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Barking In The Car

Your dog may be over-excited and probably stressed!

Over excited dogs

There’s a huge difference between a dog that is happy, calm or excited and a dog that is over-excited to the point that it’s stressed. When I tell my dogs we are going for a walk they wag their tails and are happy, but there is no stress. There’s no jumping up, barking, trying to take control, no panting, bulging of the eyes, back flipping or climbing the walls.

Painting is a common sign of stress. Since dogs can’t sweat through their coats, they pant to cool down when they become overheated. The question to question yourself is why does my dog have to calm down? If I were to say to you, would you like to go to the movies, restaurant, beach or visit a friend you may get excited but you would not start to sweat! When you start to recognize the signs, then you start to see the picture: that your dog is panting and yet it is cold outside, and she has not been exercising. This is stress related painting.

There are many other more subtle signs however the key is only knowing how to calm your dog down.

What level is your dog at on the energy meter? ……Nearer 10 than 1 most likely, the solution is to get them nearer 1 and then progress ahead with the journey.

The car trip:

A car is a strange machine when looked at through a dog’s eyes… “Controlled by an unknown force, we seem to swing one way then the other moving through dangers that we have survived miraculously so far, almost defended by the invisible shield and always I am there. The dog – protecting – is barking and warning all who come near to stay back, “I have my job to do, it is not easy, but I do it as best I can.”.

Calm Freeze to stop the triggers:

Many dogs start off are only a little over excited but quickly become more stressed when the trigger such as a motor bike drives past. If this is the case then with the help of a second person take your dog by the collar in a Calm Freeze and gently pull your dog’s head down so that it is unable to see the object. Again, when your dog can’t see the object, it becomes less intense. It is not safe to do this if you are driving, so you will have to set up some specific training session when you have time.

Using a crate to assist you:

If you have a crate, then these can be used to stop your dogs barking.

The solution:

  1. Pack leader– first establish yourself as the pack leader using the 5 Golden Rules.
  2. Prepare to take your dog for a walk – bring out the lead and start to walk your dog around the car.
  3. Take tiny steps – slowly move towards having your dog in the car with the doors shut and eventually the engine turned on.
  4. Get your time – if you need to take the car for your daily walk then I suggest you spend 5 minutes working on the car and then go for a walk, followed at the end by some more car work.
  5. Okay calm associations – the secret is to make sure that from now on all connections with the car are calm, relaxing and active.

Other tools and techniques

Two other things to assist you when you are driving are the use of the smooth freeze and the use of a crate.


If you have a crate, then this is often a very effective way to calm your dog down. You will want an assistant to help you with this as you will be driving. Place your dog in the back of your car in a calm state having completed all the lead training work discussed above. As soon as your dog barks, place a blanket over your dog’s crate without a word being spoken and then remove it when your dog has been silent for 3 seconds. Your dog will calm down as the visual stimulus has been removed, you are the pack leader and so are in charge, and your dog is not getting anything good when he barks. Stay very calm and give no attention or affection, repeat and your dog will get the message.

The Calm Freeze:

Again you will need an assistant. Place your dog in the back of your car in a calm state having completed all the above lead work. When your dog barks simply hold under your dog’s collar and just keep your dog in a calm freeze until he stops crying. If possible eradicate the visual stimulus by turning his head away. It is, however, just as important that you stay calm. If you have a smaller dog, then you can take the dog’s collar and gently pull it down so that it can’t see out of the window at the moving objects, hold them in a calm freeze and then immediately release when they stop barking. Repeat this, and your dog will get the message. It may take many attempts, but you will see, all dogs get the message when it is clear, calm and consistent.

Related topics:

5 Golden Rules

The Calm Freeze

The Energy Meter

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