Wynston and I have done a ton of traveling since 2017. Our most enjoyable travel has been in the car, where we’ve made innumerable memories. With the exception of one family trip, Wyn and I have been on all of our road trips in the company of each other – just he and I. I personally love traveling alone with my son. We never really have a plan or schedule, and we don’t have to worry about anyone else. Since discovering our passion for travel, I’ve realized that now our car is my dog’s happy place. But why is that? To me, the answer is clear.
Why Our Car is My Dog’s Happy Place
Unfortunately I realize that many dogs suffer from car sickness, as well as severe anxiety while riding in a vehicle. While both conditions can possibly be treated, it’s a potentially difficult journey having to deal with either. Luckily Wynston has never had an issue with the car. You can’t necessarily help a dog’s troubles with motion sickness (aside from administering medication), but you can train them to at least enjoy car rides without being anxious in most cases.
I started toting Wynston around in the car when he was a young pup (6 months old) so it’s not a new endeavor for him. But as he got older, we spent more and more time in the car, whether it was on a short road trip or to a pet event of sorts. Taking your dog on FUN adventures in the car is important because I’d like to think they “offset” not-so-fun ones. For example:
Many dog moms and dads think that their dog will hate the car after going to the vet. This won’t likely be true if you also use the car for positive experiences, such as going to play dates or grabbing a Puppucino from Starbucks. For every one “negative” car ride (like going to the vet or getting a nail trim), Wynston gets five other positive ones. This way he’s associating our vehicle with an overall exciting reward.
In 2019 we traveled about 15,000 miles in the car. We’ve camped overnight in our vehicle, as well as driven for about 14 hours in one day. People often ask me, “How does Wynston do in the car for that long?” Well, he loves it. He just sleeps. Relaxes. Enjoys the quiet hums of our vehicle and the fact that we’re together.
People also hit me with, “My dog could never be in the car that long.” Or something like that. I think a lot of times people who don’t know our history judge me for taking such long trips with Wynston. But what those same people don’t know is how relaxing it is for the two of us. We take frequent stops and maybe do a bit of sightseeing along the way. If I feel like Wyn is becoming restless, we stop for a snack and to stretch our legs. It simply comes down to knowing your dog.
To be frank, it’s not like I started out by taking Wynston on 12 hour road trips. We began little by little. Perhaps an hour long car ride. Then maybe a trip to Flagstaff, which is two hours. Then went up to six, then eight, and so on and so forth. I’m at the point now where I won’t drive more than 12-14 hours in a day because it’s just too much for me. We tend to split long road trips into eight hour increments.
Our car is my dog’s happy place for these basic reasons:
- It means we’re spending time together.
- I always treat it as an adventure.
- The car is mostly associated with positive experiences.
- I’m incredibly relaxed in our vehicle, and that energy translates to Wynston.
- I make the back seat super cozy for Wynston, with pillows and blankets.
- It’s a secure place.
Now you may be asking yourself, “is he just relaxed in YOUR car or is it ALL cars?” The answer is – all cars. When he jumps in a vehicle, no matter how big, small or loud, he’ll make himself cozy. My boyfriend drives a Dodge Hellcat – a loud 700 horsepower vehicle. Wynston will still sleep soundly in the back seat.
Wynston shows me that the car is his happy place by displaying the following behavior:
- Completely relaxed body language while riding in the car
- Always falls asleep almost immediately
- Comfortable waiting for me in the car if necessary
- “Wanna go?” is his favorite phrase
- Doesn’t cry, bark or whine in the car
Our car is my dog’s happy place. To Wynston it’s a place of peace, safety and positivity. Traveling in our vehicle has created endless memories, experiences and happiness for us together.
Does your dog enjoy riding in the car?