Sudden reaction to riding in the car

LilF

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UGH, where do I begin...... So the new dog I drove home for 4 hours on Friday did fine in the car (maybe she was just happy to get out of the shelter environment?) She was transported in a crate by a transport service where she did tremble but when I drove her home she was fine, no crate, just a person in the backseat with her. I had used rescue remedy, calming music and the Adaptil. She was sometimes restless but overall got home ok. So forward to the next day, I took her for a ride. 10 minutes into the ride she gets up on the console, has a scary look and barks wildly. I stop the car and let her out on the road, put her back in the car, and did that 4 times because each time back in the car resulted in the same reaction only it didn't take as long to get that reaction each time. I know it was the wrong thing to let her out but I don't know the dog and was worried she would bite me. I ended up walking her home and picking up my car later from the road where I parked it.

So, a couple people said she thought she was going back to the shelter. She is super happy here. But now having separation anxiety when I leave even if someone is here. I know about leaving her for short periods, a couple minutes and building up . But I am a prisoner, could not get her to a vet or do my errands. I have been putting the Jackson Galaxy Trauma in her water. I just do not find the rescue remedy to work all that well sprinkling it in the backseat of the car or on her fur. Am I mixing things I shouldn't. What can I do. She does want to go in the car but doesn't want to go ANYWHERE. I just sit in the car with her and she has barked. This morning she nosed the car, I let her in and she just went in and out in a few minutes. I am weaning her off Trazadone, my vet said that if she was on it for a while to wean. But I have read it does no good and my own past experience with another dog it made him worse.

Is there something else I should use when I leave the house to do some basic errands ? More importantly I need to get her to ride in the car. I had to go out of town in a few weeks and I won't be able to take her with me if she can't go 10 minutes up the road without a reaction. BTW, the ride home from the shelter was 4 hours and she was ok so this is weird. If you recommend a homeopathic how would I give it. Not sure I can put it in her mouth yet. I did get the aconite, I have arnica too, I have rescue remedy and the Adaptil to spray. I am kneecapped but she is a sweet dog in spite of the above. I sleep better since she has been here. She sleeps next to me. BTW, I named her BLOSSOM because she did blossom from being shut down for the past month, almost instantly. So that name was appropriate. She also blossomed in a couple negative ways too :))) I want to feed her better but do not have the food to do so yet so she eats kibble for a while yet topped with ground turkey and some bison which is the best I can do right now. Thank you!!!
 

Dr. Christina

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@jenbridwell - Definitely want our resident behavior expert to chime in.
Most importantly, know this is fairly normal for a rescue to be perfect in every way for a few days, then they let their anxieties or behavior issues appear. Happens with young adopted children as well, especially with different languages. Takes time to get to know each other.

I would recommend speaking with one or two animal intuitives.
I would continue to go towards the car with a treat, sit in the car and pet for just a few minutes then get out and play. You can do this several times a day.

Love to hear people's suggestions about developing a love for a crate. Remember dogs need to sleep many hours a day in a quiet area.

Maybe listen to Lisa Spector's empower hour and get her CDs.

Critical to work on you! Be calm. Think only positive thoughts.
Dr. Christina
 

LilF

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@Dr. Christina She is weird. I have a car in the driveway. When we are in the drive she sniffs around that car and WANTS to go in. So I let her and just sit there with her and let her out before I get any reaction. So she has no adverse reaction getting in the car at all and even wants to. So I let her each time she indicates and sit in there with her. If she starts barking, I wonder if I should wait till she stops and then let her out or maybe I should leave the car and leave her in there till she stops. When she is in high gear she is not interested in treats so I guess I might just leave some in the back seat for her to find when she gets in. Maybe she smells happy chemicals in that car (it is the one my JJ who loved the car was in hours a day). The car she had a reaction in was the one she traveled in to get here from the shelter experience. I cannot fit a crate in my car but she was transported in one. The one dog I had with separation problems did better with the run of the house and got out of the crate in spite of me not being able to this day to figure out how she did it with bars tied closed. She is still not liking kibble so I have to go out and find something else. She does love real food though.
 

GinnyW

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I'm not a behaviorist, but I'd go with very short exposures and big rewards. In the crate, out of the crate - reward. In the crate, walk yourself around the house but stay visible, more or less, release and reward. In the car, out of the car, reward. And be sure to fuss over her when you reward! Maybe do something she DOES like right after release from crate or car, and not always food. Drive the car down the driveway, back, release and reward. Short leash walk, reward. And see if you can knock off the kibble soonest. Try people food, cooked eggs, toast, nice warm veggies and meat. Tiny portions, to keep interest high. Keep yourself upbeat - there are NO failures here, and you need to surround her with anxiety-free love. Tell her how beautiful she is, and how happy you are she came to you to help you heal. Sit with her, pet her, and tell her stories about your other wonderful pups. I think this will go faster than you expect....
 

Dr. Jeff

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Congratulations Lil on your new beautiful baby with the super beautiful name!
Is there something else I should use when I leave the house to do some basic errands ? More importantly I need to get her to ride in the car.
Yes! Give her time to acclimate and relax and give her tons of unconditional love (in addition to all the great strategies that Ginny and Dr. Christina mentioned).

She'll be fine when you go away. I agree with your friend that she petrified of being driven back to the shelter. Maybe drive her a few houses away and take her for a walk and give her lots of treats.
 

