Dogcharmer: Cosmo in the car

Treats can help smooth over anxiety during a car ride.

Cosmo may become less anxious about a car ride if special treats come along. —Courtesy Tom Shelby

Dear Tom,

I have a question for you regarding my dog, Cosmo. He is a 1½ year old German shepherd. I have been working on getting him socialized, and taking him into town for walks. He used to love going on car rides. Recently he’s been getting anxious in the car before we even get to town. During the car ride, when I drive into town with my brother, he tends to become very anxious, and starts pacing and whining. He’s fine when we get out of the car for a walk. He’s also calm on the drive home. Is there anything I can do to help him not be so anxious when going for a car ride into town? I would like him to feel comfortable every time we go for rides.


Dear Kat,

From your description, it sounds like the anxiety may possibly be connected to the addition of your brother on the car rides. So, if feasible, have your brother offer Cosmo “special treats” on the ride into town. If the only time Cosmo gets pieces of chicken or hot dog is on the drive to town, he may start to love those rides! Or you could try a “special toy,” a toy that He Only Gets in the car On The Ride To Town. A hollow marrow bone with a small piece of meat wedged in the middle is likely to keep Cosmo working at getting the meat out, with little else to worry about. Be happy and upbeat throughout the whole process, and it should become infectious for Cosmo. Good luck!

Dogcharmer Tom

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