It’s a Trick AND Treat Halloween 2016 Giveaway Hop! 

The Trick: Overcoming a Fear of the Car (A work in progress)

Piper has always been a little leery of the car. My sweet fun-loving girl becomes, literally, a trembling ball of mush when she thinks we are going to the car. If we head down the stairs from our courtyard and take a left to walk around the neighborhood, no problem. But, if I dare to turn right at the bottom of the stairs towards the parking lot, she freezes on the spot and suddenly weighs 1000 pounds and has no interest in treats. (in the video below, my friend was holding an awesome liver snack but Piper was too terrified to even look at the treat πŸ™ )

There are two problems with this: first, sometimes we really do need to get in the car (vet visits, doggie daycare, play dates, dog-friendly events etc.); and, second the sidewalk along the edge of the parking lot leads to the open space trails that she loves. 

Despite never having had a bad experience in the car (knock on wood), Piper’s fear of the car has become increasingly worse prompting me to cease even trying to get her into the car to go to the places she loves.

trick or treat dog tricks giveaway

Piper at day care, a place she loves, all dressed up for Halloween 2015

I spoke with the trainer, read several posts from fellow bloggers (thank you to Carol from Fidose of Reality) and spoke with the vet about how best to support Piper in overcoming her fear of the car using positive training, natural calming products and really awesome treats. 

It became clear that, for Piper’s sake, I needed to back things WAY up and not even try to put her in the car. For the past month, we have (thankfully) not had to go to the vet, I cancelled daycare, and we have skipped any and all events that require a car ride. 

Blank4Step 1

When we go out for a walk, instead of taking my whole key chain,  I leave my car keys in the house and just put a house key in my pocket. We started with playing a game called “Check it out” where I place a treat a few feet in front of us and say “check it out”. Then I wait until Piper to move forward to get her treat. We did this for the first week all around the courtyard and finally made it over to the top of the stairs without her freezing up.

Positive training dog tricks and treats for Halloween 2016

Just sitting on the bench by the parking lot. There were LOTS of treats!


Step 2

We continued the “check it out” game trying to get down the stairs. We were able to get down the stairs easily and as long as I immediately went to the left, Piper wouldn’t put on the brakes but if I even thought about going to the left, we were done. I didn’t want to push Piper so we would head back up the stairs and do some fun thing in the courtyard to end on a positive note. This went on for two weeks and I was finally able to get her to walk a few feet to the right where we sat on a bench and watched the parking lot for about 15 minutes before heading back to the courtyard.

I also engaged one of our neighbors, Paul, who Piper LOVES in the effort to make the parking lot less scary. Paul came out to the courtyard and we all walked down the stairs and to the right towards the parking lot. Piper was too excited to notice that she was scared until we were a few feet into the parking lot but as soon as she did, we simply walked to a grassy area and hung out for a bit on the perimeter of the parking lot where she received lots of praise and treats. We played for a bit in the grass and then went right back up to the courtyard.

Blank4Step 3

Last week, I got  Simon, one of my other dogs, into the action. We made it into the parking lot and just started walking around the parked cars. I asked the dogs to sit by different cars. I offered all kinds of praise and treats. At first, Piper didn’t want to sit near any of the cars but eventually she not only sat but was calm enough to take treats. She wouldn’t sit or take treats near our car.

We did this all week and, FINALLY, she sat calmly by our car and took treats. We, of course, ended each practice session with fun playtime in the courtyard.


Piper siting calmly by our car – WOOT!!

Progress to date

There is no question that patience is the key to success when overcoming a fear. While we have made great progress, we still have a ways to go before I will attempt to get Piper in the car. Over the past month, we have made it from being frozen at the top of the stairs (see video above) to being able to walk through the parking lot to actually being able to sit by the car calmly enough to take a treat.



Next up: we will work on staying calm and unafraid while just opening the car door.

