How to Get a Stubborn Dog to Leave the Car

Getting out of the car is scary or painful. Some dogs get nervous with the big jump down from the car and will choose to stay in the car rather than take the risk. For other dogs, pain can be a contributing factor, especially if they have jumped out easily in the past. Various conditions, such as arthritis or a luxating patella, can cause a dog to hesitate when getting out of the car, because getting down equals pain.

Solution: Pet ramps that attach to cars allow your dog to get in and out of the car without having to jump. Ramps are ideal for timid and fearful dogs, as well as for dogs experiencing pain. If you suspect pain is a problem with your pet, talk to your veterinarian. There are a variety of treatments available to make life more comfortable for a pet experiencing chronic pain.


Your dog may be anxious or may be guarding her space. Some dogs get extremely stressed and fearful on car trips. Fear can cause some dogs to freeze up and be unable to move; these dogs can take awhile to get back to normal even after the car stops. Other dogs will guard their sleeping and resting spaces — including their seat in the car. These dogs may stiffen up when you approach and show signs of stress, such as a narrowing of the eyes and a tightened mouth. Be extremely cautious if this is how your dog is behaving as she may bite to keep others away from her special spot.

Solution: If your dog is displaying signs of anxiety, aggression or guarding in the car, talk to your veterinarian. He can help you address the problem or refer you to a positive reinforcement trainer as these issues can get more serious without intervention and may result in a bite.

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