Car Rides and Safety

Hello! We got our Basenji a couple months ago. She doesn’t particularly care for the car and prefers to be in someone’s lap while we’re driving. We have a crate that we used to use in the car, but she routinely poops when she’s in it, then it gets literally everywhere on her and the crate. Now we have resorted to letting her loose, but in someone’s lap. I am looking for a good seat belt for her, I have read some forums on here, but all the links are bad. Does anyone have good suggestions for seat belts? Maybe one that would allow her to still lay in one of my kid’s laps so she’s not as nervous ? She is not too much of a chewer, so I’m not concerned with her chewing out of it. Thanks in advance!

I'm sure some of the very experienced owners and breeders here will have some excellent ideas but in the interim you might consider this: I fashioned a car restraint for my girl by doing a regular doubled leash ( you will have to experiment with how many times it gets looped; will depend on the length of the leash and how much leeway you want to give her to move around) looped thru the locked seatbelt. The leash was then attached to the hook on her web harness. This will only work with a harness, don't even think about doing it with a neck collar! Seems simplistic but I saw someone try it once. I almost had a heart attack before I could stop him!

You need to tell me the country/State you live in. That should apply to all who correspond here as different products may apply.

@njdeb My girl wanted to Drive! She had a Crate which she would ride in willingly because she knew we were going someplace she liked. An alternative is to get a Harness and put the leash on that instead of the Collar. With small dogs having control over the Chest is better than having them choke when pulling. My Dog had 2 Harnesses, one Pink and one Blue. I still have them. That made walking her easier because she was strong and built like a little Bull. She hated her Winter Blanket and she spent a ton of time trying to get out of it. Didn't work. She also had Winter Boots which were hard to get on as once one was on and the second was going on the first one was already off! I managed to get them all on and when we went outside in the Snow she was happy because her feet were not frozen.

Good Luck!

@njdeb A neck collar definitely wouldn’t work. If one were to get into an accident, it would likely snap the poor things neck! Your suggestion of using the leash sounds like a good idea. I need to find a harness that fits her properly, though. When I first got her, I took her to get fitted for a harness at PetSmart and Petco. The only harness they had there that somewhat properly fit was the Kong harness. She hated it and it would rub her armpit area, so I noticed the hair was starting to bald there. Around the same time, the snap failed on one side. Not knowing what else to get for her, I went with a martingale collar. Also, in the harness she pulled an lawful lot, and if she really wanted to be stubborn, she would turn her body sideways and lean the opposite way that I was trying to go lol. Since I got the martingale collar she walks beside me with ease. So, which harness do you use for the car? I suppose if I used it only in the car, it wouldn’t rub her hair off under the armpit. Thanks for the advice!

I recently purchased these seat "tethers" for the car. You need a car that has latch bars for child car seats (required in US cars after 2-27-2014). I purchased two because I was picking up a new older dog and did not have room in my car for a crate (2000 mile trip x 2). The carabiner latch is easy to use. I was concerned they might chew the straps but so far so good. I read too many account of Basenjis slipping out of car harnesses or getting tangled up in them on various Facebook groups. These tethers are working very well for me. My dogs wear martingale collars (when they wear collars). http://a.co/4Z873Wy

Whatever you do, do not purchase anything that secures using the normal seat belt latch. The seat belt latch can break or get jammed and can cost you plenty of dollars to fix.

So here is the sad truth. Not one single harness they tested in the US helped the dog in a crash. 😞 Sadly, only industrial crates made to withstand crushing really protect the dog.

That said, in a minor accident... or if you, like a woman who has one of my Rottie grand pups did, have rescue people need to open the car door due to you having a heart attack, or something happens and a door pops open, at least your dog will be contained to the car. It can also, in a bad accident, keep your dog from becoming a launched missile.

So, my suggestion is to please rethink this. The safest thing for the humans and dog is for her to be confined. What she wants doesn't figure into it. What she needs to learn does. So you retrain.

This post was for carsickness.. but the same applies to fear/hate of crates. Retrain.

a post by Debbie Kirby (K9Deb):
The technique below has been foolproof, (so far!) on at least a dozen dogs with varying degrees of car sickness and car phobia. You'll have to commit yourself to six weeks of re-conditioning and adhere strictly to the rule about not putting her in the car unless you're training. That means she has to stay home for six weeks.