The Treats: The giveaway winners have been selected. Congratulations to the lucky winners and thanks to everyone for participating.

trick or treat giveaway winners


Participating blogs


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  1. Tori October 20, 2016 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Training requires so much patience! Sounds like you’re doing everything you can, good job!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

      Patience has definitely not been one of my virtues πŸ˜‰ I am learning as much as Piper.

  2. Linda October 20, 2016 at 8:18 am - Reply

    My dog loves car rides!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 8:49 am - Reply

      My two labs LOVE the car but Piper wants nothing to do with it. We’re working on it πŸ™‚

  3. Maureen October 20, 2016 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Wow! What a great giveaway! Rosa was scared for over a year to get in the car. With a lot of hard work and coaxing she is now jumping in on her own. She still isnt a big fan or car rides but baby steps…
    Maureen recently posted…This Raw Food Birthday Cake Will Make Your Dog Frisky!My Profile

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 8:49 am - Reply

      I would love to hear how you managed to get Rosa to overcome the fear! We need to talk πŸ˜‰

  4. Jake October 20, 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Don’t have a dog, so no. Cat person that’d love to win the Petsmart card. Any doggie treats would be donated.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 11:07 am - Reply

      That Petsmart gift card is pretty awesome! Good luck in the giveaway!

  5. Laura October 20, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    My dog doesn’t know any tricks. She’s cute, though.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Ha! I totally get that! We are a constant work in progress over here and none of my dogs seem to know the same tricks! πŸ˜‰

  6. Kim M October 20, 2016 at 9:27 am - Reply

    We are a shake and lay down kind of family!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 11:09 am - Reply

      Only one of my three has mastered shake. πŸ˜‰

  7. Elena October 20, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

    My dogs love riding in a car

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Two of my three are always up for a car ride. πŸ™‚

  8. Caitlyn Orr October 20, 2016 at 10:29 am - Reply

    I haven’t had any issues with car rides with my pups. But this is a great resource for helping overcoming lots of different types of fears.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Thanks, Caitlyn! I hope it helps someone. Hopefully, I will be able to provide an update soon of a picture of Piper in the car looking relaxed and happy πŸ™‚

  9. allison hoffman October 20, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

    What great advice! My dog doesn’t have any fear of the car but great to know if i get another dog that does!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Thanks, Allison! I’ll keep everyone posted on Piper’s progress πŸ™‚

  10. Sandy Weinstein October 20, 2016 at 11:19 am - Reply

    all 3 of my girls are great in the car. the youngest likes to sit on the console (they all have seatbelts). the youngest used to get car sick, her mother was the same way, but now she is great. they like to look out the window, which is why i have nose art all over my car windows. the oldest does not ride well now, she used to be great, when everywhere, but with old age, dementia, deaf, almost blind, she does not like to ride now. my oldest knows lots of tricks, she was a very fast learner, the 2 younger girls know a few, it takes time and being consistent to train to do tricks.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      HAHA! Nose art is the best! πŸ˜‰ Simon (9) and Zora(13) LOVE the car but Simon is INSANE in the car. He has to be crated because otherwise he is bouncing all over the place! πŸ˜‰ Piper is just so terrified. I think she gets nauseated and so associates the car with feeling terrible. We’re working on it πŸ™‚

  11. Ruth Epstein October 20, 2016 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Layla loves car rides and if she could she would jump into any car that has a door open

  12. Ellie Davis October 20, 2016 at 11:39 am - Reply

    we don’t know this trick!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      It’s more of an exercise in patience than a trick πŸ˜‰ It’s just really working slowly and taking cues from Piper in order to move through the fear.

