Dog strollers are a wonderful tool for helping any dog to get around when they are otherwise unable. They provide a mobility tool for elderly dogs that can’t walk so far any more, adult dogs that may be dealing with injury and temporary health issues or puppies needing to save their little legs. We all know that these devices are a good thing, and that they will provide a positive aid in the animal’s life. However, the dog doesn’t always know this and can be wary of a pet stroller at first. So, how do we train a dog to ride in one?
The first step comes in helping the dog to form positive attachments with the stroller
You cannot expect your dog to allow you to pick it up and put it straight in this strange new device without any concerns. He doesn’t know what this is, what it does or why you are trying to shut him inside of it. Like all new items in the home, your dog needs the time to get used to its presence before interacting with it that much. Start by placing the stroller in the room and simply showing it to him. If he doesn’t want to go near the scary thing on wheels on the first day, then that its natural. Take the time to play near it with him. Open up the rear entry door to let him climb inside if he chooses to, but don’t force it. Any association between the strollers and positive reinforcement will help him to see that it is not a threat. Gradually, he will play in the stroller and be happy to sit in it. With time, you can work on sealing up the enclosure and making sure he is comfortable.
You also need to make sure that you don’t take the dog out of its comfort zone too quickly
With the dog has sat in the pet stroller, and not kicking up a fuss, you can move on to showing him the purpose of the stroller. Don’t assume that the hard part is over and take him straight out into the big wide world in this thing – there are still stages to go through. Remember that the motion of the stroller and the concept of being pushed around will be foreign to many dogs. Those with dogs that struggle to understand how they are traveling in a car, without moving their legs, will understand the confusion. They may get anxious on the first journey around the living room. With time and reassurance, they will get used to it and learn to enjoy it. This gradual process is why it helps to take a dog around the garden – a small journey in a familiar place – before going out into town or to the park. Build up the distance slowly until your dog is fully used to the stroller and will travel to and from the park.
It is all about slow, steady progress from a simple ride to a longer walk. There really is no point rushing and scaring the dog. A pet stroller is meant to be a comforting place, and you don’t want to get to the park and have them refuse to get back in after their exercise. Take your time, provide love and positive reinforcement and show your dog why a pet stroller is such a positive addition to their life.