How to Stop a Dog From Crying in the Car

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Your peaceful Sunday cruise suddenly becomes a lot less relaxing as your puppy whines in the back seat. As dog owners, we love to have our canine companions along for the ride, but we also need to teach our dogs not to whine in cars by reducing their anxiety, reinforcing good behavior, and preventing motion sickness.

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Is your dog always whining from the back seat?

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Unfortunately, the whining sounds coming from our canine companions can become dangerous because these frequent cries and whimpers can distract the driver. Whining in a car can even escalate to dangerous behavior, as unsecured dogs can wander between the seats to see outside the windows. This is why it's important to teach your dog not to whine in cars.

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Dog breeds that whine a lot

Occasional whining is a normal form of communication for dogs of any breed. With that said, some dog breeds are more inclined to whine than others. Yorkshire terriers, toy poodles, Chihuahuas, and other vocal small breeds are more likely to whine than others. Other dogs who naturally use their voice more frequently, like huskies, are more likely to whine as well.

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Whining can also be a sign of pain for dogs. If your dog is constantly whining inside and outside the car, talk to your vet to see if a health condition, like dental pain, could be the cause.

Reduce your dog's anxiety

Sometimes, dogs will whine because they are feeling nervous or anxious. Dogs can become anxious in social situations, and they may feel separation anxiety when left alone. Dogs can also experience something called noise anxiety and react with fear to certain sounds, like the roll of thunder or the boom of fireworks in the distance. It's possible that your dog is experiencing anxiety from the sound of cars around him. He may also feel fearful from being in the car.

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Teach your dog to enjoy the car by gradually acclimating him to it so he connects car rides with a good time. If your dog fears being inside the car, try spending time outside near the car or sitting inside in the car with him without going anywhere. Play a puzzle game together or feed him treats or kibble. Turn on the engine without driving to get your dog used to the sound.

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Prevent canine motion sickness

Just like humans, dogs can get motion sickness. Dogs whine to communicate, and they may be telling you that they don't feel well. Help your puppy get used to riding along in the car by making the environment as comfortable as possible for her.

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Lower the windows to give her fresh air and keep the temperature inside the car cool. Don't feed your dog right before you go for a ride if she struggles with motion sickness since she may throw it up. If that's not enough, consult your veterinarian for advice and to see if medication to treat motion sickness is an option.

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Reinforce good behavior

Sometimes, something outside the car will trigger puppy cries in the car. It might be a dog enjoying a walk outside or the sound of a car horn. As you drive, praise your dog with encouragement and kind words. If you have another passenger in the car, have him feed your puppy treats as rewards for good behavior.

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Additionally, having something in the car to distract your dog can go a long way toward eliminating annoying whimpers and whines. Try placing a puzzle, a favorite toy, or a squeaky stuffed animal in the back seat with your dog so he has something on which to focus other than what's going on outside your vehicle.

End puppy cries in the car

Your puppy or dog may begin whining in the car because she knows where she's going. Dogs connect their current car ride with past trips and let you know how they're feeling. Your puppy might be anxious about a vet visit or riled up to run around the dog park.

Create some unpredictability in her daily routine by driving around to different destinations. Try taking her along on different errands or simply take a cruise with no set destinations. Vary your routine by taking her on an errand before arriving at the dog park or by stopping for a pup cup at your local coffee shop after playtime in the park.

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