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8 Reasons Why Dog Is Refusing To Get Into A Car

Dog refusing to get into the car? When you’re trying to get your dog into the car, it can be a struggle, and sometimes they are so stubborn that they just refuse to get into the car.

As pet owners, we’ve all been through this, and If you’ve ever had to carry your dog into the car you’ll know how frustrating this can be.

There are many reasons why your dog might refuse to get in the car, and it can often depend on the size of your dog.

For example, smaller dogs feel much safer when they are closer to you! Yet, larger breeds may refuse to get in the car as a sign of dominance! Every dog is unique, so what works for one might not work for another.

The good news is in this article below we will help you understand why your pup doesn’t want to get in the car and most importantly what you can do to make it happen!

Dog Refusing To Get Into The Car? 8 Reasons Why!

1. The Dog Is Not Feeling Well

A dog that is not feeling well or has a lower energy level will often refuse to get in the car. This might be because they are afraid of all the noises and movements, especially if it’s their first time traveling in one.

If you notice your pup isn’t feeling well try to reschedule for another day when they are feeling much better or just avoid the car altogether and just take your dog for a short walk and see how they do!

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2. The Dog Has An Injury

A dog will refuse to get in the car if they are feeling pain or have an injury. They may feel pain when trying to get into the car and will do anything not to be in it! If you see that your pup is struggling, check to see if they have any injuries. including their paws!

If you’re taking your dog to the vet because they already have an injury it’s best to place them in a carrier. But, if you have a larger dog then you should give them a helping hand and gently lift them into the car.

3. They Don’t Feel Safe

Another reason is that your dog might not feel safe in the car! This can happen if the last car ride is bumpy or there was some hard braking that accrued and it scared the dog.

If you have a small breed of dogs, it’s best to place them on your lap so they can see what is going on. This will also give both you and your pup support! However, it’s always best to place them in a dog carrier during travel so they feel safe and comfortable!

4. There Are Strange Smells In The Car

If your dog can smell other dogs or animals that were previously in the car, then this could be a reason why your dog is refusing to get in!

If this is the case you should use some odor spray and place a nice blanket inside to help get rid of these odors and see if that helps. You should use your dog’s blanket if they have one.

5. Dog Has A Bad Experience On Last Trip

Another thing that can play a part in this situation is your dog’s past experiences with cars. If their past trips were really good ones, there is no problem but if they weren’t…then that’s where problems arise.

Again if this is the case you should reschedule for another day when it’s not as busy on the road and try again then. It will also help if you give your dog some encouragement to lets them know everything is ok.

6. Dog Is Having Trouble Jumping Into The Car

If your dog is having trouble jumping into the car you can either help them yourself or place a ramp by the door or boot so they can get in. For some dogs, it might be because they are too heavy or too old so it’s best to have some support from you during this time!

Ramps are excellent for this and most are non-slip. You can also use slings that you can use just to give them a helping hand.

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7. There Are Items In The Car That They Don’t Like

Your dog might not like some of the items you have in your cars such as air fresheners, flowers, or even certain toys! If this is the case try to get rid of these and see if that works.

If you can’t remove the ideas for whatever reason then you should place your dog in the carrier. If you have a larger dog then put them in the boot not only is this the safest area in the car “but” it will also keep your dog clear of any items they don’t like.

8. There Could Be An Issue With Their Collar Or Harness

Your dog might not like the collar or harness that you have them in! This is something that can be easily solved by taking it off and then seeing if they jump into the car themselves!

If this doesn’t work, try to loosen their collar as much as possible before putting your pup inside. If none of these things work then it could be one of the other reasons mentioned above.

dog in car

How To Get A Reluctant Dog Into A Car?

It’s frustrating when you’re ready to leave, your dog is ready to go, and they won’t get into the car! You may be asking yourself why this is happening.

Whatever the reason, it’s important for pet owners to know how to deal with this issue! So if your dog is reluctant to get into the car here are some helpful tips that should hopefully work.

These methods listed below may not work for every dog, but there’s no harm in trying!

Make A Game Out Of It

One thing you can do with your reluctant dog is make a game out of it. Make sure you have their favorite toy and get them excited about getting in the car!

Once they are super excited, open up the car door so it’s inviting for your pup to get in. This will make them more interested in what you’re doing which might just help with their reluctance problem.

Let Them Sniff And Get Use To The Car

Before trying to get your dog into the car let them sniff around it first so they can get used to the car especially if you have a pup! This will take away any anxiety or stress that your dog has about getting into a strange place.

Be patient with your pup during these times and don’t force them to get in if they are not ready! Just let them take their time.

Put Some Food Inside The Car

Try putting some treats on the floor of the car! This will make them more interested in getting into the car. Once they are in, give them lots of praise and cuddle time for doing this because it can be strictly terrifying for dogs when they first step foot in a strange place like a car.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement with your voice will help to encourage them into the car. Remember not to use any harsh words like no or bad, this can make things worse and put more stress on your dog!

The best way is always saying nice things which will hopefully start making them feel good about getting in the car. This might take time but it’s worth trying if you want a change for the better.

Get Creative And Use Whatever Works Best For You!

If all else fails then try to get creative and use whatever works for you! You never know what might work until you try it out so don’t be afraid to do this with anything that is worrying your dog when they are getting into the car.

Just always make sure you have lots of love ready because once they finally jump in the car there won’t be any stopping them from jumping straight out.

Because remember you still need to secure them in the car and if you’re not using a carrier this can be difficult if you have a dog that is very reluctant.


So now you know why your dog is refusing to get into the car. Just make sure you stay patient and positive as this can be difficult for both the dog and the owner.

If none of the techniques work then it might just be something that is too scary as the weather or they are not feeling well. In cases where the dog is scared try to help your pup relax by giving them plenty of love which will calm them down in those circumstances.

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