  13. Cori October 20, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this Alison! It’s helpful to learn how others handle training challenges. Kiara feared the car for a few days so I gave her a treat after lifting her in. It helped and now I take her to deliver kids to school everyday – she loves it. We are currently working on not barking at everything when she’s on leash. It takes lots of patience!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! It’s definitely slow going. I may have to borrow your kids and Kiara one day to see if having them in the car would ease Piper’s anxiety πŸ™‚ Patience, patience, patience (as you know, not one of my virtues πŸ˜‰ )

  14. Amy Lynn Herman October 20, 2016 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Love hearing about Piper’s progress. I’m still trying to teach Miso to stay.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks! It definitely feels like baby steps! Stay is tough but I can help you with that one! πŸ™‚

  15. Jordan October 20, 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Good trick, fortunately my dog isn’t afraid of the car.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      My other two would spend the whole day in the car if I let them but Piper really hates the car. We made a little more progress today so I am hopeful that with time and patience, we will get to a point where she at least isn’t terrified.

  16. rachel monn October 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    great trick but we don’t need it! my baby girl loveesssss the car!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I’m glad you don’t have to deal with this. I have three and Piper is the only one that refuses to go willingly into the car.

  17. Mary October 20, 2016 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    These are good tips. My dog loves car rides though! :p

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Piper loves it whenever we get where we are going but the car ride has become so traumatic that I can’t put her through it until we can reduce the fear. My other two dogs love riding in the car even if all we do is drive around.

  18. Amanda Patterson October 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    My dog has a lot of anxiety so we do things like this but not with the car. She LOVES the car. When she is stressed we will let her into the garage and open the car door so she can sleep in there and relax!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      I will admit to being a little jealous that your dog actually relaxes and sleeps in the car πŸ˜‰ It is tough to deal with anxieties and it’s so hard to watch your dog being stressed/nervous/afraid.

  19. Brandi Hawn October 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    he does know it but he’s very stubborn and will only do it when he feels like it lol

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      I am way too familiar with “stubborn puppy syndrome” πŸ˜‰

  20. Tenacious Little Terrier October 20, 2016 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    I hope Piper continues making progress!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:24 pm - Reply

      Thank you!! We actually made a little more progress today. Of course, I broke out the cheese sticks and cubed turkey log πŸ˜‰

  21. Candice October 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    My dogs get so excited to go in the car. I will have to work with them. I can’t imagine them just calmly sitting next to it!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      My oldest girl, Zora, gets in the car and just sits calmly. My middle dog, Simon is like the Tasmanian Devil in the car if he’s not crated and when he is crated he whines and barks THE WHOLE RIDE wherever we are going. (good times πŸ˜‰ ) Piper literally freezes and shakes in the car.

  22. Monika & Sam October 20, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Great patience and work. I noticed a Colorado plate in the car lot. Small world. We’re in the Mile High City ourselves. πŸ™‚
    P.S. Saw your blog over at Heart Like a Dog.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by the blog! Nice to “meet” a fellow Coloradan! I checked out your blog as well and would love to hear more about the pet therapy work you do. πŸ™‚

  23. Amy A October 20, 2016 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Nala and Cody do okay in the car but Nala shakes from excitement the entire time.

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Only one of my three, Zora, is calm and relaxed in the car. Piper is terrified and Simon is a whirling dervish πŸ˜‰

  24. Devin Johns October 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Amazing progress! I wonder why your dog was so terrified.. Our dog loves going for car rides but a few minutes in, she starts whining like crazy because she doesn’t know where we are. Not sure how to train her out of that!

    • SimonDawg October 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks! It’s definitely slow going and often feels like it’s one step forward, two steps WAY back πŸ˜‰ The vet thinks that perhaps Piper is feeling sick in the car and associates the car with feeling bad. Once we can get to a point where she can sit in the car (with the car off) and be relaxed, then we can try an anti-nausea medicine when we are ready to drive somewhere. Simon, one of my other dogs, whines the whole time we are driving anywhere (not super enjoyable) because he is way too excited to get wherever we are going.

  25. Rust October 20, 2016 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Our malamute LOVES the car! He’s up and in it as soon as the door opens.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      Same with my two labs. It’s just Piper who can’t seem to overcome the fear. The worst part is that we always go someplace fun so she’s really missing out!

