If you’re having to take your pup out on either a short ride or a longer trip, figuring out how to stop your dog from jumping out of the car is essential for their safety and your peace of mind. In this guide, we’re going to share with you some of our best tips on how to stop a dog from jumping out of the car so that you can arrive at your destination relaxed and your pup knowing exactly how to behave. Let’s get into it! 

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How To Stop A Dog Jumping Out Of The Car: Introduction

Dogs are excitable, it’s just in their nature. And boy do they get excited when you stop the car, head outside, and are about to open the door for them. It seems as if no amount of training has ever reached your dog’s ears at this point. Whether you tell them to sit or stay, it’s just not going to happen.

Needless to say, this can lead to dangerous situations for your dog. Perhaps you’re in a parking lot or stopping at a busy street where other cars are traveling? Well, we don’t even want to imagine what horrors can happen if your dog decides to sprint out of the car. 

So, if you’re just as responsible a dog lover as we are, you’re going to want to stick around to learn how to stop a dog from jumping out of the car. After all, it’s for your dog’s safety! And your own. And basically anyone else who’s in the near vicinity of your excitable pooch. 

Why Does My Dog Jump Out Of The Car?

Although there are many possible reasons why your dog might jump out of the car as soon as the opportunity arises, it usually boils down to one thing – they can’t wait to get outside. Most dogs simply have trouble being patient! 

As you can imagine, being confined to a car seat, regardless if it’s a 5-minute drive or an hour-long journey, is going to make your pup feel impatient. That’s why it’s always helpful to have toys and treats at hand when traveling with your dog, but we’ll get to that in a moment. 

Essentially, whatever you do and whatever measures you’ve taken to make the car ride as fun and enjoyable for your pup as possible, there’s still much more exciting things to discover outside of that small cabin. 

Notoriously curious as they are, dogs love to explore new places, sights, sounds, and smells that they can sense when arriving at a new place. And once you open that car door, you can imagine how all of those many sensory stimulating things can make your dog run wild. 

Of course, some dogs are more prone to this risk-taking behavior than others (not that they do it on purpose like humans who have that daredevil gene in them). Usually, dogs that are more courageous and energetic may have more trouble sitting still while you let them out of the car than more shy and reserved pups. After all, dogs are not humans, and they don’t really understand what risks and dangers are out there, such as a busy traffic, for example. Not to mention, if your dog is also keen on chasing cars, it’s a whole other risk to worry about. 

Have You Encouraged This Behavior In The Past…?

One of the many joys of being a pet parent is to see our beloved canines explore the world with their eyes lighting up with wonder. Once you open up that backseat or boot door, your dog darts out and it’s just the most wonderful thing to look at. They get to explore and sniff, look around, and get all excited in that new environment. 

But unknowingly you’re actually encouraging this type of behavior. And once it’s time for your dog to restrain itself from jumping out of the car, they don’t understand what’s expected of them. 

So, it’s best to start teaching your puppy from an early age how to appropriately exit the car. This applies to basically any sort of training that you’re working on – you’ve got to stay consistent and always reward the same type of behavior. If you divert from your usual ways just once, it’s that much more difficult to make your dog understand the right way of behaving. 

How Can I Stop My Dog From Jumping Out Of The Car?

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to stop your dog from jumping out of the car as soon as you open the door. They also double as safety measures and otherwise helpful tactics to keep those car rides as stress free and enjoyable as possible for the both of you! 

Use A Safety Harness

One of the best, easiest tricks on how to stop a dog jumping out of the car is to use a dog safety harness. To be fair, you should never drive with your pet freely roaming inside the cabin, anyway. So, whenever it’s time to bring your pup along for a ride, make sure they’re safely buckled up so that there’s no danger to your dog’s or anyone else’s health who’s inside the car. 

Using a safety belt or a safety harness is also an excellent way to stop your dog from darting out of the car as soon as you open the door. This will also give you more time to calm down your pup before letting them outside to safely explore the environment. 

If your dog is traveling inside the car boot, using a travel crate might be a better option. Again, this will keep your pup safe and sound whilst riding. And, they won’t be able to jump out of the car as soon as you’ve opened the boot. 

If you’re looking for some great dog seat belts and harnesses, and travel crates, be sure to check out our in-depth guide: Must-Have Dog Car Accessories For Every Dog Owner.

Exercise Your Dog Before Car Rides

Oftentimes, dogs that tend to jump out of the car as soon as the door opens, are the ones that have a bit of trouble sitting still. They tend to be more boisterous and energetic, and also more curious by nature. 

A helpful tip is to exercise your dog before you’re taking them for a ride. This will help them use up some of their seemingly endless energy and help them calm down a bit. It’ll also make the journey more manageable for the both of you if you can tire out your pup beforehand. 

We also recommend you pack plenty of chew toys for your pup to play with during the ride. Again, this is an excellent way to keep them preoccupied and calm, making them less likely to be anxious to get out of the car ASAP. 

Make Your Dog Comfortable With The Car

If your dog is jumping out of the car because they cannot tolerate being inside the car, you might want to consider getting your dog more comfortable with the car and car rides. This is best done over time and gradually so that your dog has a nice, enjoyable time whilst being harnessed onto the car seat. 

The easiest way to get your dog comfortable with the car is to first have them sit inside the car for a few times, gradually increasing the time they spend there. Then you can go for a short 2-minute drive, gradually increasing the time you’re driving around each time. 

In addition to that, you can take other measures to make the car rides nice and relaxing for your pooch. Put on some smooth jazz or classical music to soothe your dog and make the environment calm, and check the temperature inside the car – it shouldn’t be too hot nor too cold. 

