Meet Winnie the Golden Retriever
Winnie’s owners contacted Forrest Animal Behaviour when they noticed that Winnie was struggling with car travel. This meant that when the family had holidays or trips out, Winnie would miss out as she didn’t want to get in the car. This was also a worry for Winnie’s owners, as if she would need to see the vet, they would also need to take her in the car.
During Winnie's first assessment, Winnie was shown to be a very active dog who loves the freedom of walks and playing with her toys. She is also very smart knowing a range of tricks and training tasks. From the history, it was found that Winnie found the car a scary place which restricted her movement and possible access to her owners. This meant the car was a place she wanted to avoid.
The treatment plan for Winnie involved starting from the very beginning and building positive associations. This meant starting with her harness and collar, as these were predictors for car travel. We also introduced a settle behaviour on a mat, which would soon be transferred into the car. Introducing a settle behaviour with a mat will provide the desired behaviour for Winnie, while also providing her with an object in the car to help to change for associations of the car from the previous negative associations.
Winnie is still having sessions with Forrest Animal Behaviour, and will soon be working on getting in and out of the car. She has already conquered the harness, even placing her harness on herself! Her owners have been brilliant at listening to Winnie when she feels overwhelmed, and taking the behaviour modifications at her pace. Here at Forrest Animal Behaviour, we look forward to her sessions and can’t wait to see her in the car, and happy!