Do your dogs travel with you?
Do you take them on holiday with you?
Anyone who knows me (or reads my furbabies blog) will know that if I can do so, I take my dog with me when I go out (my two older female dogs stay home), and as a guide-dog puppy walker, if I have a puppy to raise it has to go everywhere with me too.
Do you know that thousands of car accidents can be linked to unrestrained pets every year, but they’re not documented as rigidly as drunk driving or fatalities.
“During an emergency braking situation or collision, an object is accelerated up to 30 times its normal mass. So a 10kg pet effectively becomes 300kg on impact,” warns Eugene Herbert, representative of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program.
Our eight month old Labrador puppy, Riddick, weighs almost 29kg so he would weigh about 870kg in an accident if he were unrestrained! And as a guide-dog puppy walker family, we sometimes have a full grown guide-dog-in-training, Volt, in the car with us and he weighs in at a hefty 34kg.
a hamper from Ford South Africa
Riddick helping me open the hamper
Riddick is almost always lightly restrained in the back seat even though he is fairly well behaved and trained, because his eyes don’t work properly he is half blind in bright sunlight, and this makes him a slightly nervous passenger, so he can get jumpy.
We’ve been doing a lot of work on his car training to make sure he is happier in the car, so Ford’s offer of a doggy safety harness was very well timed.
Riddick and I unpacking the hamper
When the package from Ford arrived, Riddick and I had a wonderful time unwrapping it and having a good look at all the contents.
First of all we found the travel water bottle! It has a “bowl” that folds down over the bottle itself, you pop the cap inside the “bowl”, and squeeze water into the bowl for the dog to dink out of. And it works like a bomb!
There was a pooper scooper gadget with bags. As guide-dog puppy walkers, we are expected to pick up after our pups and it has become a habit, so I always have bags with me. Even blind people pick up after their dogs and I will never understand why more people don’t do this. This little gadget takes some getting used to, but if you don’t like the feeling of using your hand- with a bag obviously- then this doodad is for you!
There was also a deep “spoon” of sorts, which I now use to scoop his food out of its bag, and there was a small blue bowl.
A carseat cover was also in the hamper, but with the cover on I can’t use the Roadie…
And last but not least, there was the “Roadie”.
I spent the next couple of days getting Riddick accustomed to putting on and wearing the harness, which in the large size has a couple of adjustable straps. With a bit of practice I could put it on over his head or feet first (I found head first to be easiest)- and it does take a bit of practice as the Roadie doesn’t open up like a regular harness (there are no breakable clips on the Roadie).
On the the Roadie there is an extended lead with a loop, which you slip the seatbelt through before clicking it in place in the car.
Not only does the Roadie prevent the dog from roaming around the back seat or climbing into the front seat from the back, it kind of forces the dog to stay seated and it ensures your dog won’t go flying out of the car should you have an accident. You can then clip this same extension to your leash when you get out of the car, although we don’t walk our dogs with harnesses so we take the Roadie off when we get out of the car.
Riddick didn’t take too long to get used to wearing it, but it did take a few days for him to be okay with it in the car. The Roadie’s straps are wide and soft so it was more a case of not being able to move around than actually wearing the harness that he was not accustomed to.
And here is my little pickle, my Riddick, wearing the harness. To encourage him to be happy with wearing I put it on at mealtimes, we played his favourite game- fetch- with the harness on, and the first few times he was given treats as well.