Would you take an elephant in the car without buckling it in? It’s a silly question of course. Well, how about an unsecured load of logs? No? The idea of these being set loose while braking and injuring your family would have you anxiously grabbing the safety equipment. Driving with a dog seems different, though. Open the door, let your treasured animal in and just hope for the best. And you do this even though an emergency stop at 50 km/h would actually transform a fluffy Collie weighing 25 kilos into a lethal 1,250-kilo projectile. The same weight as a young elephant.
This extreme example shows how important it is to secure dogs properly in the car. Always. Even on short trips, and even if time is tight. There are different systems to choose from: mesh or grid, fixed and portable carriers or straps. The right choice depends on the temperament and size of the animal and on the type of vehicle. The dog needs enough air while you’re driving. A member of the family shouldn’t be squeezed between the luggage in a stifling boot. Many four-legged friends hate not having their family in view, or missing out on the passing scenery.
How happy your dog is while in the car is a matter of routine and habit. As dog trainer and psychologist Julia Neuen knows, for many dogs it isn’t riding in the car that’s the actual problem. Lots of dogs won’t even hop into the car. To avoid this, advises the trainer, it’s best to get your puppy used to the car and to riding short distances, so it becomes an everyday routine for him. Many breeders lay the foundation by making puppies familiar with the car and the carrier.