Jazz has issues with riding in the car. It could have something to do with being dumped as a puppy. But no matter, the point is, she has issues with riding in the car. After 3 of her 4 years living with us she has gotten okay with the back seat. Really. Eager to get in, happy to be along for the ride and quite comfortable. In the back seat.
I recently traveled 6 hours by car to a week long TTouch training workshop and I took Jazz and Nestle with me. Along with a LOT of stuff. TTouch practitioners have a rather large tool kit from which to work from and I drive a rather small, compact car. So, to make the week at the workshop more comfortable, I chose to take Elvis's old dog crate. It's roomy for "the babies" to share, sturdy, and offers a surface for all my stuff that's up from doggie range. Cool. Getting in the car is another matter, though. So, I ended up with it folded, on edge between the front and back seats. A barrier, but it worked great, otherwise.
On the way out to this workshop I arranged it so that Jazz had her coveted backseat complete with blankets. She did okay, but the constant rattling of the crate clearly stressed her for six long hours. Separated, I could do nothing to help her.
On the way home a week later, I made Jazz's spot in the front seat. This is a place that she does not like to ride and she reacts to it by shaking violently and hyperventilating. But at least I could TTouch her and give her calming signals and she'd be away from the rattling crate.
It turned out I had the crate better padded for the ride home and it never made a noise. Thank goodness! Jazz had enough to deal with. For the first hour she sat frozen and shaking while I sent her calming signals: yawning, slow eye blinks, licking. Not the best exercise while trying to stay alert and drive! But it worked along with gentle TTouches and she settled down and eventually closed her eyes. Then came the heavy mist. Just enough to make the windshield wipers squeal and the "splashy noise" from the tires. Jazz was in outer space again. Not only was she stuck in the scary front seat but now she was stuck in the front seat with all these horrid noises! So, we spent another hour and a half going through calming signals (did I mention I had a nearly full day of TTouch seminar before driving for 6 hours?) and TTouches when it was safe to take a hand from the wheel. By this time we were in the challenging portion of I-40 through the Smoky Mountains. Stunning drive by daylight, but it demands attention after dark and in the rain. Jazz was not pleased but working hard at self calming and she did relax a tad. I was drinking tea, with caffeine.
I'm so glad to say that our final 90 minutes were dry, calm interstate and Jazz was thankful! She calmed completely and at last, fell asleep. By contrast, her little buddy Nestle had slept soundly nearly the entire way. By the time we arrived home Jazz was calm and quiet about getting out.
My greatest and most joyous surprise was the next day when after hesitating to come to the car at all, she chose to come running up the walk and hop in the car ..... into the front seat. I had had both the front and rear door opened for her. She stayed in the front seat, happy and smiling alll the way to our shop (3 miles).
She chose the front seat.
You can read more about TTouch from my blog.