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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So many apologies in advance if this is too pet oriented for you all, but I'm fresh out of ideas concerning Strider my Aussie mix and I need different perspectives.

About two years ago, I was rear ended while turning into the parking lot outside my favorite trail head. I had Zoso, Strider, and a foster dog with me and my Saturn was totaled. However, all the dogs were fine...physically at least. Well, now I have a Chevy Impala with a bigger back seat and ever since, Strider has been nervous (and understandably so) and won't relax in the car. Even during a 5 hour car trip (if I drive up to my parents' house), he will not usually lie down in the back seat like the other dogs. It's gotten to the point where he stays in a half sit half standing bracing position as if he's waiting for us to go get hit from behind again. Sometimes this causes him to defecate because he is in a bit of a squatting position and I guess it just relaxes his bowels. He'll do it whether he's loose in the back or in a crate and it can be on a ride for just 5 minutes. We can take him potty beforehand and he won't need to go, but sometimes he'll still go in the car just because he'll assume that position. He just refuses to lie down and just squats and tongue flicks and salivates. He does it in my husband's Camry when he drives, but no accidents like with me (I drive the dogs around much more though).

Suffice it to say that even though I know it isn't this fault and I can't really scold him, this is getting highly annoying. Normally for my clients I'd suggest counter conditioning and that sort of thing by taking very short trips and that sort of thing, which I've done. He just refuses to relax. Short of buying a big SUV or station wagon and having him loose in the back (which I can't do), any ideas? I should sue the idiot girl who rear ended me for post traumatic stress disorder. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is there room for a crate?
He'll do it whether he's loose in the back or in a crate and it can be on a ride for just 5 minutes.
So yeah...even bought a bigger crate (an XL instead of a L) for the ride home from the vet (he had a check up today) thinking maybe he needed a little more floor space. Yup, pooped in that one too.

He can be in the car when it's not moving just fine. He hops up there no problem when it is time to go somewhere and if I have to run errands and have them wait in the car (it being cool enough to do so, of course), he's fine. No whining, barking, salivating, etc. The car in motion, even just a little bit, is the trigger. He adopts the bracing posture, starts to tongue flick and lick, pant, and salivates. No whining though at least. I'd prefer not to have to sedate him because we take several trips a week to the trails, especially during the summer, and it seems not right to sedate a dog for a 5 minute car ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't had anyone sit in the backseat with him, but my husband will sit in the front seat turned around and I'll be driving and he'll still do it.
 

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Sounds to me that he is commenting on your driving prowess - ever thought of letting him take the wheel?

Seriously, is there anything he really likes (food, chew toy, bones) that would distract/relax him while in the car??
 

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Have someone wear a rubber suit or a giant full body condom like in naked gun, and sit in the back seat with him and force him to down. Don't let him practice that stupidity or it will continue to be a habbit for him. Don't try to comfort him, its just like any fear based reaction from a dog "aww its a good boy, you're damn right to be scared because I'm gonna plow into someone any minute now, good boy for bracing yourself already! you're the smart one" :lol:

The shitting IMO is less to do with the squatting and more to do with fear, but I could be wrong. But dogs tend to poop out of fear, if he's scared of the car ride then that would be a likely explanation. So have somone force him to down and don't praise until he's down and calm.
 

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for lack of any other bright ideas, i tend to agree w/Al and Mike. could be a long haul tho. start out w/Strider in his crate w/someone back there, "down", increase "down" time b/f you even put the car in drive...go slow, slow slow. i think it would be fair to correct for breaking the down, and perhaps at the beginning of the training, do use drugs. you too if you need to! just don't drive!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ian, he is not highly food motivated, so even when I use a high priority food reward to try to get him to lie down like hotdog or cheese, he'll mouth it and spit it out because of the state of anxiety he is in.

Mike, I know all too well not to comfort him. I'm generally a fairly good behaviorist if I don't say so myself. ;) However, this is just stumping me. He's not exactly squatting like when dogs normally are about to poop. It's more of a bracing posture. The front legs are a bit splayed out and locked and the back legs are tucked but locked. Like if you've had a dog on a leash that doesn't want to go somewhere and pulls back against you instead of moving forwards. It's like he doesn't want to go flying forward or something (not that I blame him after getting rear ended).

Ann, he's a very soft dog who does not take corrections well (takes a while to recover from even a light to moderate correction) and will not take food rewards after being corrected, so I think I'll try to make it as low key as possible.

Kristen, thanks for the product ideas. In addition, someone suggested a calming cap (made by Premier): http://www.premier.com/pages.cfm?id=188 as they are apparently helpful for trips to the vet and car rides and other stressful things. I've also tried Sniffers, which are training treats that have some sort of calming herbs for calm and focus during training exercises. Doesn't seem to really help.

All I am really glad is the raw diet makes his poop fairly hard (or a little powdery) so when it does happen, I usually just have to take the blanket out of the car and give it a good shake and throw it in the wash. So at least it's not liquid...
 

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Rescue Remedy has a few ingredients that might actually work, but it's one of those 1 part per fifty zillion (as in zero parts, IMO) things.

The thing is, it's largely alcohol.

I may be wrong, but I think maybe a shot of Schnapps would be similar and cheaper.

Again, many people swear by the stuff, and I am open-minded....... I've just never REALLY seen homeopathic stuff work. (Herbal, yes, absolutely .... but in parts-per-million that don't require 11 decimal places).

JMO. :>)
 

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Rescue remedy is usually touted by people that have a dog come in to a new situation a little nervous, then they put the dog on the stuff and magically 5 days later, the dog isn't nervous anymore.

A long way of saying it is crap.



 
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