Huff has never been excited about car rides. He tolerates them. He does not enjoy them. At least not since I’ve known him.
Maybe it’s an age thing. Climbing in and out of the car can be hard on arthritic joints. Sudden stops and pothole-caused jostles aren’t much fun for aging stomachs or bladders. And it does cut into his nap time.
The biggest reason, though is there aren’t many places he actually likes to go.
Traveling together is important for pack-building. Casear says so. So besides our walks through the neighborhood, I starting taking Huff with me in the car. I was searching for a shared adventure he would enjoy. Attempting to bond.
He is always well mannered. He waits in the car without barking while I run into the library and drop off my not-gonna-be-overdue books. But he always seems happiest when we get home. So I tried to find destinations he would enjoy.
I took him to the pet store so he could pick out his own
food. He was a bit overwhelmed but he did express interest in the ginormous
beef bones that were longer than he is and probably weighed as much as he does.
Given the size of the bone, the size of his mouth, and the condition of his
teeth, I declined to take that home with us. We settled for beef in kibble
form. Disappointing, but practical.
We went to the park. Which is where I figured out that Huff is afraid of most other dogs. The park is full of other dogs so that wasn’t the bonding experience I was hoping for. Although I did protect him like a good alpha.
I tried the beach. Huff is not a beach dog. Sand is stupid and gets in your face and between your toes. He not-so-patiently waited for me to give up this foolishness and return us home where there are blankets to nap on that do not have sand on them.
We don’t even want to mention the vet’s office which we have visited far too many times.
His trip to the dentist certainly didn’t help his distaste for the car. After that traumatic experience, I noticed Huff was shying away from the car if we just walked passed it. Getting four teeth pulled was not the best day ever, so I understand. But he has enough fears. I didn’t want this car ride aversion to settle in and become a phobia.
There are times when you must ride in the car.
I decided to overwrite that dental trauma memory with a “car rides are awesome!” memory. Brilliant.
I took my pack hunting. To be honest I am pretty good shot, but I prefer not to shoot my own food. Instead we went modern American hunting, aka the fast food drive through.
Huff had been pouting in the back seat. Mad at me for a car trip that he probably thought was going to end in an unpleasant place. But then, a magical bag came in through the driver side window. It smelled delicious.
He perked up.
He decided to forgive me.
He enjoyed his sandwich very much. He would have enjoyed mine very much as well. But I was being selfish and didn’t share. He got it over, though as he suspected there might be more in the delicious smelling bag. There was. His next day’s dinner. (Yes, I know my dog is spoiled.)
He is still not a fan of car rides. But he acquiesces and I don’t ask him very often. He goes along with my request. I am sure he is hoping another of those magic bags will appear. I suspect we will need to go hunting again.
More Adventures with Huff
For the latest: See The Huff Diary