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Linda Simon
Linda Simon,
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 4844
Experience:  Locum veterinarian at Panacea pets ltd
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I changed my car in March and for the first 3 months Harley,

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I changed my car in March and for the first 3 months Harley, my 9 year old black lab, was fine about getting in the boot or anywhere else in the car. He now won't get in - the mere mention of going out in the car or walking towards it seems to upset him. His tail goes between his legs and he shakes. Treats or toys thrown in don't work. As far as I know, nothing has harmed him in the car. He will happily jump in anyone else's car. I did wonder whether it was the electric boot but he won't even jump on the back seat.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: No wounds
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Harley
JA: Is there anything else the Dog Trainer should be aware of about Harley?
Customer: No dont think so
Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Just a few minutes as I type my response
As he had previously been happy to get in the boot and we cannot think of any negative experiences, I would start to think of non-behavioural issues.
I appreciate he will happily get in other cars but it may be that they are easier to get into or that the novelty means he is too excited to notice any discomfort.
In a Lab of his age my very first thought would be that this may be a mobility issue. Certainly, a large proportion of senior Labradors will have some degree of arthritis, spondylitis or hip dysplasia. Signs can initially be very subtle and refusing to make a big jump may be the first sign. You may also notice a general slowing down, stiffness to rise after resting, sitting with knees to the side, bunny hopping when running etc. You may also notice that the muscles of the thighs/rump are less plump than usual.
A vet can examine him to determine if this may be the issue. If so, there are many things we can do to help. Management can include weight loss (if needed), joint supplements, pain relief, hydrotherapy etc..
With Harley, this would absolutely be the first thing I would want to rule in or out.
Other considerations would be possible nausea , which can be common during car travel. Signs can include panting, salivating and restlessness during the drive. Travelling on an empty stomach and anti nausea medicine can help. However, if he is settled once travelling this is unlikely the issue.
I would consider using a ramp rather than asking him to jump to see if this is preferred.
If we rule out joint/mobility problems I would make an effort to make your boot as welcoming as possible. Have a thick padded blanket, ensure it is well ventilated and there is plenty of light and he is able to see out. Consider spraying Adaptil on the blanket before he enters.
Please let me know if this answers your question and if you have any further queries, which I would be happy to help with.
All the best, ***** *****
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He does have a slight problem with his shoulder but i place the car level with the bank in my garden so he doesn't have to jump in! I was going to have my car valeted in case there is a smell in there that he doesn't like and I will buy some Adaptil. Ive also been thinking, as a last resort, of changing my car for one with a manual boot! I did wonder whether that was the problem but he won't even get onto the front or back seat! Thank you.
He is really testing you isnt he?! I would certainly aim to make the jump as minimally impactful as possible. I would also reward him every time he gets in with his favourite treat and lots of praise.
Valeting isnt a bad idea.
It may also be worth trying loading him in in a slightly different location. It may sound strange but I've seen dogs who won't get in the car in their own drive but if you park a few spaces down the street and walk them there then they will!
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