Betty is fairly light so I haven’t felt the need to teach her to get in the car on her own, but I noticed this week that I was being a bit silly especially as she can jump like a stag when the fancy takes her! I think that she is the right age to learn now too, I worry about the soft joints on puppies up to about 8 months, from an agility training point 12 months is the youngest age I would start them, but for a heavier breed I would wait even longer! For jumping in the car eight months seems perfect, plus the weather on Sunday was great and I had a lovely time outside dog training for the first time in some weeks!
Teaching a dog to get in the car is no different to any other training exercise, correct help, food and repetition makes perfect! I had Betty on the lead and a pocketful of titbits. I began by showing Betty the food and threw a titbit into the boot of the car, she put her front feet up to look, but made no attempt to jump in, I put my hand under her bottom and gave her the minimal help, obviously once in she could eat the titbit, I praised her and asked her to get out again. I repeated this several times, still she made no attempt to lift herself, she needed a bit more of a clue! I moved away from the car and ran at the boot, as we arrived I gave a lift on her collar and she jumped in! We repeated this until I did not have to use the lead at all, each time I praised her and gave her a treat. I took her out in the car to train away from home, when we were ready to return she jumped in the car herself! Job done, as long as I put her in the car daily for a week or so to ensure she remembers!
While talking about cars, Betty travels in a crate, a soft one that is secured in the car, so that in the event of an emergency stop or worse, neither Betty or crate will hit me in the back of the head. Pie always wears a dog harness secured in the back to make him safe also. Please make sure your dog is secure in the car, I do not want to hear that one of them has caused anyone an injury nor been injured because they were travelling loose!