Is your dog crazy about going for a ride in the car, preferably with the window open? Why do dog love riding in the car so much? Dog behavior experts have lots of theories. Here are some that might explain why your own dog loves it.
1. The nose knows
Dogs have over 200 million receptacles in their noses for receiving scent messages. In comparison, humans have 50 million. A ride in the car with the window open is an intense sensory experience for your dog. As the car moves and the scents change, your dog is constantly getting updated information about the world around him.
2. Home on wheels
Your dog views the family car as an extension of the family home. This is why some dogs left in a parked car will bark like crazy when someone comes by. When in the car with you, they feel like they are in their home with their family. They will naturally want to be with you in this mobile version of the home, and are just as eager to protect it in the same way they protect the house.
3. It feels like hunting
Some dog behaviorists think that riding in a car feels like hunting to a dog. The forward motion of the car surrounded by other moving cars makes your dog feel like she is part of a pack on a hunting expedition. This sensation is said to give your dog a feeling of euphoria.
4. The spirit of adventure
Dogs tend to be naturally curious and outgoing, so they love it when something new and exciting happens. A car ride is a great adventure for them, full of new sights, smells, and sounds…much more fun that just hanging around at home waiting for the mailman to show up.
5. The promise of a treat
Many dogs know that part of the fun of a car ride is the opportunity to stop for a delicious people food snack. Taking your dog out for a Sunday afternoon drive? He might just be wise to the fact that the McDonald’s drive-thru or a few licks of an ice cream cone are in his future.
Don’t forget a few common-sense safety rules when you take your dog out in the car. Dogs are safest in the rear of the car in either a harness or crate. It’s fun for your dog to sit unrestrained in the front seat and stick his head out the window, but that might not be the safest thing. It’s also a good idea to keep small dogs out of your lap when driving. And of course, never leave your dog in a hot car.
- Aaron Seminoff