View Full Version : Car Behaviour ..... How to Retrain.

22nd December 2006, 05:04 AM
Mary Alice hasn't been in our car too much due to her desire to sit on the drivers' lap.

I'd like to retrain her to settle in the back seat, either laying down or looking out the window.

I have used the crate but she hates it.

We travel a lot and we need to get her comfortable & safe in the car.

Any suggestions for re-training a 2 1/2 year old??


22nd December 2006, 05:45 AM
there are many different styles of dog car seats available. Many have been discussed on the boards before and a quick google of dog car seats will probably give you plenty to sort through.

22nd December 2006, 06:29 AM
Will do ..... thanks. ;D

I was wondering if she can be re-trained to just sit pretty in the back seat, with or without a seat or seatbelt.

Does anyone leave their Cavalier loose in the car??

22nd December 2006, 10:58 AM
Our dogs are never in the car that long (only the short trip to the beach) but we have a "cradle" type blanket that goes on the back seat. Similar to this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sherpashaw-Doggie-Cradle/dp/B000EQGUG8

This stops them being thrown around if you brake suddenly. It might be an alternative to strapping her in a harness?

22nd December 2006, 01:45 PM
Will do ..... thanks. ;D

I was wondering if she can be re-trained to just sit pretty in the back seat, with or without a seat or seatbelt.

Does anyone leave their Cavalier loose in the car??

This is not a good idea for ANY dog. Even being held on someone's lap is preferable. Amber always travels in a crate. Holly will eventually be trained to do likewise, but at the moment I still hold her (I'm not a driver, so I'm always the passenger). On the very very rare occasions that she has been alone with the driver she usually went and curled in the alcove at the bottom of the passenger seat, if that makes sense- and even then, my grandmother told me about her being knocked against the side of the car when she has to break unexpectedly. That's not happening again. Even a soft crate is better than none! I did try her with the car seatbelt harnesses but she managed to get out of it!!

Bruce H
22nd December 2006, 01:48 PM
We use crates whenever we go anywhere, only because we have crates. LOTS of crates :shock: I know there are lots of other options out there if you don't like using a crate.

I would never let a dog stay loose in a car. I would hate to have an accident and watch one of my "kids" go through the windshield. When I was a lot younger (20's), I had a cat that I used to take loose in my car until one day he decided to crawl under the clutch and I had to pull the shifter into neutral to stop; could have very easily been the brake.

22nd December 2006, 03:02 PM
Thankyou for all of your suggestions.

I have looked at many kinds of car seats for Mary Alice but don't know which ones are good/bad.

She'll have to be in her crate for the time being but I do hope to find a way of keeping her secure and allowing her to enjoy the scenery.

I don't mind her being in the crate but she hates it.

She gets very upset, "scrabbles" at the door and howls.

I'm trying to find a way to have a secure and happy dog in the car.

Didn't know they could "get out" of seat belts...oh my! :lol:

Cathy T
22nd December 2006, 04:42 PM
We started out with a look-out seat for Jake


Then he grew and grew and grew and moved into this

When we got Shelby I did away with car seats altogether and we use a harness attached to the seat belt.

Cathy Moon
22nd December 2006, 04:45 PM
They can twist themselves in the seat belts, too! :shock:

I use the softsided zippered crates with cozy crate pads in the car. My 3 usually fall asleep when we're driving, although sometimes India gets a little whiny at first. :roll:

22nd December 2006, 06:06 PM
We use the stow-and-go car seat. We ordered them online from Home Depot, though they are available elsewhere. The base is a suitcase that detaches and you can store doggie items. The top folds out into a travel dog bed. Together, it provides a raised seat that attaches to the vehicle through the seatbelt. There's a strap and hook that secures to the dog's harness. You can see my girls like their seats and travel extremely well with them.


