Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

My Pets Go Crazy in the Car ... How Can I Calm Them Down?

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Hi Greg,

Can you give me some advice for keeping my dog calm in the car? He is a Jack Russell Terrier…very ‘bouncy’ by nature. And in the car he is definitely bouncing-- from the back seat to the passenger seat to my lap, etc. He REALLY goes crazy anytime someone walks past the car. What can I do? - Casey, Oregon

Before taking your dog along for a car ride, it’s always a good idea to provide your dog with exercise to exhaust him; both physical and mental stimulation are good. Take your dog on a walk before you get in the car.  Be sure your dog walks a good heel-- start, stop, change direction, and vary your pace to keep your dog thinking while you’re walking. You might also practice some sit/stay exercises or any other mentally stimulating games 1/2 hour before your trip.

In the car, keep your dog occupied with his favorite toy or a food-stuffed toy to keep him focused and challenged.

Most importantly, keep your dog restrained and safe in the car. Doing so properly keeps you and your passengers safe, keeps your dog safe, and keeps your dog calmer and better behaved.

Pet Product Company Kurgo and AAA recently released statistics which indicate that 1 out of 3 dog owners admit to being distracted by their dogs while driving, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 1/2 million drivers are injured and thousands die each year due to driver distraction.

There are a lot of options to accomplish pet friendly, pet safe travel. Solutions to control your dog’s behavior in the car include:

  • Pet harness & safety belt
  • Hard-sided or soft-sided pet travel crate (with tie-downs)
  • Pet vehicle seat
  • Vehicle pet barrier
  • Auto ‘zip-lines’

Here are some pictures of me with my dogs and their pet friendly, pet safe travel gear…

1 of 4
Clementine is ready to ride!

1 Clementine is ready to ride!

Me and Clementine with her shades

2 Me and Clementine with her shades

Clementine, Snickers, and Luke

3 Clementine, Snickers, and Luke

Me and my dogs all ready for a ride on a beautiful day

4 Me and my dogs all ready for a ride on a beautiful day

Have a question for Greg? Tune in to "It's a Dog's Life" every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and call 866-675-6675 with your questions. You can also email Greg.

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