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We are stronger together than we are alone!

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btincar1Here we go, riding in my car just my Boston and me.     

Whew! is this not Always any fun!?

We all do it. Our Bostons demand it… We grab the keys and head for the door, and come to a dead stop. Our path to the door blocked by one or more jumping, barking, rear end wagging excited Bostons.

If you make eye contact you can see it loud and clear; “You are going to take us! We are going on a car ride. You cannot leave us. We need to go with you. Do not leave me. PLEASE! PLEASE!! PLEASE!!! TAKE US WITH YOU.” So of course, you take them with you… Well most of the time, I mean how on earth can you possibly say no!


As much as we love our dogs and want them with us all of the time, we have a responsibility to transport them safely; for their own welfare as well as ours, and for that of other drivers on the roads. All dogs, large and small, should learn to ride politely in their cars. There is a long list of safety hazards associated with having an unrestrained canine in a moving vehicle.


When we are driving on the road and see a Boston in someone else’s car, do you smile? I am not the only one that enjoys having their fur friends with them; however, if the dog has his head stuck out the window, is sitting in the driver’s lap, darting back and forth across the seats, or worse; riding loose in the back of an open pickup truck, I want so bad to stop the driver and give them “The lecture”.


According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of automobile accidents and 65 percent of near-accidents involve at least some form of driver distraction within three seconds of the crash or near-miss.  We hear this almost daily on the news now and our highway and local police everywhere have begun aggressively ticketing people that engage in distracted driving. This would include our dogs and some of their behavior. (Can you imagine trying to explain that one?)

Ah! you say “my dog is well behaved. I do not need to secure him/her… I have trained my dog”.

Okay that is fantastic…. BUT I want you to think about the following and ask yourself; even if your dog is the best behaved dog on the planet:



What about…


Perhaps you do not, but other drivers can and do cause accidents, even if you are not at fault, this could happen…

  1. Most people feel dogs are safest in the car when they are in a sturdy crate that is securely fastened in place, or wearing a harness and a seatbelt in the back seat of the car.
  2. A loose dog can become a flying missile if the car stops abruptly or is hit by another car.
  3. If the car windows break or the doors pop open in an accident, a loose dog can escape, get hit on the road, or run off and become lost.
  4. An unsecured dog can interfere with the efforts of rescue workers in an emergency.
  5. A loose dog can fall or jump out of an open window or back of a truck.
  6. A loose dog in the front passenger seat may be killed by the airbag.


In addition, distractions are not all made by untrained dogs. Here are some more I came across:

  1. Some dogs just create noise that impairs safe driving, you know... howling, whining, barking, they are so excited, scared, talking…
  2. Carsickness is only one of the problems of riding in a car. Now how can you not be worried about your car's seat when behind you is a gagging sound (Oh, not again what is he throwing up on now, I just cleaned the car out….).
  3. The dog dislikes car rides and is panting with distress and you know she is unhappy and might panic (then what will she do?).
  4. Other humans, including young children, disturb the dog so it reacts and your child screams out or cries..


To be continued….. Part 2   Here we go, riding in my car Just me and my Boston: Reducing the risk



-Pat Miller, CPDT, is Whole Dog Journal's Training Editor. Miller lives in Hagerstown, Marland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. For book purchasing or contact information,

-Auto Safety: Safe Restraints for Dogs Riding in Cars

-Brooke Arnold 12/23/2011 Travel Tips

-Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA The Dog Trainer May 10, 2010 Episode #061

-Car Rides By Kathy Diamond Davis Author and Trainer