Scared Dog [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Scared Dog

10-07-2005, 02:34 PM
We recently adopted our first dog...he's a doberman/beagle mix (yes a strange lovechild) - picture attached...he's kinda fat but a good doggie

He is scared of car rides and you have to make sure he is "empty" before you try to pick him up to get in the car. We have an 6 hour drive (we will stop for breaks to get out and stretch our legs) in late October and need to find out how he can stay in the Element as he wants to crawl on your lap while you drive. He also pants and leaves nice droplets of drool (doesn't do this normally only when in the car) making a mess so we are considering putting him in the back with a blanket but it seems like punishment...we want him close but not constantly trying to climb up front.

We will be hauling stuff and a 4 year old so we want to leave one seat up to make more luggage room - so has anyone made some type of "gate" that prevents their dog from this behavior while letting them stay close?


10-07-2005, 02:41 PM
Crate. For both your and his safety and comfort.

10-07-2005, 02:44 PM
unfortunately the crate won't fit in the back if one seat is down (both have to be up) and my son has to sit in the back.

Kayakin' Dan
10-07-2005, 02:50 PM
Better crate.

Or better dog.

Try hanging out in the driveway drinking beer all day with the car wide ass open. Put rover in and out of the car, give him favourite toys and snacks and what not and teach him that the Element is really the coolest place to be. S'what I had to do with my old VW bus and a German Shepard once. Might take a couple days hanging out in the driveway drinking beer, but you have a four year old...It's not going to get any better.

10-07-2005, 03:21 PM
Really the crate is the best option... if you could find one that fits!

Most dogs actually find comfort in the crate, it gives them a sense of security, and it also keeps the inside of your E clean.

But if the crate won't fit....

10-07-2005, 04:10 PM
Here to echo the CRATE recommendations... they come in many shapes and sizes. Maybe borrow one if you don't want to buy...

Dan's idea isn't bad, but I'd go a step further. Put him in the car & go no where. Then start taking him on SHORT rides - like just around the block. (And if you are going to crate him on the long ride, start doing it now for these short ones.) Maybe even have someone else sit in the back with him for the first few. Always do something FUN as soon as he gets out of the car (frisbee, fetch, dogpark, etc). Then a short ride to somewhere to do something fun (park, etc) and then have fun again when you come home. Slowly increase time in the car. He needs to learn that the car isn't scary / doesn't lead to scary things!

Since you adopted him, it's hard to know why cars freak him out, so you can only work on helping him feel secure now.

One of my dogs HATED my diesel wagon. He'd put his tail between his legs, start shaking... but didn't mind the Accord so much. I have no idea what the issue was (sound? smell? vibration? less room on the seat? Just didn't feel stable on it?) but since I got rid of it & got the E he has far less of an issue with getting in the car. It's clearly not his favorite thing (unlike his sister who LOVES the car), but he'll do it without sitting down & refusing to budge, shaking, or putting his tail down.

Just relating it to let you know that they can respond differently to different things - maybe the crate (or a different crate) will be useful.

Good luck!

10-07-2005, 05:38 PM
Some really great suggestions here.

I have a Beagle that I adopted when she was six months old. She got sick and would drool all over the place for the first four months I had her. She still gets worked up on long car rides.

WHY? The only thing I can think of is when she was younger (before I got her) the only time she got rides was the go to the VET to get fixed and to go to the shelter where I found her. Basically in her little Beagle mind she thinks I'm gonna get left here at a shelter in a cold cage or they are gonna knock me out and Uterus again! I have tried to explain that she only had one but all she thinks about is food and Squirrels. It's hard to get her to focus on anything else.

You might not know the history of this dog so your guess is as good as mine as to why the dog hates the car. What cured my dog was short trips to the dog park everyday. She went places that she enjoyed when she got there but we always returned home where she felt safe. She is much better in the car now. It just took time.

If my suggestion or the other good suggestions fail you might want to take the dog car shopping. Perhaps the dog is not comfortable with a Honda. He might like a Toyota or a nice German car. Test drive an Audi All Road wagon to see if he gets sick in that. I'm sure the folks at your local Audi dealer won't mind. What the hell stop by a Mercedes dealer and drive an ML. Maybe the dog likes a little more luxary.

Good luck and keep us informed!

