We’ve talked about the importance of securing your Goldendoodle while in the vehicle to prevent injuries to her. Let’s dive a little deeper into car travel with your Goldendoodle companion. Some dogs love to ride in the car or truck, bounding with unbridled enthusiasm when you rattle the keys and say, “Let’s go, girl.” Others cringe and try to slink away at the mere mention of getting in the car.
Why is that? The reason some dogs love to go for rides while others appear to detest it is simple: experience. Those loveable Goldendoodles that thrill for the chance to get in the car have had positive experiences associated with travel, while those that get anxious have had negative experiences.
How would you feel if the only reason you had ever taken a car ride was to go to the doctor for some invasive procedure or treatment? Some owners only put their Goldendoodle into the car to go to the vet to get spayed or neutered, or to get shots. That builds a negative association.
So how do you build a positive experience?
First things first. Make sure your Goldendoodle has had all her shots. Platinum Goldendoodles are up to date with their shots when they go to their forever homes. Make sure you visit the vet as needed. Then it’s time to go places.
The safest method for traveling in a car is to put your Goldendoodle in a secure, crash-tested crate. Remember, this is not a cage. This is to provide the most secure environment in case the worst happens. At the very least, use a seatbelt specially designed to secure your companion safely. If you are in an accident, a loose dog is more likely to get seriously injured.
Practice makes perfect
The first time you go to the vet should be a practice run. Try a Sunday afternoon when the vet is closed.
Take her to the vet, get her out of the vehicle, and practice obedience. Every situation is an opportunity to learn and build positive associations. Use a touchpad. Set her down on the ground and feed her a few bits of kibble or snacks. Some dogs really like carrots.
Take her to a Big Box store retailer and get her out on the touchpad there, staying as far away from other people as possible. Feed her. Reward her for staying on the pad. This builds the positive association in her mind. She is thinking, “When we go for a ride, we are going to get a treat at the end of it.” Pick her up and take her back home.
At this point, your dog is going to have a positive experience with car trips. She is going to have a positive association with going to the vet. She’ll be enthusiastic about car trips. Controlling the environment allows you to create those positive associations.