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Hi All,
I am planning to drive from NJ to Florida for Christmas break. It is about 1200 miles drive with the overnight stop in SC. Usually it takes 12 hrs on day one and about 8 hrs day two.
This is the first time we are taking Ruger our mini puppy along with us. He is going to be 10 weeks at the time of the drive down to FL and about 13 weeks on the way back.
I was not really worried about this trip until yesterday. Ruger was great in the car. Even the first trip from the breeder was no issue. We were taking him around in the car several times and he liked it. Yesterday i had to go to the office and asked my husbands to give me a lift. We took Ruger with us and boy or boy he acted like he is being killed. Cried and tried to get out from my hands. I never saw him acting like this. Needless to say that I did not get to the office and we turned back home.
We also had a vet visit scheduled later on, so had to get to the car again. This time I did not hold him but put him in his doggie booster seat on the back with me sitting next to him. Had a lot of treats with me. This was a bit better, but still hard and he was not happy.
I have no idea what triggered this behavior. And also really concerned how our trip can go next week.
Really appreciate any advise.
 

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I used to drive around 16-18 hours at Christmas with the dogs. They did fine in the car, but I had to stop much more frequently to let them stretch their legs, perhaps every 100 miles or so, which lengthened the trip. I trust you've already figured out which hotels are dog-friendly for your stop in SC.

Do you have any clues as to what is triggering your dog's anxiety? Different car? different driver? lack of experience? prior experience being driven somewhere not fun (for many dogs, that's a trip to the vet)? was this the first time you held him in the car?

How early in the trip does your dog react? When the car starts? When the car moves? When the doors shut? After 20 minutes of driving?

You'll have to work hard to retrain this in the short time you have, but where to start depends on these answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I booked a dog friendly hotel close to 95 in SC.
I have no clues what triggered this reaction. Same car, same people in the car. And yes, the last trip was to the vet, but it was not an unpleasant experience for Ruger. Vet was very nice and gentle, no shots that time, Ruger did not look stressed at all. The ride home was fine.
Yesterday he started acting really stressed the minute we got in the car and was like that until we got back home.
I will try to drive around with him over the weekend. Really hope this will go away.
 

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When I brought my minipoo home she was car sick and fearful of the car. She was almost a year old so slightly different situation. But I had obedience classes to drive to as well as vet and park for walks.

I worked to desensitize my dog to the car. It took me a week. Perhaps my plan can help you.

I broke up the car ride into tiny steps, treated each step and I did it several times each day. As soon as my dog was comfortable with one step I moved onto the next. If you get stuck at a step move back steps until your dog is comfortable.

These are the steps I remember (this was several years ago).

going into the garage near the car then back in the house
opening car door but not getting in
Going to car and jumping onto the floor but not car seat
Jump to car seat
Buckle in harness (I now use a sleepypod) so you should replace this step with a safe method to secure your puppy in the car
Closed the door with me standing next to it so she could see me
I got in the car and sat quietly
Open and shut garage door
Drive car onto driveway short distance
Drive to end of driveway
Pull on to street and drive a short distance
Drive up and down our cul de sac
Drive a few blocks
Drive to park to walk

I probably worked in this at least 5 times a day and some days we moved through steps quickly first day or two was slow repeating each step a couple of times before moving on.

As mentioned above plan many short potty breaks to allow your dog to potty and stretch its legs. With a dog that isn’t fully vaccinated you can take potty pads and put them on the ground or park away from where dogs normally potty. You don’t want your dog to pick something up from an infected dog.

Good luck.
 

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I did something similar to Skylar's method with my new puppy . . have no idea why he grew frightened after a super ride home from the breeder. I used peanut butter as reinforcement, and didn't use PB for any other situations.

My first thought was keeping your pup safe from any disease during potty breaks. (You didn't mention vaccination status.) Even in my town, vets warn about taking young puppies to public parks due to Parvo.

Good luck!
 
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