  26. Steve Weber October 20, 2016 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    My dog loves cuddling in my bed!

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      Not sure I’d count that as a trick πŸ˜‰

  27. Cheryl Chervitz October 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Thankfully my dogs aren’t scared of cars, but when a motorcycle goes by one of mine goes crazy!

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      Motorcycles can be terrifying! None of my dogs like them πŸ˜‰

  28. KateV October 20, 2016 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    My dogs know tons of tricks. They are very intelligent, very high energy dogs that need to be doing something or learning something to keep them happy. It’s created a great bond, too.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      Training tricks is such a great way to work their minds and burn off some energy and I agree, great way to bond with our dogs!

  29. Mary Cloud October 20, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    My dogs don’t know any tricks – we haven’t worked with them on anything

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      I would highly recommend getting some training going. It’s a great way to exercise their minds. Even if you just help them master “sit”, “stay”, “down” it will make your life easier πŸ™‚

  30. Will G October 20, 2016 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    My dog does not know this trick.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:55 am - Reply

      It’s not so much a trick as it is a way to overcome a fear – patience and treats. Once we can get her to be okay with me opening the car door, the trick will be something like “up” to encourage her to jump in the car.

  31. Annamarie V October 20, 2016 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    He does not know this trick, his only tricks are sit, shake and get your pillow.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

      I like the “get your pillow” idea. I want to teach my dogs “pick up your toys” but that’s probably a lot to ask πŸ˜‰

  32. Daniel Scott Thuet October 20, 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    My dogs know how to spin and then sit to catch a treat.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 10:04 am - Reply

      We have no problem with the catching of treats over here πŸ˜‰

  33. carol clark October 20, 2016 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    my dog isnt afraid until we get on the hwy and then he needs your lesson

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 10:06 am - Reply

      The highway is terrifying so I totally get your dog’s fear πŸ˜‰ Can you bring him a stuffed frozen Kong or some other high value treat or toy that you can give him to distract him as you are getting on the highway?

  34. molly October 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    my dogs both love car rides!

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Two of my three love the car but Piper things it’s absolutely terrifying! It makes me sad because we are missing out on so many things that she loves to do. Fingers crossed that we will get her past the fear.

  35. AC October 20, 2016 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    That sucks that your dog is so terrified they won’t even go into the parking lot. Something must’ve happened, other than the possibility of nausea in the vehicle.

    My dog isn’t fond of the vehicle. He really only goes to the vet and the very, very rare car ride. We pretty much beg him to get in the vehicle. Treats don’t work in stressful situations for him.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      I started fostering Piper when she was about 12 weeks old so it is entirely possible that something happened before I got her. I know that she made the trip with some of her siblings from California so who knows what happened on the way to Colorado. We have the same issue with treats being useless once she’s already stressed.

  36. Aaron October 21, 2016 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Rolly knows no tricks.

  37. Katie C. October 21, 2016 at 4:28 am - Reply

    I’m entering to win the gift card for my sister, who is a cat lady! I’m not sure her cats know any tricks, beyond driving her crazy.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      Ha! None of my cats ever did tricks. Mostly, they just gave me side eye if I tried to teach them anything πŸ˜‰ Good luck in the giveaway!

  38. Lara Elizabeth October 21, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Aw, poor worried Piper! My mom’s dog Scout hated the car, as your vet suspected, due to feeling nauseous. My mom eventually worked him through it. Good for you for taking it slowly!

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      We made a little more progress yesterday but I just don’t want to rush her. My big fear is that before we’ve worked her through it, we will have an emergency and I’ll have to make her go in the car which will undo all our progress.

  39. Christine Aiello October 21, 2016 at 9:46 am - Reply

    My Coco loves car rides so I never had to teach her to get over anxiety of getting in a car.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Yeah… this is a first for me for sure. My other two dogs can’t wait to get in the car!

  40. Rachel October 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    My dog doesn’t know any tricks. I’ve tried to teach her several times in the past but she just doesn’t get it.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      I’m hoping she at least has “sit”, “stay” and “come” down – if just to make your life a little easier.

