If you live in Connecticut, then perhaps you have heard that Senator Doyle has proposed a bill to the Connecticut General Assembly that will make it illegal for a driver to allow their dog to ride in their lap (Proposed Bill #518, CT Gen. As.) & (Connecticut Post). Perhaps your dog doesn’t distract you when he rides in your lap, but you may soon have to keep him off your lap if you want to avoid getting a ticket. If you are worried that your dog is so used to riding in your lap that he will get anxiety by not being allowed, we have some tips that might help.
BED AND TOYS
If your dog has a bed that he really loves to sleep in, put this bed in the passenger seat or the back seat. Give your dog his favorite toy or treat to chew on. For your dog’s safety, it is probably best not to use toys or treats with sharp edges as this could harm him if you stop or swerve suddenly.
TRAINING & PRACTICE
Find a big empty parking lot where you can drive around safely without danger of hitting pedestrians or other vehicles. Drive around with your dog and reward him for staying calm in his seat. If he won’t stay in his seat, toss a small treat into the seat for him to retrieve, then toss him another one while he is in the seat. You should make sure you are at a full stop before rewarding him or simply have a friend ride with you that can reward your dog.
PET ANXIETY REMEDY
If your dog has anxiety about being separated from you, consider various pet anxiety remedies. The Thundershirt is clothing your dog can wear. This product has great success at helping dogs with anxiety issues. There is also an all-natural herbal remedy called Travel Calm that you can put on your dog. Some dog anxiety treatments also come in pill form. Also, keep in mind that sometimes your dog’s anxiety is a reflection of your anxiety. If you remain calm and don’t make a fuss, this could go a long way to help keep your dog calm.
PET TRAVEL PRODUCTS
There are several pet travel products that you can use to keep your dog off your lap. Another benefit of using one of these products is the safety benefit. Certain products not only keep your dog from being a distraction, they also offer a measure of crash-worthy safety.
If your dog likes to see out the window, there are several pet car seats that allow this. These car seat also have a tether in them that you can use to attach to your dog’s harness to keep him in the seat. Do not attach the tether to your dog’s collar since this could choke him if you slam on the brakes. If your dog likes to be by your side, there are pet car seats that attach to your car’s center console. And, if your dog likes his crate at home, you can have him use his crate in the car too. If you feel these products provide too little space for your dog, there are several other pet travel products to choose from in today’s market, such as dog car harnesses or pet nets and barriers.
Even if your dog doesn’t distract you when you drive, there is another good reason he shouldn’t ride in your lap. Airbags are not safe for dogs. If your airbag deploys, a minor car accident could turn deadly for your dog, and possibly do serious damage to you as well.
Although this law has not been made yet, you can still get a ticket for driving while distracted. Not only that, it just isn’t safe for you or your dog if he rides in your lap. So don’t wait for Connecticut to specifically ban dogs riding in laps to take action. Protect your best pal today. Many of the pet travel products mentioned above can be found by clicking on the Shop button on the top right of this page.
Do you let your dog ride in your lap? Do you know someone who does? Do you have any other pet travel concerns? Let the #DogTravelAdvisor know by emailing us or commenting below.
“Help! I just bought this dog seat belt so that I can help keep my pet safe in the car, but he keeps trying to chew it off. What do I do?”
This happens all the time. We spend lots of money to do what is best and our dogs want nothing to do with it. Unless your dog is already used to wearing a harness, adaptation may take a little time. Training your dog to get used to a pet car harness is the best long-term solution. But what if you’re going on a trip soon and you don’t have the time? Try spraying the pet car harness with a chew deterrent spray. One of the best chew deterrent sprays on the market is Grannick’s Bitter Apple. This stuff has been around for over 50 years (developed in 1960). And in most cases, it really works.
There are some instances where dogs actually seem to like the taste, but the average success is 4 out of 5 stars. If you need to keep your dog in his harness so that he is safe, why not try using the Grannick’s Bitter Apple? It is non-toxic and the chances are your dog will hate it more than he hates his safety belt.
If time really is of the essence, a homemade chew deterrent may also work. Try mixing peppermint extract and water in a spray bottle. Or cayenne pepper and water, apple cider vinegar in water, or lemon juice in water. The Daily Puppy has some great recipes.
Remember, results will vary. Long term training is the best solution, but not always feasible if you’re pressed for time. Shorten the time by combining Bitter Apple with training. Simply follow our training tips for getting your dog used to a pet safety belt, but spray the harness with a chew deterrent.
