My new years resolution is actually going even better than I thought! My resolution was to teach all of my pups to ride in the back of the truck. I had three main suspects, Cooper, Otis and Achilles. They had their various reasons for getting to ride in the back seat, each of which I have tried to tackle over the past few weeks. I am proud to report that Cooper has been converted to a backseat rider, Otis is making great progress and Achilles is next. Cooper has riden in the back of the truck to and from the park for 3 park trips now. He doesn't voluntarily get in, I have to hold his collar and walk him to the tailgate, but as soon as we get there, he leaps right in. He is such a good boy in the truck, he doesn't try to jump out when I load other dogs, he just rides quietly. He has been so good, he even got to increase his schedule from 3x/wk to 4x/wk! I couldn't accomodate that change before because I didn't have enough spots in my backseat on the other days.... All it took was the magic mozzarella and proscuitto (itty bitty minuscule pieces go a long ways!) from Trader Joe's! So proud of Coop!!!!
Otis has been a backseat rider because he just got too excited when he was in the back of the truck. He would start barking and screaming when we got to Montlake and still had at least 20 minutes until we got to the park. Once we were at the park, as soon as I even cracked open the tailgate window, he would launch over my head and jump out and start barking. Needless to say, it was a little chaotic and didn't set a good example for the other dogs. My solution was to start putting Otis in a crate in the back of the truck. So far, it has been working out great! He loves riding in the crate. I think it makes him much calmer. It seems that Otis just really needs personal space and having a little distance from the other dogs really has made a difference. He goes in the crate even when it's just left open. He has been laying down the whole way to the park, only barks for a minute and is quiet when I ask him, and doesn't launch over my head when it's time to get out! Today he even got out of his crate, grabbed his ball, and quietly waited for me to let everyone out. We will have to see if this becomes a habit, but so far, I like what I'm seeing!
It's funny that with these two dogs, Cooper and Otis, I had just accepted their quirks about the back of the truck and gave into letting them ride in the front for over a year (or more). Once I set my mind to making a change, it hasn't been that hard!
Next up is Achilles. He is gladly launching into the back seat now, which is a huge improvement from me trying to shove his 160lbs in there against his will. At this point he is a little too comfortable with the back seat. As soon as I am confident Cooper is comfortable with the new routine, and Otis is more settled, I will start working on Achilles. In the meantime, he makes sure to let me know he is there!