  41. Emily Endrizzi October 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    None of our dogs have any fear of the car. When we first got Mickey he was hesitant to get in and then would sit frozen in his spot for about the first month or so. He overcame this fear quickly, I think, partly due to his age (he was less than a year old at the time we adopted him) and because we almost always went fun places when we got in the car. Now he loves the car and the other 2 have never shown any fear.

    • SimonDawg October 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      You are so lucky. Piper is the first dog I’ve had with a fear of the car. With Piper, unfortunately, it seems like her fear has gotten worse not better. She will be two in November and I’m really hoping we can figure out a plan to get her through this fear so we can start doing things again.

  42. Barrie October 21, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    SO sad for you and your dog but it sounds like you are an amazing dog owner! Kudos for you and your patience with training your pup!

  43. Jodi Stone October 21, 2016 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Wow, poor Piper. Did she go in the car before? Is it possible she gets carsick (not like vomiting, but maybe nauseous?) I can’t imagine how hard this is for both of you, thankfully you understand that patience is the key. I’m glad she has you on her side.
    Jodi Stone recently posted…Trick or Treat Giveaway HopMy Profile

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:25 am - Reply

      She was never excited about being in the car but it has definitely gotten worse the past six-eight months. The vet suggested anti-nausea and anti-anxiety meds but we can’t even try those until we can get her to just sit in the parked car without freezing up. One day at a time for sure πŸ˜‰

  44. Billy Lilley October 21, 2016 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    My dog does not know this trick but I plan to teach it to him.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

      If your dog has any fears, patience, lots of treats and lots of praise should help.

  45. Thomas Murphy October 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    My dog is not afraid in the car.

  46. Ann Cluck October 22, 2016 at 1:29 am - Reply

    My oldest dog used to love getting into the car. Now, she is heavier and seems to fear getting into the car using a ramp. I think she is afraid of the height. I need to use your awesome ideas to get her over this.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:37 am - Reply

      I’ve been considering a ramp for my oldest dog, Zora as she is struggling to get in the car or on the bed these days. If your dog is treat motivated, I would imagine that lots of treats might help with getting her to use the ramp. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  47. Jan K October 22, 2016 at 6:05 am - Reply

    Oh, Piper is so cute, and I feel so bad for her being so afraid! I know what it’s like to have fearful dogs and working through things is such a long, long process. Our girls don’t love to ride in the car, but not to that extent, so it’s been easier to work with them on it.
    You are doing so great….she’s really made a lot of progress!

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for saying that! It’s so hard not to focus on all the things she is missing out on but I do see progress so I am hopeful that she can overcome the fear so we can get back out there πŸ™‚

  48. natalie hartmann October 22, 2016 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    only one of my dogs gets anxious in the car. I usually crate him and that helps

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

      I do crate Simon and Piper in the car – Simon because he bounces around like a crazy dog and Piper because I think she feels a little safer but right now, I can’t even get her to get in the car willingly and I don’t want to make it worse by forcing her into the car.

  49. Christy Graham October 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    We take road trips all the time- so lucky she loves the car

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 10:01 am - Reply

      That’s what I miss the most – being able to just load everyone up in the car to go exploring!

  50. Mary W October 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    I have never had a dog that did not love a car ride. One of our dogs can’t get enough of our truck or car and refuses to get out. He has no problem getting out at the Vet’s office but does not want to come in the house. I just leave him until he’s ready whenever possible. At 14, he’s allowed to be a little quirky.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

      I know, right?!?! Dogs are supposed to LOVE car rides πŸ˜‰ Seriously, Piper is the only dog I’ve ever had who has serious fear issues. (Thunder, wind, cars, plastic bags…) One of mine is almost 14 and I completely agree – they get to be a little quirky at this age πŸ™‚

  51. Anne-Marie Tvete October 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    My dog loves to go in the car. He actually heads toward the car when we are actually going for a walk.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:57 am - Reply

      I had a dog growing up that would do that. Every time we walked out the front door, she would walk straight to the car and sit by the back door in hope that we were going for a ride πŸ˜‰

  52. Laurie Nykaza October 23, 2016 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Our 3 dogs love to riding in the car they usually are going to go to the beach or the park

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Simon and Zora have no problem getting in the car but Piper seems to forget that we always go someplace fun. πŸ˜‰

  53. Nancy Burgess October 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Our dogs love in the car.We never had trouble with them going for a ride in the car.