Have you had to use a chew deterrent for your dog? If so, what kind? Did it work?
1) Dog distractions which could cause a car wreck:
-Nosing, licking, or otherwise pestering the driver.
-Trying to climb in the lap of the driver.
-Pacing back and forth from car window to window.
2) Injury to the dog or other passengers:
-Injury to your dog’s eyes or nose from flying debris when their head is out the window.
-Broken bones, internal injuries, trauma, or death due to sudden stop, violent swerve, or car wreck.
-If a car wreck occurs, your dog could become a deadly projectile which could kill them and possibly harm other passengers.
3) Escaping the vehicle:
-Jumping out of a moving vehicle causing injury to themselves and possibly causing a wreck from you stopping suddenly or from other cars trying to avoid hitting them.
-A dog that is projected from or escapes from a wrecked vehicle could cause another wreck when he goes into the road.
4) Breaking the law:
-While it may not be against the law in all states to have your dog unseatbelted, if law enforcement sees that your dog is a distraction you may be ticketed for unsafe driving.
5) Stress to your dog:
-Unharnessed or uncrated dogs can get stressed out in a car. Stopping, turning, etc can prevent them from keeping their balance. They don’t understand all the movements and can be stressed by it.
-Dogs can get carsick – especially little dogs who can’t see out the window.
-A stressed dog can vomit or make other types of messes in your car.
-Don’t leave your dog alone in the car, even in mild weather. Heat dangers, stress from being left alone, stress from being harassed by a passerby, danger of being stolen.
Our message does not mean that you shouldn’t take your dog with you in the car. We just want you to think about you and your dog’s safety when they are in the car. Consider a dog car seat belt, keeping them in a crate or pet car seat, or putting up a pet barrier between the front and back seats in order to keep them in the back. For more information on dog car safety, visit our pet travel safety articles page.
In 2013, Subaru of America and the Center for Pet Safety teamed up to test dog safety-harnesses. Their main goal was to ensure pets are kept safe while being transported and that each manufacturer’s claims of “crash protection” are valid, and able to perform as promised. Throughout the 2013 Safety Harness Crashworthiness Study, a range of harnesses, which the manufacturers claimed were “Testing”,“Crash Testing” or offered “Crash Protection”, were tested to determine if their statements were true and correct.
It should be noted, the Center for Pet Safety ran a preliminary crash study test in 2011. Four safety harnesses were tested. All four failed to provide proper protection for their canine counterpart. Admittedly, this study was not thorough enough to provide helpful statistical information regarding the use of safety harnesses, as only four undisclosed brands were tested, while there were over a dozen brands on the market at the time. The unintended, yet virtuous, outcome of this testing is that many of the top harness manufacturers have become more rigorous with their own safety testing, and have made improvements to their existing products.
Out of the seven brands that were found to be stable enough to test in the 2013 study, the clear top performer is the Clickit Utility, which is manufactured by Sleepypod. While the Clickit Utility provides the best protection against car accidents, it limits range of motion to the extreme. Some dogs may get anxious if forced to use the Clickit Utility, which may cause them to panic and hurt themselves or encourage chewing through the safety device. That being said, some dogs may not mind the harness, or with proper training could be desensitized to wearing it. While the Clickit Utility passed the test with flying colors, it isn’t for every dog. There are other options that met the safety standards set in place by the Center for Pet Safety, like Klein Metal’s AllSafe Harness or Cover Craft’s RuffRider Roadie.
The danger associated with auto accidents does not only apply to our pets. Safety regulations for people regarding seatbelt use has been in place for decades, yet there are many cases in which the use of a seatbelt has caused injury or has still resulted in death. Each car accident is unique, and no matter how much safety testing is done, there is always a risk involved. This does not stop people from wearing seatbelts, and it should not stop us from strapping our dogs in.
Having extra protection, such as a dog car safety harness, not only provides peace of mind, but keeps dogs in place. At the very least, your strapped in dog will be less of a distraction while you are driving, reducing your risk of getting into an accident in the first place. There are other methods to restrain your dog in the car, such as crates, barriers, fencing and screens. These will also help provide distraction-free driving, but they have not been properly tested, and it cannot be concluded that they will keep your pet safe in the case of an accident.
The Center for Pet Safety is leading the way in discovering the best way to keep people and their pets safe while traveling. Their research is still in an early phase, with only two studies under their belt. Without prior data, it is hard to conclude what testing method will provide the most accurate information. The methods will surely be modified in the future, meaning we will be able to make more informed decisions regarding the safety of our dogs as time goes on.
