I am fortunate enough to be able to take my dog on an afternoon outing (nearly everyday) with the goal of wearing her out. We typically stop at one of the local grocers on the way home for any missing dinner ingredients. I have noticed that she occasionally displays somewhat anxious behaviors when I get back to the car. Some parking lots seem to upset her more than others.
This morning we ran an errand and I pulled into a parking lot to "get one thing". I stopped the car and my girl popped up onto the center arm rest, shaking. As if she was terrified of being there. Clearly an anxiety issue. My impromptu solution was to leave without going into the store. My pup is more important and after we drove off, she was fine again.
My guesses are:
- someone tried to reach into the car while she was alone (to pet her, or take her)?
- the noise and general chaos of a busy parking lot overwhelms her
- she saw something that upset her (which could be litterally anything)
I'm concerned about this. I can prevent it from happening again by never leaving her alone in the car again, but that doesn't seem very practical. Eventually I'll have to leave her in the car (for any number of reasons). Is there a realistic way to train her to not be afraid if she's alone in the car? Or some way to help her feel safer when she is?
Note: My dog gets 1-2 half hour walks, a 1-2 hour outing, and a beef neck bone to chew on (daily average). Outings = dog park playtime, off leash on wooded trails, learning to run beside my bicycle, etc.