  54. Julie Murphy October 24, 2016 at 2:51 am - Reply

    My dogs aren’t afraid to get in the car.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:50 am - Reply

      You are extremely fortunate. It makes it tough to get out and about and do the things we love to do as a family.

  55. Laurajj October 24, 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Oh we have one rescue who is deathly afraid of the leash! It is so hard to take him anywhere, I should try this with him. See if we can get him over this huge hurdle he has.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      It’s so hard – especially when it stops you and your dog from doing the things you love. With leash fear, I would start with gently desensitizing him to the leash. Have the leash in the room with you and treat him. Slowly bring the leash closer (this may take days/weeks) and treat him. Eventually, you want to work up to him associating the leash with treats and praise. Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

  56. claudia October 24, 2016 at 9:29 am - Reply

    great tips ! YoYo love to ride in the car but my daughters dog does not. i will pass your trick along to her.

    • SimonDawg October 24, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Thanks! Best of luck to your daughter. It’s a combination of patience, treats and more patience πŸ˜‰

  57. Debra Guillen October 24, 2016 at 10:44 am - Reply

    My dog does not know this trick.

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      Less of a trick and more of a method to work on overcoming a fear.

  58. Sue Wilcox-Hall October 24, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

    My dogs all love the car and want to go every time we do. Mackey used to get carsick but outgrew it.

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      Piper has only gotten sick in the car one time but I do think she feels sick in the car which is one of the reasons she hates it so much.

  59. Denise Gruzensky October 24, 2016 at 10:48 am - Reply

    We are definitely lucky since Shasta loves to ride in the car!

  60. Jennifer Essad October 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Not at all she loves the car rides – long distance she’s better than the kids

  61. Ellen Casper October 24, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Both of my shelties are great car travelers.

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      You are very lucky. Really only one of my three dogs is a good traveler.

  62. Susan P. October 24, 2016 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    My dog loves car rides and we have to watch out or she will jump in the car and refuse to get out.

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      HA! My childhood dog was like that! Always up for the adventure and never wanted to adventure to end πŸ˜‰

  63. Sarah De Diego October 25, 2016 at 7:41 am - Reply

    So happy to hear that Piper is doing so well with her progress! Our Staffie, Reina just passed away last year from old age. We miss her every day.

    Besos Sarah
    Journeys of The Zoo
    Sarah De Diego recently posted…Donate to the @BostonPizzaFdn and Get 5 FREE Kids Meals! #BPKidsCardsMy Profile

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Sarah! My heart goes out to you and your family on the loss of Reina. They leave such an incredible mark on our lives <3

  64. Erin Will October 25, 2016 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Unfortunately my dog is the exact opposite. She will run up to cars even in the middle of the road especially if one of her family members is in it. Something we have been trying to work on. Thank you!

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      That is scary, Erin! I wish I had some insight on how to address that issue. I feel like sometimes, no matter how well trained a dog might me, when they want to get to something, they lose all memory of “stay”, “down”, “come” or any other command that would redirect them away from whatever they are chasing.

  65. Jamie Williams October 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been able to teach my sweet 14 year old dog this at all. He still thinks car means the Vet.

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Thankfully, none of my dogs are afraid of the vet. Unfortunately, we still haven’t identified exactly what it is that Piper is so afraid of with the car.

