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Published: Sep 04, 2012

Anyone who's ever said the words "Do you wanna go for a walk?" to a dog knows how excited canines get when the opportunity to explore the great outdoors arrives. That's why it can be so much fun for pet owners to bring their pets to nearby parks, hiking trails, or the beach. But just as you always make sure to wear your seatbelt, you must also make preparations before traveling with your dog to ensure that they are safe and happy during the journey on the road.

One of the best ways to make sure your dog is comfortable is by employing crate training at home and on the road. Some people may think crate training is cruel, but many dogs enjoy the confinement a crate offers, and come to see the crate as a safe, comfortable space. VCA Animal Hospitals says finding a way to confine the dog in the car, either with a crate, seatbelt or harness, will help reduce her anxiety.

Dogs are unique and varied creatures, so you'll find that some canines do better than others when riding in the car. Dogs may pant, whine, bark, drool or feel needy for physical contact to comfort them in the car. Others will adapt well, or become very excited to go for a trip in the car.

Owners of dogs who do become anxious in the car can help their pet adjust by desensitizing their dog. When putting her in the car, bring a few of her cherished items, like chew or throw toys. Allow the canine to have some time in the car to adjust before the engine is turned on. Once you find your dog settles quickly when the car is off, you can begin the next phase of the training by offering her positive incentives, like treats. Start out by slowly moving the vehicle back and forth within the driveway. These can eventually increase to short drives, but it's best to avoid any long road trips until your canine is well adjusted to the car.

Pet owners whose dogs are already enthusiastic about the car should not allow their canine to hang their head out the window as they drive. Though the dog may want to smell the fresh air as she rides, this behavior puts her in danger of injury or worse.

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