Mind your manners in the car, too

Now that his quiet time following heartworm treatment has been over for 2 1/2 months, Edwin is making some progress in the obedience department.  He’s starting to show the potential of being a very good dog in terms of obedience rather than just keeping with his original intentions of being an untrained but still man’s best friend.

He hasn’t been opening the cabinet doors, is getting better about sit/stay/come.  Earlier in the week, the time we’ve spent standing outside with and without the other dogs finally paid off when it finally clicked in Edwin’s mind that “bark when everyone leaves me” = bad, “sit quietly when everyone leaves me” = good things like praise, treats, and everyone coming back inside.  Yesterday, he managed to calm down and stay quiet after about 15 minutes of walking around 10-20 feet from the dog park fence with the assistance of some really yummy treats.

So we’re still working on teaching Edwin to calm down when he sees other dogs so he can learn to ignore them and being quiet when he’s home alone, but there’s definitely something else we need to work on- car rides.

It definitely seems like he wasn’t well-socialized with other dogs as a pup, and I’m guessing he’s not too experienced when it comes to riding in cars, either.  His history is pretty much unknown, as he arrived at the Humane Society as a one- to two-year-old stray with heartworms and hadn’t been neutered and tried to mark everything until a couple weeks after getting fixed.

It’s definitely possible that he did have a home of some sort at one time, since he absolutely loves every person he encounters and just wants to lean against them while being petted.  Or it could just be that since he’s definitely part lab and maybe part bully type dog, he’s just inclined to seek affection from humans.

Anyhow, Edwin has always been a little on the nutty side when it comes to car rides.  He’s never been in the car for more than a half hour, and we’re going to have to take him on longer rides eventually.  But first, we need to conquer short rides, since they can leave us frustrated and Edwin’s antics have the potential to distract us from concentrating on driving.

Some days, Edwin is quiet but excited when he hops in the car.  He wants to climb into the driver’s lap, or maybe hang half his body out the window or stand up and look out the back.  Fortunately, as long as the tether for the car harness is adjusted to be as short as possible and the windows are only cracked, he’s not able to do these things.  But he sure will try!

Other days, he is still excited but has more anxiety issues, which he likes to vocalize through sudden, sharp, percussive barks and yelps.  I would be lying if I said I enjoyed being surprised by Edwin suddenly screaming in my ear while driving.

The rest of the week is going to be desensitization and learning to sit quietly in cars for this boy!

It’s going to take some trial and error, but I’m thinking short rides around town as well as sitting in the stopped car working on sit/stay/down so he knows he needs to listen in the car.  I’ll have to get over my usual reluctance to use the A/C in the car for the second one, since it’s hot out!  Rusty might be next, since he’s developed a new habit of standing with his paws on the car door.

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About Couches for Breakfast

Ventures into fosterhood
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One Response to Mind your manners in the car, too

  1. Pingback: Shaking it off | Couches for Breakfast

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