The black mesh that Willow is using as a pillow is detachable. It's simply velcro. When I first saw Willow do this, I took the mesh away. She didnt like it. She prefers her pillow. :roll:


Cicero's Mummy
22nd December 2006, 06:37 PM
Luckily, so far, every doggie I have ever owned (okay just one) was small enough to fit in a small petflys carrier, which can be buckled into the car seat and stays pretty well... but my friends with larger dogs recommend both the pet lookout (with harness attachment) and just the plain old harness attachment that goes on a seat belt (which is properly secured keep the dog in place and do not tangle).

After seeing a link that showed what can happen in a crash if your dog was not strapped in, I vowed NEVER to let my dog run loose in the car. (that sherpanet thing looks like it would be comfy and work nicely for short trips). Also, if you have airbags you may want to think twice about the dog sitting on the passengers lap. And I never recommend the dog be sitting on the drivers lap, both because of airbags and just too plain distracting and hazardous!

I think there may be a link around here somewhere, if I can find it I will post it. The video shows two Crash Test Dummy Dogs - one restrained, one not- in the event of a crash. The poor unrestrained doggie gets completely tossed, while the other one (who could possibly still get minor injuries) was still in his general seating area with less tossing.

22nd December 2006, 07:29 PM
I *do* like the Stow & Go .... checked it out online and it states that it's good up to 19 lbs.

Mary Alice is just under 18 lbs.

We cannot tell if she's been spayed, supposedly was but there is no visible incision.

Do the girls gain weight after the op??

Willow and Cedar look very content in their car beds...especially Willow! ;D

Thanks again for the links, photos and information.

It's very much appreciated. :)

Joanne M
22nd December 2006, 08:11 PM
I do not use a car seat. For awhile I was using a harness/hook that I slid over the seat-belt and attached to Tucker's collar or harness. It was not long enough, he was getting strangled by it. I only let Tucker in the back seat. I drive a small car, a Toyota Corolla that has high bucket seats, and very foamy head rests. The seats are in the most furthest back position as I'm tall and have long legs, even if I stop short Tucker does not get tossed around because there is almost no room to go in the back seat. I still worry about the possibility of an accident, but no car-seats I've looked at seemed as safe to me as the back seat with nothing. I do not let him sit in the front seat, it's too dangerous, as Cathy said he could get under the brake or gas pedal if he slipped off the seat, there is also too much room in the front seat between the seat and the dashboard / windshield. I also only remove Tucker from the car from the back passenger side. I keep the child safety locks on at all times when Tucker is in the car because he can and has operated the power window buttons on his own.

Cicero's Mummy
22nd December 2006, 08:48 PM
Here is the link that I talked about in above post:


The video shows a car crash test on a sled with two "dog test dummies" one restrained and one not. It shows it from a variety of angles. The restrained dog still gets tossed around, but he stays in his seating area and at least he doesn't go through the windshield (poor test dummy doggie).

IMO, I would buckle my 3 year old in, right? Why not my Furkid as well.... lol!

We have a "lookout" booster seat for our little one that you can attach the harness to.

22nd December 2006, 11:59 PM
I *do* like the Stow & Go .... checked it out online and it states that it's good up to 19 lbs.

Mary Alice is just under 18 lbs.

We cannot tell if she's been spayed, supposedly was but there is no visible incision.

Do the girls gain weight after the op??

Willow and Cedar look very content in their car beds...especially Willow! ;D

Thanks again for the links, photos and information.

It's very much appreciated. :)

No, spaying does not cause a dog to gain weight. Diet and exercise controls body fat in dogs, just like in humans.

Is Zippy's 18 lbs appropriate for her frame? In otherwords, would it be healthy for her to lose weight?

You can purchase a seatbelt harness that attaches the dog straight to human seatbelt. They are more appropriate for larger dogs, in my opinion. But the Look Out Bench in Cathy's post is good up to 70 lbs. It would raise Zippy to the window AND keep the dog fur off the car apolstery, which is always a plus.

23rd December 2006, 03:43 AM
I was wondering if she can be re-trained to just sit pretty in the back seat, with or without a seat or seatbelt.

