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My seven month old Irish Setter hates travelling in th car so much that...

she'll lie down and refuse to move when we get close to the car after taking her for a walk. At the moment she's still light enough to pick up and carry the final hundred metres but as she grows bigger this will start to present a real problem. 

She's a real sweetheart in every other respect so in the grand scheme of things this seems like a minor issue. We just wondered if anyone else had experienced a similar behavioural issue and if so, what they did to tackle it?

Many thanks in advance,


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Hi JC, Is it general, that she does not want to get into the car or only when you come back from the walk and want to go home? If it is general, she maybe feels sick when inside the moving vehicle and some adjustments might do the trick, like covering the window close to the crate. If it is only at the end of a walk, you probably have a very clever girl, trying to find ways to extend the fun:-).

Mine didn't lay down but would go mad at the end of a walk and jump up and tear at my jacket - she was like a rubber ball and faster up again, than what I could turn round! I tried doing round trips and come from the other side to the car, but those trips had to be constantly new, because she knew them after one or two times. Then I noticed, that she liked to bring something home from her 'hunting trip' and I gave her something to carry for the last few hundred meters - a glove, a stick, a dummy, anything would do and she was happy with her trophy. Best wishes C & J

Hi C&J,

To be honest she's not happy about getting in the car before a walk either but at least she doesn't know about the journey until we're right next to the car so I can lift her into the boot. It's a very big estate car and she doesn't have a crate. We haven't yet managed to get her to jump into the boot of the car. She always has to be picked up, which she doesn't seem to mind.

When returning to the car though after a walk she recognises the terain when we're close and nearly always starts to lie down when we're within 1-200 metres. I've tried playing with a ball or a stick but she's onto me straight away. 

The journey is only five minutes max but I can't help thinking she developed a fear from the day I drove her home from the breeder which was a three hour drive and made very sick.

Hi JC, my 9 month old Vroni is just like your Luna.
Unfortunately, she gets sick while driving or even when she sees or smells the car.
We have already tried a lot that different trainers have suggested, how to playfully approach the car and slowly get used to the car (so jump in but do not start and drive, etc.) and ADAPTIL Transport Spray.

So if someone has ideas, I would be grateful too.

Trying to get her to get into the car without going anywhere sounds like a great idea. I'll give this a go over the next few weeks and see if it makes any difference. I'll maybe add a few treats into the mix.

Many thanks,

We had similar problems. I used to feed him in the car which seemed to help, he still needed to be coaxed in to start with, also just play around car I would get in one side and out the other and get him to follow.

upto about one year old he would get car sick quite quickly so needed lots of stops he’s 2 now and loves the car and car sickness gone.

i put sickness down to the speed they grow and balance not always the best in first year, which won’t help trying to balance in moving car

When you take her in the car take her to fun places and have lots of her favourite treats! Once she starts looking forward to the ride, you can gradually cut down the treats but you should definitely take her to at least as many fun places as the not-so-fun ones. :)  She may feel carsick.

I have an Irish gal that was very carsick after something spooked her one time in the car. We tried Bailey's Pet Rescue and similar products. We put lavender on her collar. Our vet prescribed Cerenia (which prevents vomiting and doesn't cause them to get sleepy; imperative for us when we took her to dog shows.) Nothing seemed to work. So, I tried something different. For several weeks my husband and I would just get in the car and sit quietly with it not running several times a day. We would just praise her. Gradually, we started talking to each other and continued praising her. After some time we began turning on the radio... then starting the car, but still not moving it. After that we would drive down the driveway (ours is rather long) turn around on the road and drive back up the driveway. We would praise her, allow her out and play chase, fetch, etc. As time went on we added a drive around the block; then to the store and back; then to the pet store where she would come in with us and the staff and other customers would give her treats at our request. Then we would take her to an area she could play in a river on long leash. Gradually we would let her off-leash. Sometimes we took her for vanilla ice cream. Other times we took her to the ocean. Gradually our trips would be to a field where she could track birds and chase butterflies. It took time but now if our car door or hatchback is open you will find all of our dogs in there! Good luck!

Hi Christine,

Many thanks for your thoughtful response. TBH we seemed to have cracked it now. The only reason she ever rides in the car is to go to some of her favourite walking spots so it was defintely the nausia that was the issue. She still isn't super enthusiastic about car trips but she's stopped playing dead now when we're a hundred metres or so away from the car.

Another month or two and hopefully she'll be comfrtable in the boot and free from car sickness.

Many thanks,


I saw after I sent my response that your original post was a while ago. It seems that most dogs with car sickness outgrow it. My Golden Retriever is very eager to get in the car but she is so anxious on drives I wonder why she even wants to go! Hahaha! I think she's anxious because most trips are to be groomed or vetted. :)  Not much to look forward to there. The younger girls appreciate it far more. Anyhow, so happy that she seems to be getting over it. :)




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