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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Just rescued 9 year border collie. Agitated in car, excessive

Resolved Question:

Just rescued 9 year border collie. Agitated in car, excessive panting, barking and growling at cars passing. Worse when passing parked cars. When stop the car goes balistic, but settles when open door. Found abandoned on motorway when pup, could this have something to do with it?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi Sir or Madam,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
So he is fine getting in and out but once the car is started he starts becoming agitated as if anticipating issues.
He is worse when cars pass and parked cars that you go by make him worse.
What about if you have a car stopped next to you. Is he worse or better?
Can he see out the windows with the pet tunnel?
Has he ever vomited?
How long have you had him?
Where did you get him?
what have you tried besides the pet tunnel?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Only had 1 week. His previous owner could no longer look after him due to health issues. He was about to be put down. When driving he doesn't bark at all cars, but remains standing and tense. Becomes frantic when passing cars parked at side of road or beside us in traffic queue. Never vomited. Can see out window. Goes in car no problem. Hesitant in getting out car.


He suffered from fits since 5 years old controlled by medication.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Janice,.I've received your reply and am working on your reply. I just wanted to let you know it would take 30-45 minutes.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.



It sounds like he may be getting motion sickness and the motion sickness is causing the behavior issue. It may not be causing him to vomit, but is making him uncomfortable. Motion sickness is worse if you can't see out a window. Some people use Benadryl to calm their dog before car travel and Dramamine is also used for motion sickness, but your Vet should be consulted before using Dramamine.

Benadryl can be given to your dog, the dose is up to 2mg per pound every 8 hours. The dosage for Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate) for motion sickness is 2-4 mg/pound by mouth every 8 hours. Any medication should be given an hour in advance to car trip.I have a dog that used to constantly pace and jump around the car as well and no training would help, but Dramamine helped even though he wasn't actually vomiting.

For anxiety, herbal rescue remedy is often used, but another option is a DAP collar that uses pheromones to calm a dog. It emits pheromones similar to those produced by a mother when nursing pups. You might try giving the medication, waiting an hour and then put him in the car and just move up the driveway slowly so he sees that it isn't the same as it is normally. He may still be anxious since he is used to it making him uncomfortable, so I would still use a DAP collar so he is calmer as well.

Additonally, Training will help as well. I would start the dog on obedience training so you can command him to lay down and stay. I would also work on the quiet command which is usually easier to teach after teaching the speak command.


The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.


Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.


And here is instructions on teaching the speak and quiet command.

If this doesn't work for the barking, you may have to try a citronella bark collar or a shock collar. Try the training first. I really think that will be your best bet for the barking.


You can also attach a leash to your dog and sit in the back with him while someone else drives around. Start in the driveway and take some paper thin hot dog slices or raw liver pieces with you. Have your helper start the car and if the dog moves, give the leash a tug to get his attention and a firm "NO" and order him back down. You can have your helper turn the car off again. Repeat until he stays down. The minute he doesn't immediately get up, give him a tasty treat. After the first time he succeeds, each successive time should be quicker. Once he is staying down start moving the car, repeating the above exercise until he is staying down when the car is moving up and down the driveway or your street. Reward desired behavior and reprimand undesired behavior.


You will work on each situation slowly. First keep him in the down position and once he is staying down all the time, then work on the barking if the quiet command is not already learned. The bark collars can help with this but training works as well as long as you have a helper so you can reward or reprimand behavior appropriately.


After only a week, it is going to take time for him to adjust to you and calm down. You might want to also consider a crate where he can only see out the front and can not look out the sides. Often looking out the side windows will cause any nausea from motion even worse, so keeping them from seeing cars whiz by will help.


Combining training, training tools and pheromones will often correct situations faster than using just one technique at a time.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


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