Kate Ellam explains how to make your dog feel calm in the car, but still be safe.


My three-year-old Shih Tzu gets extremely excited in the car. She often distracts the driver, and other drivers on the road, as she leaps around and scratches at the window. I hate the thought of putting her in a small crate during car journeys, especially if they are long. Do you have any suggestions on how I can calm her down?

Kate says: Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: ‘when in a vehicle, make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you while you are driving, or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness,
pet carrier, dog cage, or dog guard are considered safe ways of restraining animals in cars.’

Depending on the vehicle you have, you could teach your dog to feel comfortable about travelling in the boot with a dog guard up, or you could carefully introduce a harness and seat belt. Your Shih Tzu may have associated journeys in the car with something fun, such as going for a walk or visiting friends and family. You still want her to see the car as a positive thing, but encourage a relaxed state so she (and anyone else in the car with her) feels at ease.

It may be that she is worried by travelling in the car, rather than excited. With any concerning behaviour, it’s always worth having your dog examined by a vet to rule out any potential medical cause. Your vet will also be able to refer you to a certified clinical animal behaviourist registered with the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour or the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. An accredited behaviourist will be able to help you get to the bottom of the emotion underlying her behaviour, and give you a personalised plan to work on for both you and
your dog.

Kate Ellam – A professional development canine behaviour officer at Dogs Trust.


Friends on Tour Car Seat

The Car Seat is equipped with a raised seat and an extra compartment below, which enables your dog to look out of the window for a joyful car ride.


T: 0207 1542940

E: [email protected]

W: www.trixie.de


Tootsy Universal Dog Car Safety Belt

This adjustable red seatbelt is designed for dogs of all sizes, to keep them safe when on the go.

T: 0800 0119200

E: [email protected]

W: www.trespass.com/trespaws