What I learned today is that one of the reasons I like fostering is that I like being presented with new puzzles to figure out. There are many situations that my clients and students deal with that I’ve never had to encounter. I can coach them through the training (if that’s a solution) but being able to experience similar struggles and hang-ups allow me to be extra creative with solutions. Through my three foster dogs I’ve worked with quite a few behaviors I’d never had with my personal dogs so it was interesting to see the behaviors from the perspective of an owner.
Well, besides the typical puppy things like house training, appropriate chew items, basic training, and socialization, I’ve found myself in a completely foreign situation with Jethro. I’ve had 7 personal dogs over the years and not one of them has had car sickness (Bandit got carsick once but it seemed like a fluke since it has only happened once in 9 years). Jethro, on the other hand is a drooly and pukey machine in the car.
So, we are starting a new adventure of discovering how to address car sickness. I’ve given folk basic instructions to help with car sickness but have never had to deal with the frustrations of a car sick pup. It’s certainly an experience trying to tackle a totally new issue but we are working on it!
When I picked up foster boy he had drooled/puked all over himself in the crate of the car on the hour-ish drive to the meeting spot. I cleaned him up before putting him in the crate for the short 15 minute drive back to my house and by the time I got him out of the crate he was again covered in drool and puke–poor guy. Two days ago I decided I wanted to take him to a very small and generally not busy pet store for some low-key socialization. I put him in the car and tossed treats in the back at stop lights and he made the 6 minute drive with zero issues.
After the success of this trip, I thought it might be good to practice the drive to the training facility where he’ll have puppy class. It’s a 20-25 minute drive and I was hopeful…but a little concerned. I was so excited as I neared the traffic light right before our building… he’d made it! No drooling and no vomiting. But then, as if he heard some cue, he started to vomit as I pulled into the parking lot… we were seconds away from success. Lucky for me he kept it on the towel but I was SO close! On the way home I decided to see if feeding him helped (since it seemed to work on our short trip) so I gave him a Kong to keep him working during the ride home. Strangely enough, it seemed to work to keep him from getting sick. He made it all the way home with no drooling or vomiting.
I don’t know if it’s a real solution or not but it’s definitely going to be used on the next car ride to hopefully prevent the car sickness. It seems totally counter intuitive but hey, ya’never know! If this doesn’t work we’ll try ginger, thunder shirt, and/or calming music.