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How to Keep Dogs Safe in the Car

Dog crates

My dogs, Sanchez and Gina, can often be found riding in my car. I don’t have a completely fenced in yard at home, so I opt for a lifestyle in which they are with me often. I work from home, so when I run local errands, they hop in the car with me. Fortunately, there are many dog friendly businesses in my town. They are welcome at the bank, UPS Store, local hardware store, and many outdoor cafes. I take great pride in the care I provide for them. I train with humane, non-aversive training methods. They are socialized and very well mannered when I take them to public venues, and are paid extremely well for their calm, attentive behavior. Gina takes agility class with me and Sanchez does canine music freestyle (and did agility when he was younger).

As you can imagine, I don’t react well when my treatment of them is criticized by an uneducated person. Such was my feeling when I heard the question from a stranger (said with disgust) … “Why do you make your big dog ride in a cage in the car?” Funny, I’ve never heard anybody ask a parent, “Why do you make your child where a seat belt?” or “Why do you put your baby in a baby seat in the car?”

First of all, it’s not a cage, it’s a kennel. And I don’t “make” him ride in it. My dogs love getting in their kennels. From the first day with me, I conditioned them to learn that their kennel was a safe, comfortable, cozy place where good things happened. At first, they were fed meals in their kennels. Then they were rewarded with treats for being calm and quiet in their kennels. Gina is a bundle of energy and she instantly calms down when she happily hops into her kennel.

The American Humane Society reports that an estimated 100,000 dogs die from riding in truck beds alone each year. And that doesn’t include the dogs that die from jumping out of car windows or dogs who are unsecured in the car during a collision. reports over 6 million car accidents every year. Accidents are caused by a variety of factors and being distracted by a roaming dog in the vehicle is one of them. Many dogs involved in car accidents could have been saved if they were in a kennel or were wearing a dog seat belt.

Yes, your dog may love to stick his head out the window and feel his ears blow in the wind. But, neither one of you will be happy when debris lands in his eyes or you have to come to a quick stop and he gets thrown from the car. Never introducing him to this option in the first place would be a good idea. And making the kennel a fun place where he finds comfort in the car can be just as enjoyable for him.

Driving Edition: Music to Calm your Dog in the Car

With canine sound therapy, you can now help Fido stay calm in the car, while simultaneously keeping the driver alert. Driving Edition: Music to Calm your Dog in the Car was designed specifically for this purpose. Does your dog have automobile anxiety or get nauseous in the car? You’ll find protocol using classical conditioning in the CD’s liner notes. Following the instructions will help your dog re-associate how he feels about the car. Listen to a sound sample from Driving Edition and our other recordings. Fido will be woofin’ for car rides before you know it.

Do your dogs ride in the car with you frequently? Do you have any special memories from road trips taken with them? Thanks for sharing your story by leaving a reply below.

4 thoughts on “How to Keep Dogs Safe in the Car

  1. On June 25, 2011 I was driving on the Santa Monica Fwy in Los Angeles on my way home from a dog class with my 18 month old Labradoodle Yindi.
    The Santa Monica Fwy is one of the busiest in the world and as I was approaching an interchange to head home I saw the usual sea of brake lights so I started slowing too. I briefly looked in my rear view mirror to make sure the car behind me was slowing, looked back ahead of me and suddenly there was a black car which I didn’t remember being there a second earlier. I literally stood on the brakes with both feet knowing I was going to hit the car. In a nano second, THE CRASH; airbag deployed, deflated and I hit my head on the steering wheel and my knees got slammed into the lower dash too. In minutes the CHP was there and had to pry my car door open to get me out. I was in shock and was wandering in the now closed lanes and asking about the people in the car I hit. The CHP officer gently pulled me back and asked if anyone else was in my car and I thought OMG…my dog Yindi!!!
    We were able to open the rear door and there she was sitting happily, though a bit confused in her harness, tethered to a tie down in the crack of the rear seat. That officer said in all his years he had NEVER seen a dog harnessed and tethered and that she would have certainly gone through the windshield. I use a Champion K9 harness system for both my dogs 100% of the time and always have. A lot of friends immediately bought car restraint systems for their beloved dogs.
    I was driving a huge SUV and it was totaled and while I was banged up a bit, Yindi was fine and even hopped right in to my husband’s car when he came to get me.
    Moral of my story is please harness your precious dogs in the car!

    1. So i had 2 dogs but one of them die because they went on the road and got ran over by a car then i was crying for like 4 weeks i hope i get a new dog soon???

  2. I was rear ended 2 wks ago, while stopped at a bridging being raised for a boat to go through. This was on Hwy 160, near Rio Vista, Ca. I and 3 other cars were already stopped and the bridge was already halfway up,when I was slammed in the rear by 2 vehicles. No physical injuries due to having a huge Ford Van, but I had 2 of my dogs with me and I compete in dog agility with my 2 Mcnabs and was returning from a event in Elk Grove. One of my dogs were in the direct back of the Van, crated on a platform and in a soft crate that is held together with metal tubing. On impact the crate flipped forward with my male Mcnab in it, he was physically fine. But mentally he kinda of a mess now. He normally loves to crate and most of traveling time he lays down and sleeps. Now he won’t rest or lay down at all, he is very uneasy and when i am stopped at traffic light or anytime we come to a slowly or stop and he sees cars coming towards the back of my vehiclem. He starts whining getting worked up and pacing the crate. I have moved him closer to me and he sits on a platform that the length of half my passenger van. My other dog was sitting in the passenger bucket seat next to me, with her harness on and strapped with a
    5 inch nylon clipped to her top of her harness. The strap runs through the actual seat belt that is locked in to the seat belt clip. She was kept in her seat, thanks to being belted with appropriate length that gives just enough to sit or down in the bucket seat. Thought I would share my story,my dogs travel with me all the time, every day. They are with me 24/7 and can be since I am a dog trainer myself and work with clients privately and in group type classes. Sincerely, Michelle Butler

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Michelle. Wow, I’m glad your dogs were physically fine. How scary though. I hope your male McNab recovers from the trauma. That must have been scary for him.

      You might want to try some of our clinically tested calming music. ‘Driving Edition: Music to Calm Your Dog in the Car’has helped calm thousands of dogs with automobile anxiety. Trainers also love it for their classes.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

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