This is the second part to Teaching Your Dog To Wait In The Car. If you’ve been following along, at this point you no longer need to have a leash on your dog in the car. You should be able to drive to your destination, get out of the car, and your dog doesn’t try to get out of the car unless invited out.
Now it’s time to start leaving the windows open, or like with my car, the top down. I have found that, leaving the windows open regularly when I’m driving about town, or especially, leaving the top down while driving around, teaches the dog to stay in the car. I am there, just in case, the dog tries to stand up on the armrest, or on the window. I can pull him back, but after using the leash those first few weeks I have never had a problem when I drop the top and drive. The dog knows it’s place in the car and stays there, or near to it.
I admit that one time my dog tried to get out of the car while it was moving. She was very young. She was a new addition to the family. We had her about two weeks at that point. I had been keeping her on a leash in the car, and at home as well (she was a feisty girl when we first got her). I drive with the top down often, so it was time to test whether she would stay in the moving car. I chose a park where I could drive slowly and no other cars would be coming down the road. I lowered the top and began driving down the lane. Well, she saw a deer and that was that, her natural instinct told her to chase it, I told her, “Leave it!” but she had already made her mind up to go after it. I was going slow enough that when she jumped, I stopped the car. Halfway through her attempt at jumping out she realized she wasn’t supposed to do that and tried to undo her jump. She ended up with her front paws on the pavement, and her back end still in the car! I told her again, “Leave it” while she was dangling there upside down. Then I took a hold of her back side that was still in the car and hauled her back into the car. She looked truly embarrassed, if a dog can look embarrassed. She sat back in the seat and looked down. After that she has never attempted to get out of the car. Dogs learn best when they teach themselves. Now, lets get on with it.
These first few times are of critical importance. If the dog realizes he can jump out of the car when you walk away (IE: by doing just that) it is very hard to “undo” what he just learned. So, the first few times you attempt leaving the car with the window open, or the top down, you shouldn’t go very far. You can do this at home, or at the local park, or somewhere that you will remain near the car. Then you:
- Park your car as you would normally do, leaving the windows down, or the top down.
- Get out of the car, whether you say, “stay” or not is up to you. I say it sometimes, but it depends on the situation. If I’m somewhere that the dog usually would be invited out, I will tell him (in my language) to stay. I say it casually as I’m getting out of the car.
- Close the car door, and walk a little ways away, but close enough that if the dog attempts to follow you, out the window, you can stop him from doing so by stating firmly, “Stay”, or “No!” and put your hand up in a stop fashion. If you must put your hand right up to his nose and push him back into the car. Repeat moving away from the car until your dog doesn’t try to get out. Then call it a day.
- Every time you have a situation that you can leave the window down, or top down, but your still near the car, practice the previous steps. Each time the dog doesn’t try to get out, move further away.
After the dog learns to stay in the car even when you leave the car and walk away, then, you can try going into more public places with the dog and leave the window down, or top down. At first, be cautious about walking away. When the dog will stay in the car in public places, without the hint that he is going to follow you, then you’re done!
Teaching your dog to wait in the car may seem like a big pain in the rear, but its really not. Use opportunities where you would be anyways. Like when talking with your neighbor outside, put the dog in the car while you chat and lower the windows, or the top. While your chatting it up with your neighbor is the perfect opportunity because you’re right there, there’s animation going on with your conversation, and you can easily check your dog if he comes to the window or stands up to get out.
I have found the more training I do with my dogs, the closer they are to me. They look to me for everything, and they will do just about anything I ask of them because they trust me. I’ve shown them I make sound judgement’s (IE: they never get hurt, or hit) so they trust in whatever I ask of them. You can have the same trust with your pet too, it’s pretty cool!