you will not be following your usual schedule. The command to go pee will come in handy at rest stops when everybody will need to get out to stretch their legs and empty their bladders… even if they don’t really need to go.

Restraint: There is no command associated with this one, but plan ahead on how you will secure your dog in the vehicles. Whether you use a barrier, a seatbelt or a crate, ensure that your dog is comfortable and well behaved when restrained in the car. A whiny, barking, anxious dog is a distraction and dangers. Your decision on how to restrain your dog in the will be influenced by the size of your dog, the size of your car and how much gear you are bringing with you.

Kevin has more tips next week, as he talks about what to take on your trip and some of the things he likes to do when he’s away from home. And don’t forget to read last week’s article on what to do before you leave home.

Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!

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