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Help! My dog won't get in the car! Training your dog to love the car.

Training your dog to get in and out of the car safely and efficiently is essential for any dog owner. You can successfully train your furry friend to navigate car entry and exit using positive reinforcement techniques and consistent practice. Here is a practical training approach to help your dog become a confident traveller.

Dog in car

Create a Positive Association:

Make the car a positive and inviting space for your dog. Start by leaving the car door open and allowing your dog to explore it at their own pace. Place everyday and much-loved items, such as their bed or toys, inside to create a sense of comfort. Gradually increase the exposure to the car, allowing your dog to become familiar with its presence and associate it with positive experiences.

Use Praise and Affection:

Praise and affection during the training process are a must. Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement, so use a happy and enthusiastic tone when your dog approaches the car or completes a desired behaviour. Reinforce their actions by offering gentle petting or a favourite toy to reward their cooperation.

Practice with Short Distances:

Begin by practising car entry and exit in short, controlled sessions. Open the car door and encourage your dog to approach. The "Up" or "In" command indicates

it's time to enter the car. Repeat this process by exiting the vehicle using a command like "Out" or "Off." if your dog shows hesitation or reluctance, use encouraging words and gestures to inspire confidence. Once your dog is inside, praise them warmly.

Don’t Rush:

As your pooch becomes more comfortable entering and exiting the car, gradually increase the difficulty level. Close the car door gently while your dog is inside, rewarding them with praise for remaining calm. Repeat this step multiple times, gradually increasing the duration the door remains closed.

Introduce Car Movement:

Once your dog is comfortable inside a stationary car, it's time to introduce movement. Start with short, slow drives to nearby destinations your dog enjoys, such as a park or a friend's house. Prioritize smooth and gentle rides, ensuring your dog feels secure throughout the journey. Offer verbal encouragement during the trip to reinforce positive associations with car travel.

Establish a Routine:

Consistency is vital to successful training. Set a regular car travel routine, incorporating short trips and gradually extending the duration. This routine will help your dog develop a sense of predictability and reduce anxiety associated with car travel. By sticking to a schedule, your dog will become more at ease and confident when getting in and out of the car.

Patience and Persistence:

Every dog is unique and learns at its own pace. Be persistent, but most important, be patient throughout the training process. Keep training sessions short, engaging, and positive. If your dog experiences fear or stress during the training, take a step back and reassess the approach. Seek professional guidance if necessary.


Teaching your dog to get in and out of the car is entirely possible with the right approach and dedication. By creating positive associations, using verbal praise and affection, gradually increasing difficulty, introducing car movement, establishing a routine, and maintaining patience and persistence, you can help your furry companion become a confident and comfortable traveller. With consistent practice and a trusting bond, you will soon be ready to embark on exciting adventures together, enjoying safe and stress-free car journeys.

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