LilF

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I'm not a behaviorist, but I'd go with very short exposures and big rewards. In the crate, out of the crate - reward. In the crate, walk yourself around the house but stay visible, more or less, release and reward. In the car, out of the car, reward. And be sure to fuss over her when you reward! Maybe do something she DOES like right after release from crate or car, and not always food. Drive the car down the driveway, back, release and reward. Short leash walk, reward. And see if you can knock off the kibble soonest. Try people food, cooked eggs, toast, nice warm veggies and meat. Tiny portions, to keep interest high. Keep yourself upbeat - there are NO failures here, and you need to surround her with anxiety-free love. Tell her how beautiful she is, and how happy you are she came to you to help you heal. Sit with her, pet her, and tell her stories about your other wonderful pups. I think this will go faster than you expect....
Yesterday I left the house 4 times for at least a half hour. Other times left and came right back in, like taking garbage out. She was ok.... she did get excited but I ignored her when I got home. Yesterday I left her a snuffle mat and walked her 8 times to burn off energy. She does not have to be with me in the room I am in so she is good there. Question: I have a car in the driveway she indicates wanting to go into. Have not gone anywhere but I do want to try it today. Should I avoid the car that she did have the reaction in? If she starts barking should I wait till she stops before letting her out?
When we drove home for 4 hours from the shelter pickup I had someone in the back seat with her the whole time. Do you think that was a factor that helped? When she had the bad reaction saturday I was the only one in the car with her. Maybe she would like to ride in the front seat with me so I could try that too.
Finally, is this a time to use a strong homeopathic like aconite? Should I just douse the back seat with rescue remedy only? The car she wants to go in still has JJ's old blanket in there so maybe she picks up on his exuberant love of the car too. Thanks for all the input. I will talk to her even more than I do now.
 

GinnyW

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Um, no! Do not ignore her! Give her praise and a treat, and be sure to spell it out that you are SO proud of her for staying quiet and calm while you are gone! I am not a snuffle mat expert, but I should think that this also is a "participation sport", where huge benefits come from your positive encouragement. Go about your business, but don't hover. Just let her watch and give quiet praise.

Same with the cars: let her in, let her explore. Do not leave her in there to bark. Keep the whole experience positive by letting her out and rewarding, for now. I suggest starting the car, watching her reaction carefully, talking to her and telling her what's happening, and working up to trips round the block. Being slow and methodical should obviate the need for a "panic" remedy - you should NEVER get to that stage while you are teaching/training. You want to build her confidence and, most importantly, her trust. Then anything to which you expose her will be under the umbrella of your safety, and all will be not only possible but positive and healthy. Do't push it, let her learn she is safe at her own pace. And do remember that she needs a lot of safe rest, in her crate if she is comfortable there.

Many accepted "training" methods are not well thought out, and the dogs end up thinking the owners are nuts, but they HAVE to do what is forced upon them. This is not love and cooperation. We must TEACH dogs, not beat them up or scare them...
 

LilF

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Can I use essential oils AND rescue remedy in the back seat of the car or do they conflict? I already have Jackson Galaxy Trauma in her water bowl. What about CBD oil on a treat for the car ride? Does that interfere with Trazadone? My other dog never liked the taste of Ellevet so I have some other brands here.
 

LilF

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Um, no! Do not ignore her! Give her praise and a treat, and be sure to spell it out that you are SO proud of her for staying quiet and calm while you are gone! I am not a snuffle mat expert, but I should think that this also is a "participation sport", where huge benefits come from your positive encouragement. Go about your business, but don't hover. Just let her watch and give quiet praise.

Same with the cars: let her in, let her explore. Do not leave her in there to bark. Keep the whole experience positive by letting her out and rewarding, for now. I suggest starting the car, watching her reaction carefully, talking to her and telling her what's happening, and working up to trips round the block. Being slow and methodical should obviate the need for a "panic" remedy - you should NEVER get to that stage while you are teaching/training. You want to build her confidence and, most importantly, her trust. Then anything to which you expose her will be under the umbrella of your safety, and all will be not only possible but positive and healthy. Do't push it, let her learn she is safe at her own pace. And do remember that she needs a lot of safe rest, in her crate if she is comfortable there.

Many accepted "training" methods are not well thought out, and the dogs end up thinking the owners are nuts, but they HAVE to do what is forced upon them. This is not love and cooperation. We must TEACH dogs, not beat them up or scare them...
Wow, yeah, I just got home and she was good. I ignored. Have to change my tune on that to tell her she was a good girl. I thought maybe if I left the car running to see if she would get in, then I don't have to abruptly start the car as it will be running already, just to see if she gets in or shows interest. I would not push or force. She has been going up to the car to want in. Maybe my car running idea is not a good one...... I will try having her in the front seat next and watch. I guess data collection is important here. Thanks Ginny......Everything else is so good so far. Nobody ever thought she would open up except me!
 

GinnyW

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These measures are for when teaching has failed, for one or another reason. That said, a little Rescue Remedy or something like it may help a bit with an emergency situation which you cannot avoid or teach around. But these should not be depended upon as a crutch. Normally occurring events like car rides should be taken in stride - most dogs do learn to love cars - and if you teach properly there should be no need for calming agents. Save them for exigent circumstances. You are smart enough to do this - deep breath, please. You've got her, now celebrate! If you need to go somewhere or do something a bit too new or strange, use the same method you have already taught, stay calm and consistent, and reward for performance, not just throwing treats aimlessly. One or another chemical remedy MAY help take the edge off, but never use them in lieu of explanation, love and patience. She is no longer a street dog, a shelter dog. She is your heart, your family....
 

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