When you are in the car with your dog, does he suddenly start barking at other dogs and people going past or even at other cars?
It’s a very common problem and one, according to Greg Kleva, dog behavior therapist and master trainer with Bark Busters Home Dog Training, that can be easily rectified once you understand the reason for your dog’s behavior.
Start by asking yourself why he is barking:
- Is he confused about his ‘role’, thinking that he needs to protect himself, you and the car?
- Is he over stimulated? If he’s not calm getting into the car or sitting in the car with nothing happening, he’s not likely to remain calm when stimuli excite him.
- Is he nervous and possibly fearful of the ‘scary’ object approaching or moving near the car?
“Consider crating your dog and covering the crate,” suggests Kleva. “Also positioning your dog on the floor or putting up window shades can help. It’s a matter of diminishing or eliminating the dog’s view of the stimuli that are causing such an aggressive reaction.”
Dog training classes can also help a window-aggressive dog to understand that his owner is the ‘decision maker’ in the relationship and thus the one to decide who and what is safe to approach or move past the car.
“This will also help nervous dogs to look to and trust their owners, rather than feel they need to ‘take matters into their own hands’,” says Kleva. “Many people do a good job of exercising their dog’s body, but it’s the addition of a well exercised mind that will produce a more relaxed, calm attitude in a vehicle.”
Teaching your dog certain training commands such as “leave it” can help too. Kleva suggests practicing such commands in the yard, before moving on a stationary car and finally putting the car into gear and going somewhere.