By Patrice Marrero
Source: Newswire Today
Yes, we’re moving! Our online website will remain the same, but our home base is moving from Lawrence, Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa. Why, you wonder? My husband is moving for a new job. And since my job is with a virtual online company, I can move with him quite easily. And, of course, we are moving with our dogs too. Moving a family is a challenge, but put dogs in the mix and there are a few more challenges to add to our list. Here is what we’ve encountered so far.
LOOKING FOR A PET FRIENDLY PLACE
Since we have discovered that we are not good home owners when it comes to home repair and routine home maintenance, we’ve decided to rent instead of buy. And finding a pet friendly place to rent has not been easy. Over 80% of the places I called either said no pets or only allowed pets under 25 pounds. Pierson is 50 pounds and Maya is almost 70 pounds. I also found that a lot of places in Des Moines have breed restrictions. Maya is a Lab and Pierson is an Australian Shepherd / Border Collie, so there was no trouble there. But if I still had my Chow mix, Sephi, we might have had more trouble. So unfair, but it is the reality.
We finally found a great house to rent that is very pet friendly. Our landlord is our neighbor and she has a gorgeous Mastiff girl named Bella that she rescued, as well as a cute older Jack Russell. Our landlord is charging neither an extra pet deposit, nor an extra monthly rental fee for the pets. This is different than many of the pet friendly apartment we looked at, who charged an extra $25 per month per pet, plus a non-refundable pet deposit.
Some dogs and cats might get stressed from all changes going on with packing. Stuff is being moved around. Boxes are piling up in the corners. Things are getting a good scrubbing. And there is more noise than usual because of all the cleaning and packing. If you have time, get started early and take it slow. Introduce boxes and packing slowly. And try not to change your pet’s normal routine.
Luckily, Maya and Pierson have not been affected at all by the changes. Maya is very curious about what I’m doing and is constantly sticking her nose in the boxes I’m packing. Pierson has been a little more cautious than Maya. Loud noises scare him and he has been a little intimidated when we move big stuff around. But he is doing really well for the most part.
STRANGERS IN AND OUT
Because we need to sell our current home, we have had people in and out of our house doing estimates and repairs. So when strangers come over, I generally put Maya and Pierson outside. I could say, “This is my house and if you want to come in you are going to have to accept the dogs.” But there are two very big reasons why I don’t.
Safety for Visitors
Although Maya and Pierson are friendly, some people are afraid of dogs. Allowing my dogs to approach someone who is afraid of them opens the door to trouble and it is also unkind. Also, despite my efforts to keep Maya from jumping on people, I still have trouble. She just gets so darned excited that she forgets her manners. She’s scratched a friend of ours who came to visit because of her crazy jumping antics. And she has also caused someone to bite their tongue because she jumped up and hit them in the chin.
Perhaps your dogs are better behaved than my Maya when it comes to jumping, but just because your dog doesn’t jump on you, doesn’t mean he won’t jump on strangers. And another thought, just because your dog likes most people doesn’t mean he will like everyone.
Safety for My Dogs
If you have a dog that likes to sneak or squeeze out the door at the first opportunity, then you have to be especially careful about visitors. I believe that it is unfair to expect a visitor to my house to be careful about not letting the dogs out. They don’t know my dogs or what they will do. Yes, visitors should be considerate and take care to close doors behind them. But ultimately my dogs are not their responsibility.
If your dog doesn’t travel much, it will be very helpful if you can get them used to traveling before the big move. Start out by taking them on short road trips. And take them somewhere fun so that they learn the rewards of traveling. If you have a dog that gets car sick, consider a natural pet remedy like Travel Calm, which has ginger to help with car sickness as well as calming ingredients to help with anxiousness.
Don’t forget your pet’s safety when you travel on the road. Thankfully, Maya and Pierson are used to wearing a dog seat belt. If your dog isn’t used to a dog car harness or a traveling crate, be sure to help them get used to these devices as well as used to car rides. Check out these additional tips for helping your dog get used to riding in the car and used to a dog car harness.
Letting your dog explore the new place is great. But depending on your pet’s personality, you may want to take it a little slow. Go through one room at a time. Reward them with treats, if needed. Set some of their belongings like toys and bedding in place before they explore in order to help them familiarize themselves to the new surroundings. Supervise them as they explore, especially in the yard area. Your dog might find a hole in the fence that you didn’t see or there may be wild animals living in the yard that you weren’t aware of.
