If the Car's Ashakin', Don't Come Abrakin'


I am having a problem. I found out something about my dog that is disturbing. After awhile in the car, apparently mostly on highway rides, he starts to shake uncontrollable, shaking like a leaf. His mouth is hanging open, he is panting very heavily, and I think he gets sort of a glassy look in his eyes too (hard to tell when I'm driving). His entire body is shaking. If you put your hand on his chest you can feel it, on his legs, everywhere. What is going on with him? Is it something about what he can SEE with highway driving? Is it the temperature? A combination?


This is very common. And no, it is not the temperature of the car. He is not cold. He is either a) nervous or b) excited. If he is nervous, placing him in a crate or somewhere where he might feel more "surrounded" and secure will generally help. Preventing him from seeing out will also help because of the lack of visual stimulus to set off his nervousness. It goes away sometimes after many exposures to the car. Some dogs never get over it.

If it's excitement, there's not much you can or need to do about it. Many working Border Collies will do this before being allowed onto the field for work. We have a couple that will just sit at the gate, shaking like a leaf, in anticipation. I just saw one of the best working dogs in the world not too long ago and before she was let out to work the little thing was so visibly shaking I thought she was going to knock herself over. It's a good thing, not necessarily a bad. Goes to show you just how excited these dogs can get about working (and how flaky they are).

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