Joe Mama

10-07-2005, 06:28 PM
he kind of looks like me after 12 beers ! :lol:

10-07-2005, 08:38 PM
But if the crate won't fit.... must acquit!

10-07-2005, 08:58 PM
Crate is excellent suggestion and your dog is adorable. :) Thank you for adopting him.

10-08-2005, 07:36 AM
trust me a crate will fit in the Element. i have had 8 crates in the rear before. you can put 2 behind the seats, or if you turn them longways and stack them you can fit them back there too. I will post a pic later, if needed, but we have two custom chrome cages we carry for the Aussie shepards.

10-08-2005, 09:41 AM
I like Kayakin' Dan's idea the best. It is the long term solution. I'm just not sure there is time to retrain the dog in the two weeks before the trip. That kind of training can take months. A crate would probably be the best idea for now.

One question, Dan. What if the dog doesn't like beer? :?

10-08-2005, 02:28 PM
Yes I am sorry I missed the two week thing. The Crate is the way to go. I am sure the good folks at Petsmart will let you take a few out to the parking lot to try them out in the Element before you buy.

I'm on the crate bandwagon now.

Joe Mama

10-08-2005, 03:53 PM
off the topic for a moment:

Is there anyone that can recall or find the thread that refered to the "backseat rider net" to keep your dogs from getting in the front seat. It was a great thread that also showed some installation pictures. I can't seem to find it anymore.

10-08-2005, 04:03 PM
nevermind.... sorry to waste anyones time....

Good looking net though.... :grin:

10-09-2005, 10:25 PM
nevermind.... sorry to waste anyones time....

Good looking net though.... :grin:this is what i'm more interested in...i have a crate but its just too big and i don't want to bring it with - have to have enough room for all of us in the car - wife, kid and luggage etc.

10-10-2005, 03:33 PM
I just ordered one of these nets from Should be here this week for me to test!

I have a pretty "excited" dog, so if there is a way to get through this thing, I am sure she will find it....

But it's a lot cheaper than a barrier, and doesn't leave dents in your headliner!

Should be an interesting experiment.....for me anyway :)

10-10-2005, 05:26 PM
You know, they make seat belts for dogs too. I have one & it's a simple harness that your seatbelt goes through. Safe for all - protects the dog if you stop suddenly, keeps him from coming up front too. He can just cuddle on your 4 year old's lap and be buckled in. You can get them at Petsmart, Petco, & all over the net for under $30.

10-10-2005, 05:49 PM
You know, they make seat belts for dogs too. I have one & it's a simple harness that your seatbelt goes through. Safe for all - protects the dog if you stop suddenly, keeps him from coming up front too. He can just cuddle on your 4 year old's lap and be buckled in. You can get them at Petsmart, Petco, & all over the net for under $30.hobie's about 45lbs (he's much bigger than a normal beagle) and my son's about 43lbs and my son's booster seat has arm rests so he won't be able to cuddle on his lap

anyway, hobie won't sit on the seat but wants to be on the driver's lap (me) and will slowly nudge his way past our hands while drooling all over the cupholders and ebrake...i'd rather him sit on the floor so he's low in the car but not be able to get up front...i want him to try to sleep as we will bring the bed from his cage...i figure if i can get him to sleep he'll be much more comfortable

hiker chick
10-10-2005, 08:23 PM
Your vet might suggest an anti-anxiety drug for him, for the car.

And a crate. Good luck! :)

10-10-2005, 09:06 PM
Yes they also have some over the counter type treats that have some herbs to naturally calm him down. I do not know how these work but it's worth a shot.

Xanax, now in Liver Flavor! Your dog will love 'em.

Joe Mama

10-10-2005, 10:13 PM
i was wondering the other day if they had doggie dramamine - i'll check with my vet what he recommends

10-10-2005, 11:00 PM
I've tried it with my Beagle with limited success. I just used the over the counter version based on my Vets advice.