At this moment, I am still in Kansas with Maya and Pierson. They have not yet made the road trip to Iowa or seen their new house. For them, the road trip should be no problem. Maya will have no trouble getting used to her new surroundings. I have no doubt she will be very excited about it. Pierson may be a little more wary about the new place, but he will adjust easily when he sees Maya do it. Our official move date is May 10th.
Have you ever had to move with your pets? Are there some concerns you had that I forgot to mention here? How did your dog adjust to the move?
Wow, is this the third Friday of the new year already? Time goes by too quickly. Welcome to another edition of the Follow Up Friday blog hop hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. This is actually the second follow up of the year since we did the pet blogger challenge last week. Rather than cover two weeks of follow up, though, let’s just start with the fun pet blogger challenge.
PET BLOGGER CHALLENGE
Pamela with Something Wagging said, “OMD! You can write a blog post in an hour!” Glogirly said something similar, “I’m also very impressed that you can write a blog post in an hour!”
Okay, let me clarify. Yes, it does only take me an hour to actually write a post. But when you add research time into it and the time it takes to not only take photos but to edit them as well, I actually spend a good two hours or more on some posts. Plus, if you add all the time I spend procrastinating…
Also, I want to thank everyone who complimented me and my blog on the pet blogger’s challenge. The feedback you’ve given encourages me to keep on posting. Thanks to the challenge, I’ve also found some new fun pet blogs to follow.
A LOOK BACK AT 2013
Ann with Pawsitively Pets mentioned how nervous she is about trying new things outside of blogging, such as a radio show or her own video.
I get that way too. In fact, I bought my video camera and software in February 2013, but I didn’t actually get the video done until November. Part of it was because I was trying to learn the software, but part of it was also because I was nervous. I kept procrastinating because I was afraid my idea was stupid and no one would like it. But you know what? The video may not have lived up to my best expectations, but it didn’t come close to meeting my worst fears either. So just jump on in! I promise, it won’t be as bad as you think it will. And you might even realize you really enjoy it.
NEW FOR 2014
A couple of you suggested I could do a guest post about safety on your blog. I’d absolutely love to! Email me at naturebydawn at gmail dot com to give me an idea of what your readers would like and let’s work something out. Yay! Thank you for helping me and for spreading the word about safety in the car for our furry loved ones.
WORDLESS WEDNESDAY SAFETY MESSAGE
Aimee with Irresistible Pets said, “My Chihuahua Chuy always wants to sit in my lap and whines like crazy when we put him in his seat. I guess I should have started doing that when he was a puppy!”
Good news, Aimee. It’s not too late to modify his behavior. In fact, I wrote an article about this very topic on another blog. Go check it out on Pets Page – Tips to Keep Your Little Dog Off Your Lap.
That’s a wrap! Thank you everyone for stopping by. And thank you again for the compliments and comments left on last week’s pet blogger challenge. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that 2014 continues to get better and better for you. Be sure to check out the other great pet bloggers in the blog hop below.
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
Welcome to 2014! A new year means getting a fresh start. It means resolving to do what you’ve been putting off. You and your dog are going to get fit, you’re going to eat better, and you’re going to do more fun activities together. When making all these resolutions, don’t forget to include the safety of your best furry friend.
Use a Pet Travel Safety Device
You know, I can’t mention pet safety without mentioning dog seat belts or pet travel carriers. If your dog rides in the car, it is a good idea to make sure he rides safe. If he won’t wear a car harness or ride in a crate, at least consider covering the floor of the back seat or putting up a barrier to separate the front and the back of the vehicle. The Backseat Bridge is a great way to do both. By putting this in your car, you can help keep your dog from getting thrown onto the floor or into the front seat. The barrier might even keep him from trying to climb in the front.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
Resolve to never go anywhere with your dog where you have to leave him alone in the car. In spring and summer, you have to worry about the vehicle trapping heat. In the fall and winter, you have to worry about the car acting as a freezer. Plus, there is a danger of theft. And don’t even tell me about the sorts of people who hate animals and like to maliciously tease them.
Keep Head and Paws Inside the Vehicle
Also, make sure when your pet rides in the car that he doesn’t put his head or paws out the window. If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, your dog could choke or get thrown out of the vehicle. It’s happened, people. It really has. Flying road debris could also hurt your best friend’s eyes or nose. Not only are there small pebbles to worry about, but also trash that people toss out their windows.
Don’t Ride in the Back of a Pickup
And for goodness sake, don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pickup. This is becoming illegal in more and more places. And for a very good reason.