Please, please do not even consider anything this dangerous for her or for you and any passengers in the car (without a belt or crate, that is). A dog would be unlikely to survive an impact if it hit the back seat and a collision at just 25mph would throw her at minimum 25mph straight into the back of the seat in front of her, most likely breaking her neck. At any higher speed, she is likely to be hurled airborne at which point she could break YOUR neck. Also many emergency services will not even try to rescue a dog that is not crated from any kind of car accident. Some have specific rules against this. This too is a reason for crating.

She needs either to be trained to use a seatbelt harness specially designed for dogs and approved as safe (not all are -- go for the best one you can buy) or to travel in a crate. Most dogs are BETTER in a crate with a dark sheet over it as this is a very calming environment. I transport a lot of cavaliers for rescue and almost all will settle before long in a crate where they CANNOT see out, for a long journey. It is the movement of scenery past the car that actually makes most dogs anxious and sick.

Training to travel in a car takes time and patience. You can start by rewarding her just for sitting quietly in her harness on the back seat. Progress to driving around the block, then up to longer trips. But for long trips I much prefer crates, as some dogs can get tangled, sometimes painfully, in some types of seatbelt harnesses (I've used a few) and a crate just makes the whole travel thing much easier and less prone to problems.

If you search this board for other discussion on car transport you will see much discussion about what to use. :)

23rd December 2006, 06:28 PM
Hi Karlin,

I do use the crate but she just hates it.
Mary Alice gets very frantic in the crate, either in the house or car.

I don't know what it is that upsets her but I totally agree that she shouldn't be loose in the car.

It's hard to drive with a howler in the back but that's how we go to the vets.

I am taking her on short rides but she flips out in the crate.

Hopefully, someday she'll settle..... ;D

27th December 2006, 08:27 PM

We took Mary Alice to be microchipped today.

She stayed quiet in the crate til the car stopped!!

The vet is about a 10-15 minute drive.......we're thrilled!!

Good going, Mary Alice!! :rah:

Cathy Moon
28th December 2006, 02:43 AM
:w*w: Mary Alice, you go girl! :*nana:

29th December 2006, 11:41 PM
Great job Mary Alice. Here is a picture of Libby in her seat. We got this at Target. It's on rollers. It hooks to her collar. She can see out and if necessary we can even close the top. It is made to travel on planes too.


8th January 2007, 09:45 PM
Mary Alice finally has a harness with a seat belt loop on the back!

She's not too happy being belted in but I'm thrilled. ;D

Now, she can go everywhere with us....better than sitting in the window looking forlorn!

We've tried about 5 different things and today I found exactly what I wanted....she can walk with it and it keeps her in a sitting position in the back seat. The salesperson says she can also lay down...but I'll take the crate for longer trips.

Mary Alice was so surprized that she sat in *silence*!! cl*p

9th January 2007, 02:09 PM
:rah: Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy go Mary Alice :rah:

My two have got seatbelt harnesses too Zippy and they both settle well in them. The only problem I have is that Maxx is like a small child and everytime I stop the car he starts singing excitedly - it's almost like he's asking 'Are we there yet, are we, are we?'

As soon as we start moving again he will huff loudly and lay back down again LOL

If Mary Alice doesn't settle again then try some Rescue Remedy for her, this is what I used a few times for Charlie as he used to panic in the car when we first got him.

10th January 2007, 02:55 AM
Good girl Mary Alice. You are doing so well. cl*p

11th January 2007, 08:30 PM
Mary Alice is one determined cavvie!!

Today was her day to learn to stay in the car alone for 5 minutes.....when I came back, she was standing facing the rear of the seat with her harness pulled to one side. :roll:

Her ears were pinned right back.....poor baby, wonder what she's been through in her short life??

From the markings on the seat, she'd been trying to scratch her way out of the seat belt!!! :sl*p:

Guess I need to put a thick blanket under her before she rips the seat apart....the van is only a year old, so Hubby will be less than impressed if she rips it open!!

We'll have another go tomorrow....til she gets used to it. :flwr: :flwr:

Thanks to Maxs_Mummy and Shay for the support...hoping to avoid Rescue Remedy but might need it after all!!

It's great stuff.....our Charley needed it for thunderstorms.

