How to Solve Shih Tzus Fear of Car Rides

Shih Tzu In Car

Your Shih Tzu may love a ride in the car or may fear it considerably. The fear of being cooped up in a vehicle that is traveling far faster than they can run may be quite concerning to many dogs, including Shih Tzus. But there are ways that dog owners can help their pooches overcome their fear of being inside a vehicle when you use positive reinforcement.

It is possible that your dog either does not care or looks forward to a car ride. But there are good reasons why they may not like it as demonstrated in the examples below.

Why Shih Tzus Do Not Like Car Rides?

The most common is perhaps the unfamiliarity with being inside a car. The unusual smell, the feeling of being in motion, the vibrations, and the sounds of traffic as the car travels can combine to create a feeling that makes your Shih Tzu uncomfortable. But there are other reasons as well.

Bad Experiences: Let’s put it this way, if the only time you ever got into a vehicle was to go to the dentist, then you might not look forward to riding in a car. Same is true for a Shih Tzu that only gets into a vehicle on the way to visiting the vet. This feeling may be amplified if they come from a shelter, knowing that their previous owner took them to that place and abandoned them.

Motion Sickness: This happens to humans as well as pets. The feeling of nausea and vomiting may condition your Shih Tzu to not want to ride in a vehicle.   

What to Do?

Depending on why your Shih Tzu is scared of being in a vehicle, you can take the appropriate steps to correct the situation.

Positive Reinforcement: Arguably the best method to treat most issues with your Shih Tzu getting in the vehicle will stem from positive reinforcement. This means that you want to establish a car rides as a positive event for your pooch as often as possible.

  • Short car rides to fun places, such as a dog park
  • Limiting initial rides to curb motion sickness
  • Waiting until well after your dog eats before putting them in the car
  • Play with your Shih Tzu before starting the vehicle.
  • Gradually building up the experience of riding in vehicles

Over the Counter Medication: If your dog gets car sick, then some over the counter or prescription medication to ease the symptoms is the answer. Talk to your vet about what may work best for your Shih Tzu.

You will need to keep things consistent for each ride in the vehicle, gradually extending the distance until they do not even notice the time that has passed. It also helps to entice your Shih Tzu to the car with treats rather than forcing them inside the vehicle. By keeping the experience as positive as possible, your dog will start to look forward to getting in the car.

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