  66. Emily Tronetti October 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I know you and Piper will overcome this! It will be a long journey no doubt, but your love and patience (and lots of treats, of course!) will go a long way!

    • SimonDawg October 25, 2016 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much! I can’t wait for you to come back over and work with me and Piper some more! πŸ™‚

  67. tiffany dayton October 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    No, Bo is 5 and he is use to riding.

  68. Kim V October 25, 2016 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    My dog really likes being in the car!

  69. Jenniferanne Keefer October 25, 2016 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    My dog never had any fear of the car. Just the opposite, he gets so excited when he saw us get in the car that sometimes he drives us crazy

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

      That’s how Simon is! If I don’t crate hime in the car he bounces around, whining, barking and being a general safety hazard πŸ˜‰

  70. Marilyn Nawara October 26, 2016 at 10:09 am - Reply

    My 3 dogs love riding in the car and have no issues with getting in. I used to have a Westie that had to be tranquilized to ride in in the car – he went crazy anything he got in.

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

      It may be that Piper will have to take some sort of anti-anxiety meds at some point because, eventually, she will need to get in the car.

  71. Mallory H. October 26, 2016 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Thankfully ours are not afraid of the car – they are excited to go somewhere, but also are excited to leave the doggie park (they let me know when they are through) Some whine in the car, others are silent – it’s a mixed bag w/4 dogs πŸ™‚

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Wow! I thought three was a lot! Sounds like you have a great crew!:-)

  72. Michelle S October 26, 2016 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    My dog was rescued from a puppy mill where she was “breeding stock”. That said, she’s afraid of so many thing, but she loves going for car rides.

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Thank you for rescuing! (Don’t get me started on puppy mills!)

  73. Colleen Boudreau October 27, 2016 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    My dog doesn’t know this trick. I have a 4 year old Boxer, & she’s really hyper and gets excited easily.. so sometimes she has difficulty trying to pay attention long enough to learn tricks lol.

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

      That would be my Simon. He barely passed a training class because he was convinced it was a party for him! πŸ˜‰

  74. Michele Cupp October 27, 2016 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    My dog was shy just the first time getting into the car (after we had rescued her)., but when I got in first, she jumped right in and she’s so chill while riding I can’t believe it.

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Only my oldest dog could be described as “chill” in the car πŸ˜‰ You are very lucky! πŸ™‚

  75. Carolyn October 27, 2016 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    My dog never had an issue in the car until we were rearended recently. Everyone was basically fine (minor soreness/bruises). Thankfully, she was restrained. But she was very jumpy about loud noises & had almost panic attacks in the car…panting, crying, you can feel her heart racing if you touch her chest, etc. It took about 5 weeks and a new thundershirt but she did recover with training & is back to being calm in the car. She takes longer to fall asleep than before though…so hopefully that will come.

    • SimonDawg October 28, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      I’m so glad everyone was okay! I can totally understand your pup’s reaction to being the car following that and I’m glad to hear that she is making progress.

  76. Patti October 28, 2016 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Cool trick

  77. Caryn Coates October 28, 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

    My dog loves being in the car. He has never been afraid

  78. Starla October 28, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    She is beautiful! My big boy doesn’t know this trick yet, but I will definitely have to remember to start teaching him… such an awesome girl she is!

    • SimonDawg October 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I think she’s pretty cute too πŸ˜‰

  79. Juliet Whitfield October 28, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Great post! Love that you are taking it slow, it’s takes such patience. good for you! Piper is making progress, so exciting. I’m guessing she got motion sickness when she was younger and hangs onto that association. Dang! I love that you are adding in the play to the sessions. Play comes up as helping humans as well as dogs deal with stress, just read a new study on this topic. hang in there, you’ll get Piper there and then laugh about the experience some day. I so admire your perseverance & kindness!

    • SimonDawg October 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the encouragement! I’m hoping I can get us to a point where we are able to play in the car while it’s parked so she develops happier association with the car and then try some anti-nausea meds to help her feel better in the car.

