Not sure if this is a health question.. (maybe mental health..?) So... a few weeks ago, my 1.5 year old chocolate lab, Saba, decided he won't go into my car (a 4 door sedan). Ever since then, come hell or high water, he's not getting in. Tried bribing him with treats - and nothing. This is disturbing as normally he'll do anything for a treat. Not sure why this happened, he's never had a problem, never vomited in the car, I never got into an accident or got hit, I really can't think of anything that would make him not want to get in it. He always jumped right in when I opened the door because he knew that means we are going on a trail. Ever since I got him in Novmember of 2005 (so a year and a half!) ever Saturday and Sunday morning we get in the car and go for a long walk on a trail somewhere.
I gave him a break for 2 weeks, thinking it's going to pass - and last weekend same thing. However, I opened the car door to my dad's car (a mini van) and he hesitated for a split second and then got in. So it must be something about my car but I can't figure out what it is. I wonder if anyone has similar experiences? I really want him to get over it, because what if there is an emergency and I have to drive him somewhere? This is starting to stress me out a bit.
Is your Dad's minivan easier for him to get into than your car? If so, perhaps it is a muscle, joint, or nerve that hurts as Trickster sugested.
The only other possibility I can think of is odor.
Sometimes when I sling Puff's training dummy it lands at a spot from which she's reluctant to retrieve it (sometimes on a lawn, so it's not because of obstacles). I have to encourage her over and over and she approaches it like there's a powerful stink she wants to avoid getting near -- finally she dashes in and grabs the line attached to it and drags it away.
Have you been transporting anything that could leave a lingering odor Saba might be reacting to?
Something you might try is to ask a friend with a similar 4 door sedan (and who transports a dog in it) to come by and see if Saba will jump into it. (Or rent a car similar to yours for a few hours to test Saba on.)
If Saba won't jump in, then it may be the physical difference between your Dad's minivan and the 4 door sedans. This would offer support for Trickster's suggestion and you might want to get Saba evaluated by your vet.
But if Saba will jump in, then my vote would be for some type of odor. Possibly getting your car "detailed" -- completely cleaned inside and out with maybe liberal use of hydrogen peroxide or "Nature's Miracle" -- will clear the air.
Please let us know what you find out; this is interesting.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]