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How to stop a dog barking in the car

a dog in a car with the caption how to stop a dog barking in the car

Do you ever have trouble with your dog barking in the car? It can be really annoying and distracting, not to mention it can make it difficult to concentrate on driving.

In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to stop a dog barking in the car. Keep reading for more information.

Contents of this article:

  1. Why does my dog bark in the car?
  2. How to stop a dog from barking in the car.
  3. Symptoms of travel anxiety in dogs.
  4. Tips for combatting car anxiety.
    1. Desensitisation and counter conditioning.
    2. Motion sickness.
    3. Crate training.
    4. Car rides with a purpose.
    5. Staying calm yourself.
    6. Wraps such as thunder shirts.
    7. Herbal remedies.
    8. Medication.
  5. Barrier frustration.
  6. How to stop a dog barking in the car due to barrier frustration.
    1. Distraction.
    2. Crate training.
    3. Window film.
  7. Excitement.
  8. How to stop a dog from barking in the car due to excitement.
    1. Change the association.
    2. Calming activities.
    3. Desensitization.
    4. Exercise them beforehand.
    5. Calming products.
  9. Conclusion.

Why does my dog bark in the car?

The three main reasons for dogs barking in the car are anxiety, barrier aggression, and excitement.

In this section, we will look at dealing with barking in the car due to anxiety. This is usually the case for dogs that are not used to car rides. The dog may be anxious about being in an enclosed space, or they may be anxious about being away from their owner.

Maybe they’ve previously had an unpleasant experience during a car ride. Maybe the car ride took them somewhere that wasn’t pleasant, like the vet or the groomer, and they now associate the car with going there.

If you’re looking for ways how to stop a rescue dog from barking in the car, this is the likely cause.

How to stop a dog from barking in the car.

So how do we stop a dog from barking in the car? The first step is to identify what triggers your dog’s barking behavior. Once you know this, you can work on addressing that specific trigger.

Symptoms of travel anxiety in dogs.

Symptoms of travel anxiety can vary from dog to dog. The most common symptoms are trembling, heavy panting, movement (particularly pacing), excessive drooling, hyperactivity, barking or whining, vomiting, urination, and defecation.

Tips for combatting car anxiety.

Desensitisation and counter conditioning.

This is a process where you expose your dog to the car in a positive way, until they no longer associate the car with anxiety. Start by getting your dog used to being in the car without going anywhere.

You can do this by feeding your dog their meals in the car, or giving them treats while they are in the car. Once your dog is comfortable being in the car, you can start turning the engine on, and then progress to taking brief trips around the block.

Slowly increase the length of the trips until your dog is comfortable going for long car rides. If your dog is suffering severe anxiety about the car you may need to take a few steps back and start with just rewarding your dog for looking at the vehicle and building up from there.

Always go at your dog’s pace and never force your dog to go in the car. This process may take months, so start now and take your time.

Motion sickness.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from car anxiety due to previously experiencing car sickness or motion sickness, there are things you can do to help.

Try feeding them a light meal before traveling and keeping them hydrated with plenty of water. If possible, take frequent breaks during your trip so they can get out and move around. 

Crate training.

Crate training can be helpful for dogs that are anxious about being in the car. The crate will provide a safe space for your dog to relax, and it will help to prevent them from pacing or barking.

Car rides with a purpose.

Make sure that your dog has a positive association with car rides by taking them on car rides they enjoy. This could be to the dog park, on a hike, or to a friend’s house.

Staying calm yourself.

Dogs can pick up on your anxiety and distress, so make sure that you stay calm and relaxed when you are in the car. This will help to keep your dog calm too.

Wraps such as thunder shirts.

Thunder shirts work by applying pressure to the dog’s body, which has a calming effect. This can be helpful for dogs that are anxious about car rides.

Herbal remedies.

There are some herbal remedies that can help to calm dogs. This could be something like Rescue Remedy, or you could ask your vet for a recommendation.


In severe cases, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help your dog with their anxiety.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach for helping a dog get over their car anxiety, these tips can be a good place to start.

If your dog’s anxiety persists or gets worse over time, it is important to consult a veterinarian or animal behavior specialist for further advice and support.

Barrier frustration.

This type of barking usually occurs when the dog sees something outside of the car that they want to get to, but they can’t. This can be another dog, a person, or even an animal.

The dog may bark in frustration that they can’t get to the other person or animal, or they may be trying to get the person or animal to come closer to them.

How to stop a dog barking in the car due to barrier frustration.


There are a few different methods that you can use to stop your dog from barking in the car due to barrier frustration. One of the most effective is to provide them with plenty of stimulation, toys, and activities while they’re riding in the car. This will help distract them and prevent them from getting frustrated.

Crate training.

Another way to deal with this is with crate training. Crating your dog while they’re in the car can help to keep them calm and reduce their frustration and it’s possible to cover the crate with a blanket to block the view and further reduce their arousal levels.

Window film.

If your dog is especially prone to barrier frustration, you may also want to consider investing in some dark car window film that can help keep them from seeing outside of the car. This can be a great way to prevent them from getting frustrated when they see something that they want to approach but are unable to.


Some dogs just get really excited when they are in the car. They may be excited about going for a ride, and where they’re going to end up. This type of barking can be loud, and it can also last for a long time.

How to stop a dog from barking in the car due to excitement.

Change the association.

The best way to stop a dog from barking because of excitement is to change the association with car rides. Go for boring rides that do not result in the dog getting to fun destinations like the dog park or agility.

If you can safely take your dog with you whilst you run errands, do so. The more car rides end in the dog being disappointed, the less likely he is to get excited about them.

Calming activities.

You can also provide plenty of calming activities, such as stuffed Kongs or Lickimats in the car to keep them entertained and prevent them from getting overexcited.


Another method is desensitization by exposing your dog to the car in short intervals and rewarding him for being calm. It may be that to begin with, your dog can only manage to look at the car with the door open whilst staying calm.

Build up gradually, aiming to keep your dog under their threshold at all times. If your dog loses their mind, go back a few steps and build up again. This should be done over a period of weeks or even months until your dog is no longer excited about the car.

Exercise them beforehand.

Provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before the car ride. This can help tire them out and reduce their excitement, making it easier for them to stay calm during the ride.

Calming products.

Additionally, you may want to consider investing in some calming products or supplements for your dog, such as natural calming oils or supplements, that can help relax and soothe them during the ride.


All of these solutions work well, but it’s important that you find what works best for you and your pet.

In order to manage your dog’s barking effectively and prevent it from remaining a problem, you will need to be consistent and patient. Stay calm, remain patient, and focus on rewarding positive behaviors while redirecting negative behaviors.

With time and consistency, you should be able to manage your dog’s barking and help them learn how to better control their emotions in the car.

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