  80. Kim Cowgar October 28, 2016 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    No dog. I’d love the gc and any treats, etc would go to my local shelter. What a brave girl you have! My cat is terrified of being in the car. I put his towel in his carrier and things from home that comfort him. I also talk to him on the way to the vet so he knows he isn’t alone.

    • SimonDawg October 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      My cats weren’t really terrified but, boy were they vocal when we would go in the car πŸ˜‰

  81. Linda Szymoniak October 28, 2016 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    My three rescued Treeing Walker Coonhounds aren’t the best about riding in the car, but none of them is deathly afraid of it, either. I lost my deaf hound girl, Ran, 1-1/2 years ago and am missing her so much. She was my car buddy – the best shotgun rider who has ever ridden in the car with me (and I drive rescue transports and often have rescue dogs ride shotgun with me). I really need to get my pack out for short drives to get them comfortable with being in the car. I’d like to some day make a longer trip with them.

    • SimonDawg October 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      My oldest, Zora, is great in the car and it is my hope is to get Piper comfortable in the car and to get Simon calm and quiet in the car so that I can take the whole crew on more outings and eventually hit the road with them for some bigger adventures.

  82. Wendy R. October 29, 2016 at 3:03 am - Reply

    My dogs love the car! Our great dane was scared of the car when we got her, but she overcame it pretty quickly.

  83. Edye October 29, 2016 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I would gift the prize(s) to my friend. She has multiple dogs and all of them love the car!

  84. Stephanie Phelps October 29, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    My dogs love car rides and we just make them stay in the back seat.

  85. Juliee Fitze October 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    No never had one that was afraid in the car.

  86. Melissa Storms October 30, 2016 at 10:12 am - Reply

    My dog is not afraid of the car. I think this process would work great for almost anything your dog fears though. Thanks for sharing your progress.

    • SimonDawg October 30, 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Melissa! I hope it’s helpful for folks working on overcoming fear.

  87. Beth October 30, 2016 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Those are some fantastic prizes! Nelly and Theo love to go for car rides, but Sophie seems anxious in the car.
    Beth recently posted…3 DIY Dog Pumpkin TreatsMy Profile

    • SimonDawg October 30, 2016 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Zora is chill, Simon is definitely anxious/excited but Piper just freezes πŸ™

  88. Jen Longhurst October 30, 2016 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Luckily my dogs not afraid of the car! He loves it!

  89. J Dawson October 30, 2016 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Mine love car rides because it means going to something fun!

    • SimonDawg October 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      That’s the worst part – we always go someplace fun! She isn’t afraid of the vet or any place that we actually go – just the means of getting there.

  90. Heather D October 30, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    My dog is working on this trick. She’s a timid rescue but smart and wants to do well.

  91. Rosemary November 16, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Hi Alison,

    This is my first visit here.

    I love how you’re working with Piper on her fear of the car. It’s wonderful to see the results of positive no-force training. The rewards for our dogs and for us are really immeasurable!

    I’m a positive training evangelist and tell anyone and their dog how fantastic these methods are. Charley my senior girl was terribly abused before she became part of our family. She was afraid of her own shadow. She’s so much better now and we’re working on supporting her everyday to be relaxed and more comfortable.

    She’s blossomed into a beautiful and mostly confident girl. All thanks to the positive no-force training and of course plenty of love.

    Thanks for this great article.

    Rosemary recently posted…The Best Vacuum Cleaner for German Shepherd HairMy Profile

    • SimonDawg November 22, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

      Hi Rosemary! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouragement as I work with Piper on overcoming this fear. Very much appreciated πŸ™‚ (PS. Looking forward to checking out your post about the best vacuum cleaner for dog hair!)

  92. Dale June 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    My dog is a little tricky to train, whenever i try to teach him something new he panics because he wants the treat so bad and does all the other tricks he knows in succession πŸ™‚ its pretty cute

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder June 12, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      That sounds super cute! Get that on video! πŸ™‚

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