Joe Mama

10-12-2005, 05:16 AM
My suggestions are 1) crate or varikennel (docksill shatters on impact) 2) doggy seat belt like rufffrider. Try covering the crate. Dogs like dens. Try ginger snaps - real ginger snaps in the box, not in the bag. Also, try rescue remedy. Rescue remdey is a natural tranqulizer, get it from pet stores. Not a bad thing to have around when needed. Many Belgian Sheepdog pups will urp for the first 9 months then out grow it. Oh, if the pup is strapped to the seat, and gives a warning before urpping, you can use a plastic bag to catch the output. Been there done that :)

Containing the dog(s) in the vehicle is for the dog's safety and yours. If you have an accident, you don't want a projectile in the vehicle or a dog running loose. Chance rides in the back seat of the truck with a ruffrider seat belt. Crate won't fit.

put the luggage on the roof rack along with the kid :twisted:

In the bottom of the crate, put lots of newspapers, topped with a thick, soft pad. The padding absorbs vibrations, cushions bumps and makes a comfortable ride. Chance's crate looks so comfortable, I almost want to ride in it.

10-12-2005, 09:56 AM
I vote for the crate as first choice. You can often find them very cheap at thrift stores. A cage is OK, too, but drape some towels over the top and sides to give it a more closed-in feel.

Some foks think that confinement of any sort is somehow "wrong." But for most animals, a crate provides security. Where does a dog go when he is sick or frightened? He finds a "cave" or den -- someplace that is closed in, where he can relax completely and doesn't have to worry about watching his own back.

Another alternative:

We once had a beloved family pooch who freaked-out in the car until our vet gave us some Vallium for him. We just slipped him a pill before a long road trip amd he became very mellow, usually dozing quietly most of the way.

An unexpected side-benefit was that after several such "quiet" trips, he calmed down on his own and the tranquilizers were no longer needed.

10-13-2005, 12:00 PM
I just picked up one of these folding crates from Wal-mart for $56! What a difference! Not only does it make my life so much easier when driving, our dog is MUCH calmer and ended up sleeping most of the day yesterday, while we were on a museum road trip!

Usually she is all over the place and constantly trying to get in the front with us... I was also very nervous about leaving her in the car for very long without supervision... Last time she chewed on the gear shifter! But not anymore!

The nice thing about this crate, is that is folds down to a rather small size should you need to store it away. Unfortunately It is too big to have either seat down with it. I purchased the large model. The small one I am sure would fit beside a seat if you removed the other one.

As it is in my vehicle, I have taken out one seat and the other is folded up. Should I need to take a third passanger with me, I would have to fold the crate down and slide it in the back to make room for the third seat. Becuase of MY needs, this works just fine!

Overall a great purchase, I would highly recommend this model. The price alone was fair, compared to Petco and various other local pet stores. The average price was $100+. So I felt that $56 was more than fair!

10-26-2005, 11:41 PM
just an update and how things went

put up the passenger rear seat (only 3 of us and i love the extra room)

bought a $12 net online from one of the sites listed - installed it behind the one remaining rear seat and across the path using the lower floor mounts (chrome things (can only see them when the seat is up) and secured them to the holy **** handles above the rear seats)...used several bungee cords to tie down the net so you can't get through it...had to installed a bungee at the top to the sunroof as he'd try to pull down the net and climb over (did some trial runs)

we put his doggie bed from his crate (which he sleeps on while we are at work - and no the door is open so he can roam the house during the day) in the back and had the vet get us a prescription of doggie dramamine (don't remember the name)...gave him a pill 30 min before the start of the trip and a full meal...after 15mins of him whining he would lie down and pass out...we basically drove the whole 7 hours with one stop to get out and eat and stretch our legs

all in all it wasn't so bad...when we'd slow to a stop he'd whine a little bit as thinking we were done...but he never got sick or did the drooling...just tested the net a little and gave up

btw...watkins glen racetrack is like driving a roller coaster...friday it was nice and sunny and saturday it rained most of the time...if you get a chance come catch some porsche 944 cup action (mid atlantic)

11-09-2005, 06:43 AM
Crate is one way to go. Also, ruff rider seat belt harness:

Whole Dog Journal gave this harness a high rating. There are no snaps in the front to pop open and no straps around the neck to strangle the dog. It is best to try it on the dog, Chance wears one size smaller then suggested on the Web site. Blegian Sheepdogs are skinny dogs - bodies like furry greyhounds.

Chance wears his when riding in the Jeep (no space for the crate)

11-16-2005, 04:38 PM
There is a great product available at natural food stores called Bach's Rescue Remedy.

It has proven to work very well. A two or three drops on the tounge of your poochie and all will be well.

It is a natural product. I have used it too with nice results.

Here is a link to the distributor for more info.

Good Luck