11th January 2007, 08:48 PM
Zippy....I just know that sweet little girl is going to "get it" soon. Your right, who knows what the poor baby has been through. With your patience and love, she can't lose. This little girls just has a special place in my heart. I just know she is going to be a great cavvie. We are all pulling for her. :thmbsup: Hugz from Lily and me. :hug:

Cicero's Mummy
11th January 2007, 10:07 PM
Great job Mary Alice. Here is a picture of Libby in her seat. We got this at Target. It's on rollers. It hooks to her collar. She can see out and if necessary we can even close the top. It is made to travel on planes too.

We looked at this carrier... the Boots and Barkely... our friend has it for her yorkie and they tried to take it on the plane and they were denied. They had to buy the Delta Sherpa at the gate (it wasn't that bad of a price for the Sherpa) and needless to say they aren't thrilled with that either.

Also, they just use the B&B in the car and with regular use (for about 3 weeks now) it is falling apart!! They are taking it back to Target, but are pretty sure they won't get a refund since the dog has already been in it. I was surprised because Target usually sells great stuff for doggies!! Our little Cicero's bed is from there (all 3 of em!).

12th January 2007, 06:46 PM
Mary Alice Houdini escaped from her seatbelt harness this morning. :shock:

I left her for about 3 minutes, when I came back, she was sitting in the drivers' seat, wagging and smiling at me!!!!

I could hardly believe my eyes....everything was attached, in the back seat...this doggie must be the smartest dog on the planet!!! :sl*p:

Before you ask, yes it was on tight.....her new name is Chris Angel, Mind Freak!!

For those in the Europe, Chris Angel is an illusionist. A really good one!!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Update: I've just sent an email to the company asking for suggestions.
If you want to see the harness, caninefriendly dot com
It's supposed to work!!

13th January 2007, 01:59 AM
Zippy...That's hysterical. :lol: The Chris Angel part is too funny. That girl is something else.

17th January 2007, 09:11 PM
Last weekend, we took a short journey, out of town with Mary Alice in her seatbelt harness.

She was pretty good, a bit of howling but Hubby put his hand back for her to lick...that stopped the howling, while I drove along the highway.

There and back, was about 2 hours of mostly highway driving, she was quieter on the way back, actually slept some of the way.

We were delighted!! :)

As the weather has been awful, we haven't ventured out again til today.

Drove Hubby to work, with Houdini as a passenger....I tried for another 5 minutes alone, while I ran into a shop.

When I left, she was securely seatbelted with her harness.

When I came back, she was smiling and wagging at me from the front passenger side!!!! :shock: :shock:

Everything was connected in the back seat, same as last time!!!

Mary Alice is so thrilled when I come back from shopping....but I'm not thrilled that she can escape.

Think we'll be gettting a second crate for the car!! :flwr: :flwr:

17th January 2007, 10:49 PM
Oh Zippy.... :lol: I don't mean to laugh, but she is sure is the little escape artist. Do you know how she is getting out of the harness? Is there any way you can make her think you have gone off and watch her to see what she is doing? I was wondering how she was adjusting to her rides. Glad that the howling is getting better.

17th January 2007, 11:05 PM
Shay....lol...I have no idea, none at all!!

I'm thinking it might be a blast to photograph her escaping...but how to hide from her with a video-camera??

There is a guy who panhandles outside our local drugstore, might slip him $10 to do it while I wait just inside....hope he wouldn't take off with the camera!!

Hubby jokes that she's an engineer and understands the mechanics of leverage!! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

17th January 2007, 11:14 PM
"The Escapades of Mary Alice" or "Little Houdini, the Cavalier Furkid" would make a great children's book! :rotfl: BTW, I love your new Avatar.

17th January 2007, 11:21 PM
Thanks...that was another surprize..after zooming around the yard, I called and said "sit". I was shocked again, cause she did!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Did you read the bit about her sleeping in her crate last night???

This little gal is full of surprizes lately!! :D

17th January 2007, 11:27 PM
That's great! See, I told you this little girl would get it, and By George, I Think She's Got It. She's a smart cookie cl*p