190 horses and one dog.

What goes through the minds of our beloved four-legged friends when we take them on the motorway? Carola Baum has run a mobile dog school for ten years, and knows exactly how to make car journeys more enjoyable for your dog.


At one of my recent dog training events, I was asked why a lot of dogs enjoy sticking their heads out of the window when they're in the car. I had to smile as, actually, there is no scientific explanation for why some dogs love the sensation of the air rushing past their noses. And, unfortunately, the truth is that not all dogs enjoy travelling by car. Based on many years of professional experience, I would say that the number of dogs who like to travel in the car, and the number for whom the car journey triggers no positive emotions, is roughly equal.


It always depends on how the dog learns to travel by car. If a dog owner handles the dog sensitively, and gives it the opportunity to learn about travelling in the car, as well as climbing in and out of the car, and makes this a fun experience, they are far more able to transport the dog safely than if the dog has simply been thrown in the car and the boot lid closed. Your choice of destination is also an important factor. Dogs are often driven only to places such as dog-walking fields or the woods, where they can experience maximum freedom. When these dogs get into the car, even climbing in the car generates enormous excitement, as they know where they are going and behave expectantly. This actually causes more stress than relaxation.

However, during the actual preparations for a longer journey, you can actively contribute to lowering your dog's stress level by giving it a chance to watch you pack – preferably from a calm place and chewing on a bone. This makes a difference, even when packing and loading the car, as the dog perceives that these activities are happening with no panic or great excitement. When travelling abroad, I also recommend that you read up on the information about your destination country, as this may be different to the regulations at home.


To help your future journeys pass as pleasantly and quickly as possible for all vehicle occupants, refer to the following short checklist of "dos and don'ts" for driving with your dog:

  • Keep the dog's safety harness near to the dog before a car journey. This builds trust
  • If the dog is strapped in on the back seat, the rear protective cover should be used to prevent the dog from slipping off the seat
  • A partition is advisable to protect both the dog and people from high-stacked luggage in the luggage compartment
  • As soon as the dog starts to become unsettled, take the next exit and have a break. Games during a break can be rewarded with small snacks
  • Never travel with your dog unsecured, as according to traffic regulations dogs, like humans, must be strapped in. The safety harness for dogs is suitable for this
  • Don’t forget to secure luggage as well so that the dog cannot be injured by sharp or moving objects
  • Both too much and too little space can cause the dog to become stressed. The available space must therefore be suitable for the size of the dog
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car in summer. Even leaving the window slightly open is not enough

Clearly belonging on the list of dos: a day on the beach with the dog. Now take a look behind scenes at the photo shoot with Carola Baum and her Bernese mountain dog Rosi:

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Taking a trip with the dog – here’s how.