What really happened, George?

We have written about how George stresses out in cars … and the attempts to help ease his anxieties.

We’ve tried – Adaptil Collars, calming drops, vet prescribed drugs but nothing had full or much effect on him. At best he would lie down and pant a bit slower. 🙁

In a conversation with Hebe’s mum, Jane, we thought to try the homeopathic way – Rescue Remedy and some other homeopathy concoction.  We gave that to him before the car ride to the train station. He was in the back of the car and was panting.  But instead of sitting while shaking and panting, he laid down and panted – less tongue. But the minute the car stopped, he leapt from the back seat onto Mummy’s lap and continued panting – but his panting got worse. Was he afraid that Mummy was leaving him?

Can’t say that was success. Arrrghhh!
Many other conversations ensued … and many theories were discussed.

Jane suggested maybe he had a bad experience with cars. No, Mummy said, not with cars!  How could he have a bad experience with cars if he was a street dog? His behaviour when he first came to live with us showed he had bad experiences with trucks and buses. When he saw large vehicles in the distance, he would go splat – putting on all four brakes. Those big vehicles must have been frightening when he was wandering the streets.  He did not react the same way with cars.  Someone else suggested he could be having car sickness or hers feeling claustrophobic because he is ok when he puts his head out the window. So why does he not stress in buses or trains? In planes he may pant at first because it’s all a new environment to him but he soon settles.  The minute he gets into a car, he’s desperate to sit on Mummy’s lap and starts to pant even before the car is started. He has to sit upright, doesn’t want to be cuddled though he wants Mummy’s hands on him – he needs the reassurance she’s there.

If the window is open, he likes to put his head out.

And when he does that, he doesn’t pant.

Worried, that he might jump out of the window to flee the situation, Mummy held on to his collar. But he wasn’t interested in fleeing.  Even though he feels better with his head out of the window, he would come back in after a while and start to pant again. He always has to look outside. Friends have told of their own experiences with their rescue dogs with their ingrained habits – such as fleeing whenever the front door is open.  Something terrifying that frightened them seem to have been ingrained in their heads even years after they have been rescued.  When a similar situation reminded them of a frightening situation – they seem to react just as they did years ago.

Along that vein, someone suggested that George’s stressing in a car could have been a bad experience.  Was it his last memory of being left after being in a car?  Was he thrown out of the car?  No one would ever know. But it is something psychological.

George, can you tell us what really happened to you?

May’s comment:  I wish he could tell us what really happened to him during the first year of his life.  Where were you? What frightened you, George?

All the “quick solutions” to curb his anxieties have not worked. Do I accept that there is absolutely no cure for his stress factor in cars? When speaking to City Dog Expert who gave me a few tips on how to use positive reinforcement to help him overcome his fears. It’s not a quick fix. It will require a lot of patience, a lot of working with him in cars with treats. Need to find the time because it would be really nice if all three of us continue to journey together but till then, very, very lucky that we have so many takers for George.

He is WIP – Work in Progress. But worth every ounce of energy.

For those who have not met George – he was a street dog in Hungary. He came to us via Hungary Hearts Dog rescue about four years ago. He is still mystery sometimes but he has mainly settled in. Full of character, most endearing to all humans but still has inclination for resource guarding when it comes to food and affection. DNA testing shows he’s a Maltese, Yorkie, Shih-Tzu cross – but he looks like he has some poo in him!

18 Comments

  1. Christine

    Have you tried a crate for him in a car? My two are so much better in a crate, especially Gracie who would get so stressed and pant.

  2. Jan Anderson

    My Georgie is afraid of car rides, too. He shook and panted when I picked him up from the breeder at 8 weeks and has done so ever since. We’ve tried everything medication wise there is. I wonder if it’s a noise, a smell, the motion or claustrophobia? It’s the same in every car, not just ours. I’ve heard that CBD oil works but I haven’t tried it (yet) and am not sure if you can get it in England. There’s a very helpful website for it by the company Pet Releaf. That’s my next step in solving the mystery, maybe it could work for your Georgie. Fingers crossed!

    • Miss Darcy

      Is it Just called CBD oil? I am thinking the whole positive reinforcement might have to be the answer.

  3. Laura

    I hear CBD oil is good too. It’s a derivative of hemp and is very calming. My dogs don’t do well in cars either by the way. At least George doesn’t throw up!

  4. Rita and Gracie

    Gracie whines and whinges and pants on the outward journey to anywhere but on the return journey she just lays down without a peep. We have tried sprays, drops on on her collar and tablets none have worked. Our vet thinks it’s just excitement like a small child saying “Are we nearly there yet”?so we don’t think it’s car sickness or fear but it’s the same on both short and long car journies,if you find a solution I’d be grateful to share it.🤔🙄

    • Sarah Johnson

      What about driving for half an hour and ending up back home sometimes?
      So that she can start to feel confident she’ll be back home at the end of a journey?
      Just a random thought.

      • Miss Darcy

        Yes, that’s the next step but it will take a long time as he is already nervous the minute he enters the car without it moving. We have to start with treat before car door even opens and slowly slowly. He doesn’t even want treats once inside.

  5. Louise

    Have you tried working with an animal communicator/psychic as that way perhaps you would be able to get from them memories of a past life which in turn would help with this life as they would then “tell” George the best way of overcoming this dreadful fear he has.

  6. Sarah Johnson

    It does sound as though he had a very bad experience and your suspicion about him being thrown out of a car may be on the nail…
    Having said that we once had a very much loved spaniel, who had never known a moment of abuse in his life, who was a NIGHTMARE in the car: he would stand on the back seat panting, rubbing his nose and drooling all over the window and barking his head off. He was OK though if he was sitting in the front passenger seat footwell with his head on someone’s lap. Probably not a situation that would meet modern safety standards.

  7. Mary Trojak

    Hi May…I can recommend 2 animal communicators that may be able to help…will PM you later

  8. Mary Trojak

    Hi May
    I can recommend 2 animal communicators…will email you later…

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