As some of you may know, our Tommy came to us fearful of vehicles – not just riding in them but vehicles, period. After months of work, we have been able to get him to the point of being able to ride on the floor of our truck for a short distance at a low speed without having a panic attack.
Unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it, we now have a new vehicle – a van. A totally different looking and sounding vehicle. Since we had accustomed Tommy to the old truck, we have to now get him used to the new van. So I am now videoing the realtime training I am doing to get Tommy used to the van.
Sounds tedious, I know, but necessary. I am basically starting over with his training. To put this in perspective, a fearful dog benefits from a change in his perception of the thing he fears. When Tommy’s fear developed, he was simply shoved into a crate in the back of a vehicle and was driven about 1300 km to his new home. Because of this, I will likely never be able to crate him again in a vehicle. It is just too risky to try as it would likely undo all the training I have done.
Instead I plan on having him ride on the floor of the van between the seats and later, be belted sitting on the seat in an appropriate dog seatbelt.
This is the reality of fear issues with dogs. The training takes time (as all training really does), and it is irrational. You can’t reason with a dog to get rid of his fear. Instead, I like to think of it as a relationship building time that we spend together.