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My 4 1/2 year old border collie has always ridden in a car well.  In the past few months he has become increasingly obsessive in the car if the windshield wipers are on.  He snaps at the moving wipers from the back seat, but recently, he has lunged at the wipers and actually bit my husband in the shoulder as he was snapping and got to close.  We have told him no every time he has snapped at the wipers, but it continues to get worse.  We bought a separation fence so he can't get to the front, but he will grab hold of it as he works himself to a frenzied state.  We have considered a crate, but he has never been in one.  He will try to grab the window if we put it up or down.  He is such a loving dog that it isn't something I feel he is being aggressive with us. He just gets into a frenzy at times.  Any suggestions on what we can do to to stop this behavior?   Or is he to old to try and break him from it? 

Thanks

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Play the wipers game!

Step 1: First, person 1 (the person who usually drives) says "Wipers!" in a cheerful upbeat voice and then person 2 shoves 2 or 3 small treats in dogs mouth, enough to keep dog busy for 3 or 4 seconds. You'll probably only need to do this a couple of times before dog realises that "Wipers!" equal treats.

Step 2: Play the same game, but in the car.

Step 3: This time, person 1 says "Wipers!" and while person 2 is shoving treats in dogs mouth person 1 activates the wipers just once. You might need to alternate steps 2 and 3. One time make the wipers work, one time don't. Might be best to avoid driving in the rain if you can.

If it goes well dog stops reacting at just one swish of the wipers and after some practice can wait to have the treat when the swish has finished rather than needing the treats shoved in. At this stage, maybe start increasing the wipers to two swishes. Over time build up the number of swishes and reduce the amount of treats.

 

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I'll add to Jami74's excellent suggestion and advice above that this possibly has an obsessive/compulsive root. If it doesn't change or if he responds well to Jami's idea and then starts doing something else that has this obsessive feel to it, consider looking for a veterinary behaviorist.

Best of luck, and let us know how you get on.

Ruth & Gibbs

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