My poodle Little Star is 7 years old. Will be 8 in a month. She's the most darling thing until you get her in a car. She's just never been a good car rider. She whines, pants, barks, patty cakes, occasionally sits, but never lays down and goes to sleep. All my other dogs would get in the car find a comfortable spot and go to sleep. Some how they'd sense we were near our destination and they'd wake up and be ready to get out of the car.
The first few years I think Little Star would know we were close to our destination by the sheer desperation sweat coming from our every pour. We would be so stressed out from her anxiousness. Didn't matter if the trip was 30 minutes or 3 hours. She's barking the kids are yelling. We're yelling and the dog is SO whiney. Not her fault I'm sure, but what did we do wrong this time around?
She sits in the back seat with the kids, so it's been their job to keep her at least quiet. Also their job to keep her from patty caking the back of my driving arm with her dagger sharp poodle nails. I'm the driver for the most part. Years ago I had a neck injury and the pain from it coupled with my already in place motion sickness just made it easier on me if I did all the driving.
Little Star hasn't experienced riding with me in a car when I'm not driving. A couple years ago I tried riding in the back seat and about 30 minutes later I cried UNCLE. Dear hubby pulled over and let me drive. I was SO sick I just felt awful the whole rest of the 3 hour trip.
Well, this past labor day weekend I don't know what got into me, but I decided to give it another try. This time around I swore I'd make sure I did no reading and look out the front window as much as I could. I don't know what was different this time, but I felt great.
Then something happened that made us all relax. Little Star did a few scratching nest building twirls and laid down and went to sleep. I guess I didn't dare get sick and disturb this freakish event. She slept all the way to our destination. Then she slept all the way back. I was in the back seat both times. I am her alpha dog. Was she afraid to disobey me? Or was she able to relax and lay down next to me like she does at home? I'm not sure what it was, but I'm going to try riding in the back seat and do some car training. Maybe we can stop her anxious behavior.
I've felt so bad for her in the past. In fact after our Memorial day trip this year I thought maybe I should consider getting her a sedative. I hate having her so upset, but I hate the idea of drugging her more. I didn't get her a sedative for this trip, because I figured she's been doing this for years and it hasn't killed her. I did though get in the back seat to see if it would help. Surprisingly, it worked GREAT! To coin and old phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words.
20 hours ago