You can also try out different locations inside the car for your dog to sit in. You can even get a booster seat so that your dog can see outside whilst you’re driving, letting them already safely explore whilst on the road. 

Also, you should always have tasty treats for your pup at hand. If you’ve got a more anxious dog, you might want to try out CBD treats that can help calm them down. And, of course, pack plenty of toys for your dog to play with to prevent boredom. 

What’s more, we also recommend you don’t feed your pup right before the ride, as they often need to go potty soon after. Eating just before heading into the car can also lead to motion sickness. 

Pick The Right Training Method

As many measures you can take with safety harnesses, seat belts, soothing playlists, and plush toys, nothing beats a good old training routine. This helps your dog understand how to behave when you open the car door and prevent that frantic behavior as soon as you arrive at your destination. 

Commands like “sit” and “stay” are probably one of the first ones we teach our four-legged best pals. In this situation, both of these commands are invaluable. For example, you can tell your dog to sit when you’ve parked the car, and then stay for when you’re leaving the car yourself. They should be able to stay still even when you’ve opened the door, until you’ve told them to calmly get out of the car. Be sure to reward them for obeying the command with a few training treats or pieces of kibble, too. 

Of course, this can be difficult to achieve when you’re driving to a new environment that’s bound to peak your dog’s interest. So, it’s best to start practicing this already at home, in a safe and familiar environment. Or, somewhere that’s far away from busy traffic or other highly stimulating distractions.

The goal is to make your dog understand that if they obey you and won’t dart out of the car immediately, they’ll be rewarded. You should start gradually and slowly extend the time that you have your dog stay inside the car with the door open, rewarding them for their patience. 

There are also other methods that you can utilize, such as the four on the floor method or in more severe cases, using a scat mat that you can place right outside the door they usually exit the car from. 

Always Use Positive Reinforcement

Whichever training method you opt for, it should always be positive reinforcement. You should never scold or punish your dog for “misbehaving”. Chances are, you’ve probably rewarded this behavior in the past, and it’ll only damage your bond and your dog’s confidence. 

Instead, you should train your dog to behave in a certain way patiently and gradually. As with any other type of training, it’ll probably take some time for your dog to fully understand what’s expected of them. 

Online Puppy School by Baxter & Bella

Taming our excitable and somewhat wild dogs is certainly not an easy task. If you’re struggling with issues like your dog jumping out of the car or any other behavioral issue, we recommend you give the Online Puppy School by Baxter & Bella a go. This comprehensive program has countless resources on anything and everything related to successfully raising a dog, including many lessons on issues like this one. Oh and what’s best, you can cover each topic at your own pace from the comfort of your own home! 

How Do I Ensure My Dog Is Safe While Driving?

As we already mentioned, your dog should always be harnessed or buckled up so that they’re safe throughout the whole ride. In fact, this is an essential safety precaution for anyone who’s traveling inside the car. In case of an accident or a quick maneuver, your dog can harm anyone else inside the car if they’re not properly harnessed. 

You should also take plenty of breaks for your dog to stretch their legs so that they don’t become too restless. This is also a great time to give them some water to drink and some treats to munch on. During pit stops, you can also go for a short walk for them to get some exercise and a chance to explore the surroundings. Giving them fun toys to play with during the ride is another way to keep your pup entertained and prevent boredom. 

Needless to say, you should never leave your dog unattended inside the car. If you’re leaving the car, your pooch is coming with you. Temperatures inside the car can rise very quickly, which can become extremely dangerous for your beloved pet. It also won’t help to leave the window slightly cracked for them to get some fresh air – this could potentially lead to other accidents.

Speaking of which, we also advise against letting your dog stick their head out of the window whilst you’re driving. If your dog can restrain themselves with the window open and enjoy the fresh air from a safe distance, you can leave the window open during the ride. 

How To Stop A Dog Jumping Out Of The Car: FAQs

Should I Let My Dog Stick His Head Out The Car Window?

No, you should never let your dog stick their head out of the car window, even if it seems reasonably safe to do so. For one, if you’re in the traffic, other vehicles are a direct hazard to your dog’s health. Accidents can happen even on the safest routes and if your dog has its head out of the window, it can have that much more serious consequences for your dog. In addition to that, while driving at high speeds (or any speed for that matter), dirt, debris, and other objects might hit your dog. As a result, they can get seriously injured. 

Are Car Rides Stressful For Dogs?

This can drastically vary from dog to dog. Some dogs enjoy car rides and even look forward to it, whereas others absolutely hate it with passion. In the case of the latter, it’s usually difficult to get a dog inside the car without some serious resistance. Some dogs are also prone to motion sickness, making them feel nauseous and even vomit.  

How Long Can A Dog Stay In A Car?

It’s usually recommended to let your dog out of the car for a quick break every 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes a bit longer than that. The longer your dog rides in the car, the longer you should let them exercise and stretch their legs during pit stops, about 15 to 30 minutes should be enough. It goes without saying that you should never leave your dog in a car unattended. Whenever you leave the car, make sure to bring your pooch with you. 

How To Stop A Dog Jumping Out Of The Car: Final Thoughts

Learning how to stop your dog from jumping out of the car is not just about teaching them appropriate behaviors, but also for the sake of your dog’s safety. Although it’s quite a common behavior in dogs, especially in those that are naturally more inquisitive, it does come with a set of threats and dangers. We hope you learned some helpful strategies on how to stop your dog jumping out of the car so that whenever your pooch travels with you, you won’t have to worry about their safety ever again.