Kubo gets into the car on his own and looks out of the window.
This may seem normal but it has only just become a thing for us. He used to be awful in the car; every journey he would drool uncontrollably and really be very unhappy.
In hindsight we made a big mistake when we brought Kubo home and it has taken us about 4 months of severe patience to undo.
When we picked Kubo up we put him in the boot because we thought that in the future we did not want the dog with his muddy paws tramping over the seats. As advised, we drove a couple of miles and then pulled over for him to potentially be sick. He had already been sick – how he had so much in his little belly I’ll never know! He had clearly eaten a roast dinner and swallowed the runner beans whole!
We cleaned him up with the help of some ladies from the community centre where we had pulled over and continued home. He was sick several more times.
We continued taking Kubo in the car to get him used to it and he continued to be sick. He did stop the vomiting after a few days but would drool uncontrollably with anxiety and was clearly distressed.
Then it dawned on us: the car took him away from his family and the car made him feel nauseous so it was no wonder he didn’t want to go in it!
The training began. We tried to not take him out in the car and we fed him as many meals as was practical in the boot or on the back seat with the doors open. We worked up to closing the doors. The idea was to make the car a positive place.
This went on for a couple of months and then we were able to move on to to coaxing him into the vehicle as we’d read if he makes the decision to get in (rather than being picked up) it would be better.
I remember one of the first times sitting in the back passenger seat calling him into the car with a high-value treat for over 20 minutes. I was exhausted from being so patient and upbeat but he had done it and we kept working on it.
There were moments in car parks where I felt embarrassed as I sat there trying to get Kubo to come into the car without losing my cool and just picking him up. We (quite by accident) discovered that Kubo responded to weird noises and if we made an unusual sound he began getting in, presumably to see us and check we were OK! Using we discovered that we could get him in the front foot-well of his own accord within a few minutes. Though making strange noises in public car parks was even more embarrassing!
Then one day he was in the foot-well, I was in the passenger seat and he just climbed onto my lap. From that day he now chooses to sit on the front passenger seat (we have a seat belt for him) and he discovered that he enjoys looking out of the window. He is not a small dog and will always insist on sitting on the seat, even if it means sitting on someone’s lap!
We are slowly now trying to transition him to sit on the rear seats on his own. No doubt this will take another 6 weeks or so but by keeping calm and continuing to reassure him (with the help of tasty treats!) we know we will get there.