Big dogs in particular are best accommodated in the luggage compartment in a station wagon, SUV or van. Because they are legally considered “luggage”, they have to be stowed securely. The fabric grids with which vehicles are equipped cannot withstand a dog thrown forward. The four-legged passenger should be separated from the passenger compartment by a strong grille. Metal boxes, which are available in different designs for all car models and which optimally protect the dog from injuries in the event of an accident, are even more ideal.
Anyone who drives a car can secure their four-legged friend with a harness and a special seat belt from danger in the event of an accident. The belt gives you some freedom of movement, but tightens with sudden changes in speed. It is best to place small dogs in a sturdy transport basket, which in turn should be secured against uncontrolled movements in the back seat with the belt. Please wear the belt even on short journeys.
The dog should always have the same fixed place – in the back, on the back seat or in the passenger footwell or on the passenger seat. And there it should really make room, so lie down. When lying down relaxed, the risk of nausea, which often arises from looking out, is lowest. In addition, lying down on longer journeys calms the dog down.
Jerky starting, heavy braking and rapid cornering also take a well-secured dog off balance. The result: he loses interest and begins to fear the car. So drive smoothly and calmly. Very important: curses and insults against other drivers are incomprehensible to your co-driver. The only thing he registers is that you are angry, and probably at him – after all, nobody else is in the car.
Many dogs know that when they get into the car, they have to run around in the dog meadow or play with their fellow dogs. They get excited and whine, howl or bark frantically while driving. This irritates the driver and is not without danger. The consequence: You never (!) Let the dog get out of the car as long as he is behaving like a madman, but wait a minute while he is calm. Only then should you switch off the engine and open the door. Most four-legged friends quickly understand that they are delaying their adventure if they loudly demand it.
No problem if you get out for a moment to post a letter or to fetch rolls from the bakery. No problem if the dog has to wait half an hour in the car because you go shopping. But only if it is not a sunny day. Even during the cooler seasons, the temperatures in the car heat up quickly when exposed to sunlight. In summer no dog should have to wait longer than five minutes in the car, not even in the shade. And the unfortunately still common bad habit of leaving the dog waiting in the car during office hours has in the meantime even been confirmed by the court as “cruelty to animals”.
Before the dog is allowed to jump into the car or get on a board, first let the dog sit quietly and then give the command to get in. The same goes for getting out. The dog must stay in the car until you clearly get out of the car. This protects you and the dog from unwanted collisions with cyclists, strollers, other dogs and, in the worst case, cars passing by. You also have the option of making a soaking wet or dirty dog suitable for a car with a towel.
By Ursula Birr