First – pick a reward. She's going to get the same reward throughout training, so pick a good one. Cheese, hot dog, liverwurst, squeaky toy (a new one) or whatever turns her on. It's important that her goodie is something she's not going to have access to any other time except this particular training lesson.

Week One: Have her sit/stay while you open the door and then tell her "OK" or whatever word you want to use that means get in the car now. If she doesn't get in right away, pick her up and put her in, don't wait for her to decide, just put her in the car if she doesn't move right away. Then you get in and wait for her to be calm. If she's already calm because you haven't turned the engine on that's fine. Tell her good girl and give her her special
goodie. Repeat this exercise twice a day for one week. Even if this is not an issue for her (sitting in the car with the engine off) still do it. You're laying groundwork for the weeks to come. When you're ready to get out of the car make her wait, with the door open, until you give her a command to get out of the car.

Week Two: Same as week one except turn the engine on -- leave it run for 30 seconds then turn it off. As soon as she's calm, give her her goodie. Do this twice a day for the rest of the week.

Week Three: Same as week two except leave the engine running for one minute. For the rest of the week alternate between leaving the engine off and turning it on -- it shouldn't be predictable though -- two times with it on, once with it off, once on, three times off --- if she's calm while the engine is running, give her the goodie. If you have to wait until the engine is off, that's fine. The lesson her is that "when you're calm you get the
goodie", not "when the engine is off you get a goodie".

Important note: Don't try to encourage her to calm down or interact with her in any way - wait calmly for her to calm herself 🙂

Week Three: Same as above except you're up to two minutes with the engine running. Do the exercise twice a day, but every third of fourth time you get in the car leave the engine off.

Week Four: Same as above -- but now the engine stays running until she is calm. Bring a book to occupy yourself and be patient <g>. Your timing has to be right on. When she's still and calm for two seconds, pop out the goodie. As with before, do this twice a day. By the middle of this week most dogs are over their car fear/anxiety, but if you stop now the dog could backslide, so it's important to finish up this week and do the next week's
exercise. The slower you take it the more likely it will be that the dog's behavior is permanently changed.

Week Five: Same as above, but the engine stays running for one minute after she's calmed down and gotten her goodie. The reason for this is that we don't want to teach her that calming down is a way to get the engine turned off.

Week Six and beyond: Same as above, but you pull out of the driveway and back in again. If she's calm, give her a goodie. If she's not just sit there, engine running, until she is. Do this twice a day, but increase the distance you drive (out of the driveway and around the block, for example) each time you get a positive response while the car is moving. By the end of the week you should be able to go for a fifteen or twenty minute drive. If she is
now calm at the first turn of the engine, give her her goodie, then give her another one when the ride is over.

I've only explained this once before online and it worked well for the owner. Normally, I'd be there to see the dog's reactions and adjust the schedule or technique, as needed. Feel free to back up or go slower if you think your dog needs it, but resist the temptation to speed up things the first three weeks when things are looking good.<<

re harnesses 😞

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/10/pet-restraints-may-be-inadequate-in-a-crash/index.htm

last edited by DebraDownSouth

@debradownsouth Thanks for the info! I still want to get a harness/seat belt because there are times where my mom takes the dog and kids. There is not room for a crate in her car with the kids. Also, I sent you a chat about a question I had.

@debradownsouth Thank you so much for the link to that wonderful article about the harnesses and safety tests! And you are quite right about the crate protecting a frightened dog who has been in a auto accident. Sometimes difficult to have room for some crates in the car so you have to do the best you can, drive carefully and pray.... a lot!
Going to pick up a new Basenji girl this weekend. Luckily, a good friend has volunteered both his time and and nice SUV to drive to MA with me for the pickup. I'm lucky in that many years ago a lovely PA breeder, Sue Coe, gifted me with an official airline hard shell crate. Fits beautifully in my friend's SUV. My girl is coming to her NJ home in safety and style, the lucky little duck!

Pictures are expected!

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