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Riding in the Car with Gracie

I live about 2 hours away from my parents, so I go home to visit them every other weekend. (I also have a writing group every two weeks in my parents’ hometown, so it’s very convenient). Whenever I go visit my parents, I have to bring Gracie. I actually think they’re more excited to see her than they are me. Whenever I walk in the door, the first thing everyone asks is “Where’s the puppy?” 
When Gracie was younger (she is almost 11 weeks now), riding in the car was no problem. She would spend a lot of time sleeping in her pink dog bed (see picture below). 
Her bed is actually her “comfort” place. She crawls in it whenever she needs comfort and mama is too busy to play with her. I also place all of her toys in her bed whenever she’s not playing with them. (It’s like cleaning after a little child sometimes!) So in the car ride, she typically sleeps or sits in her bed the entire car ride. 
Recently this has changed. Last time I took her home, she slept for the first hour and the second hour, she whined and whined until I picked her up. She’s still small enough that I can hold her in one arm while driving. Once she settled down and no longer whined, I placed her on my lap where she fell asleep… When I placed her in her bed again, she slept for a few minutes and then started whining again.
I am not sure why this change and why she doesn’t like being in the car. She used to love it… But I do need her to outgrow this strange habit, because when she gets older, it will be too dangerous for her to sleep in my lap while I’m driving.
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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • spotts July 22, 2010, 4:48 pm

    Your little dog is so cute. I groom many Shih Tzu puppies and they are one of my favorite. Enjoy her and give her the best food possible to ensure a long, healthy fife. Check out my website spotts grooming for grooming and nutritional tips.

  • LunaKris July 23, 2010, 3:19 pm

    Maybe she could travel in a little pet carrier. She's learned whining and fussing will get her what she wants.

    I once had a Cocker Spaniel who favored my feet while I drove and had to be confined to the backseat. Puppies around the feet are VERY dangerous while driving!

  • DP July 23, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I just hate putting her in a pet carrier. I think it will make the whining worse. I am going to try to discipline her and teach her that whining is not the right way to go! She is still young, so maybe that will work.

  • pennysplayground July 30, 2010, 7:54 am

    For short rides having her be in her bed is ok, but for longer rides she should be in a carrier or doggie bag that you can secure with the seat belt.

    In case of an accident, if she isn't in a carrier or secured, she will get tossed around and could get hurt.

    Whenever I have to drive alone with Penny, I put her into her Sherpa dog carrier bag and secure it into the front seat with a seat belt. For short rides where my wife is in the car, Penny will lie on her lap and my wife will hold her securely or block any possible forward movement with her arms.

    Even if you are a very careful driver, accidents usually happen because the "other person" isn't driving defensively. I have read too many horror stories about people who have gotten into accidents with their pets to ever take a chance with my little girl.

  • pennysplayground July 30, 2010, 7:57 am

    Oh forgot to mention that now is the perfect time to get her used to riding around in a carrier or bag because she's still young.

    Give her some of her favorite treats when she is in the bag and she will associate being in the bag and the car as a good thing that will get her tasty snacks.

    Also, although it's hard, you don't want to give in to her crying (I'm a softie too when it comes to dogs crying), but by giving in, she is actually training you to do what she wants instead of the other way around. Puppies are smart and really good at being manipulative in a cute way. 😀

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