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Ideas to help a blind dog settle on car rides


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The rescue I foster for has a blind dog who drools heavily during car rides. He doesn't settle and seems to mildly stressed which strikes me as understandable as he obviously can't anticipate the motion. His former home never took him on rides longer than 10 minutes, and that was to hang out at work or go to the vets etc so I don't think he has ever learned to associate cars with fun adventures. Any ideas on how to help him feel comfortable.

 

Don't get me started on how he came into rescue, let's just say he is 11 one of three dogs in the home of a "former" volunteer and the only one who has been turned into rescue because it seems to be have become inconvienant to try and fit him into their new lifestyle. He is a lovely dog, loads of fun and lots of energy. He and my youngster spend an hour playing together and I was fascinated how he was able to find Rievaulx and how quickly he learned my yard. I hope we can find him a home, we would love to be able to have him but we are going to moving along way and can't have another dog yet.

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I think that what Richard H said is important, a non-slip surface and a crate to confine and help him feel secure.

 

And, as Mara said, times in the car just for "fun" - treats, going nowhere, making it positive.

 

Good luck with this dear boy!

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You might try 3 mg. of melatonin about 1/2 hour before getting in the car. It works well for my thunder phobic dogs, and just this afternoon I used it to help a boarder settle down after his owner left. You can safely use 6 mg. if necessary.

 

L-theanine has also been mentioned here.

 

And my neighbors have used Pet Naturals Calming treats, which contain L-theanine for their hyper JRT/BT mix with great success. They're available in some pet stores and also (cheaper) here:

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/pet-naturals-calming-medium-large-dogs-21-chews

 

I doubt the problem has much to do w/ the dog's being blind. Most likely inexperienced with car rides and/or the motion upsets him. Either way, calming him for a while while he gets used to them may be helpful.

 

Good luck. And kudos to you for helping this old boy out till he finds a new home.

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I am not fostering him, wish I was but our house is going to be put up for sale in the next few weeks so we are trying to keep the resident numbers down :). His foster home has tried a crate in the house but he was very uncomfortable in it, he might never have been crate trained (a huge possibility) and he is 11 so know one feels like pushing him into learning something new!

He is happy to get in the car, happy to hang in the car, but once it starts moving he stands up and is no longer relaxed. Acording to his foster he is slowly improving but we wanted to see if we could come up with some ideas to help with the process, I think the kong idea is well worth ago and I know his foster has all sorts of potions that he has tried for other dogs so I think it is time for some experiments.

He is coming for a play date this weekend, so hopefully his foster can try some of the ideas.

We have placed two senior dogs over 11 in the last year to great homes and so we are hoping we will find another for Finn, but because he is also blind we are concerned. This has personally made me very angry as his owner adopted him, volunteered for the rescue, and is keeping his two sighted dogs but feels his oldest and blind dog would be better off finding a new home..... At the same time we are planning a move to a new country and we would not even consider this if we could not take our dog, but this guy could not even move his entire family to another New England state.... Grrrrrrrr

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People suck.

 

I've heard some of the same sorts of stupid things from people relinquishing dogs -- or trying -- to the rescue I volunteer with.

 

(On a Tuesday) "We're leaving for vacation on Friday. You have to come pick up the dog (who has a bite history) before we leave."

 

"We're moving tomorrow and the new house doesn't allow dogs. You have to come get him now!"

 

Geeze . . . .

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I have found that car crate does not = house crate. He might try a crate in the car (with the Kong, etc). I imagine not being able to see what was happening but having the sensation of movement could be very distressing. I would do what I could to secure him so he wouldn't feel like he was going to slide around or fall, and lots of short car rides that end up in hppy places.

 

Poor feller.

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Thank you for trying to help this senior fellow. I hope he ends up with a great home. Fingers crossed.

 

Yeah, our rescue just had someone email in saying that they could not take their dog to their new home (didn't allow dogs), and could we take it before Sept 30 or it was going to the county shelter. She says that she originally adopted the dog (an Aussie) from our rescue about 6 years ago. An Aussie is certainly possible as we do BC and BC mix rescue, but the administrator can not find any paperwork (and she is very organized). We are trying to find a foster regardless.

 

Jovi

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l-theanine and rescue remedy works well. With Phia, we have a marker word so that she knows what is going on... When we start moving, we say "here we go". To turn left we say "lean right". To turn right we say "lean left". To stop we say "whoa"... She had been in cars quite a bit before going blind and knows that something awesome waits on the other side, so she wasn't stressed... Maybe adding words to the trip will help...

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My blind dog seemed happier riding in the car when I used a solid-sided type crate rather than wire. He also seemed to settle better if the crate was just a tad more snug for him than I usually prefer for my dogs. I think he felt more secure in the smaller size and could brace himself more easily, with less room to bounce around when we were moving.

 

In the house he would often find himself a corner or something solid to lie next to, protecting at least one side. (Or he'd go in an open crate once he learned where they were.)

 

But he was my dog from puppyhood, and he was already used to crates and car rides when he lost his sight.

 

Good on you for helping out.

 

Liz S Nomad of the Middle Atlantic USA

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I used a solid-sided type crate rather than wire. He also seemed to settle better if the crate was just a tad more snug for him than I usually prefer for my dogs. I think he felt more secure in the smaller size and could brace himself more easily, with less room to bounce around when we were moving.

 

That's been my experience too. Her car crate is quite a bit smaller than her house one and it's a plastic airline style crate that's mostly blacked out with blankets. (this one to be exact http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3195394 in large and they're alway on sale) The crate's just big enough for her to stand, turn around lie down in a ball. She definitely prefers to brace up against the sides. I don't think Ness was crate trained when I started either and the first few rides had her looking pretty distressed - very wide-eyed and panting. Took a lot of tuning - turning it to an angle she'd willing jump in, various anti-slip mats, varying the amount she could see, etc - to get her to settle down and sometimes a gentle push to get her to crate up. Now it's just part of the routine and she sleeps most of the ride.

 

-Rich

 

-Rich

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I have a blind cocker spaniel who appears to be completely stressed when he's in the car. He pants heavily and will not lay down. Most dogs sleep in the car but not this little guy.

 

However, he gets animated when I jingle the car keys and once outside, he drags me to the car and tries to leap up even before I get the door open. If I say Not time for Car, he stubbornly plants his feet and leans towards the car.

 

I routinely haul him the 6 hour trip to KrisK's place. To look at him, you'd think he was traumatized but his loading behaviour shows me he adores going for rides.

 

If your dog is not difficult to load, I'd say he was probably okay. Blind dogs sometimes have weird body language and can be hard to read.

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