Wear a Dog Life Jacket
Besides protection in cars, there are other safety things to consider for your pet. If your dog likes to swim or ride in a boat, make sure he wears a safety vest. Even though my Maya can swim, I generally have her wear a life jacket when she swims in a lake. This is because she loves swimming so much that I worry about her swimming too far after a stick or a ball. I worry about her getting too tired in the water.
Protect From Weather
Keep your dog safe then they are outdoors in adverse weather. Adverse weather includes rain, sleet, snow, and even the sun. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure he has shelter. Shelter can help protect him against all sorts of weather. Always make sure he has fresh water. This is vital, but even more so in the heat. Protect paws from hot pavements and icy sidewalks, have short-coated dogs wear coats or sunscreen, and if hiking in nature watch out for wild animals and insects.
Wear a Lighted Collar
If you walk your dog at night, be sure your dog wears a lighted collar or reflective safety vest. If not your dog, at least yourself. Well, don’t wear a collar but at least carry some sort of light with you. You may see a car coming because of their headlights, but they can’t always see you.
Get Safe Chew Toys
If your dog is a chewer, resolve to find more dog toys that are indestructible. Resolve to supervise your dog whenever he plays with certain toys. Keep things that are unsafe to chew or eat out of his reach.
There are a lot of other pet safety things to consider, but I can hardly think of them all. Besides, pet car safety is my specialty.
What do you do to protect your best friend’s safety?
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what to get for your dog when you want to protect him in the car. It’s not just a matter of selecting the safest product. What might be the best for one person and their pet may not be what is best for you and yours. Here are some things to consider.
SAFETY vs COMFORT
You want your best friend to be both safe and comfortable. However, the safest travel gear is not always the most comfortable. For example, the ClickIt Utility has been deemed as the safest canine car harness in 2013 by the Center for Pet Safety. But it is also the most restrictive, making it uncomfortable for dogs who insist on trying to move around in the car. If your dog is like this, you may want to consider a less restrictive brand. The Ruff Rider Roadie is just one notch under the ClickIt in safety so it still offers protection, and it’s not as restrictive.
Chew or Escape Proof?
Keep in mind, too, that if your dog is uncomfortable he may try to wiggle or chew out of a car restraint. Car harnesses are not chew proof. And none are entirely escape proof either. Some might be more difficult to wiggle out of than others, but if a dog is determined enough he will break out, or hurt himself trying.
Harness vs Crate
Another safety versus comfort concern is regarding a car restraint versus a crate. Is a safety harness safer than a crate? This has not been officially determined, but it would stand to reason that a secured pet travel crate can keep your dog from being a distraction and from getting thrown from the vehicle, just like a durable seat belt can.
So when debating whether to get a harness or crate, consider your dog’s comfort. Some dogs won’t like being restrained in a harness while others would hate riding in a travel carrier. And some dogs won’t like either, which means using a car barrier or other pet travel safety product might be ideal for you. These other kinds or products won’t provide as much safety, but at the very least may help to keep your furry best friend in the back seat.
Thankfully, the chances of you being involved in a collision are small. And if you do get in an accident, be thankful that most accidents are minor. Census.gov reports for 2009 that 0.6% of all car accidents in the US were fatal while 27.6% had nonfatal injuries, and 71.9% had property damage only. Where we may not be badly injured in a fender bender, an unrestrained dog can be. He can break his leg when he gets tossed between the seats, get severe damage to his nose if he hits the dash, get bodily injured when he gets thrown at the windshield, get squished because he is on your lap between you and the steering wheel, or get choked because his head is out the car window. All these possible injuries could be minimized or even eliminated with even the most basic restraint, crash tested or not.
TYPE OF VEHICLE
If you have a small car and a big dog, having him ride in a crate may not be feasible. Or if you have an SUV and you want your pet to ride in the cargo area, keep in mind that not all canine car harness brands can be used in the cargo area.
In general, the safest products are also the most expensive. Manufacturers making safety gear have invested heavily in quality materials and testing, thereby making merchandise that might be out of one’s price range. But paying less does not always mean making a compromise on your best friend’s welfare. Bergan has a relatively inexpensive harness which passed crash testing at the small and medium sizes (25lbs and 45lbs). Pet carriers also tend to be more expensive than harnesses, especially larger crates.
Do you want to keep your dog safe, or do you just want to keep him from trying to climb in the front seat or climb onto your lap? Perhaps you only plan on taking short trips around town and not on the highway. Maybe your dog doesn’t get to go for a ride very often. Safety is important, but your intended use is also an important factor to consider. You may not want to spend a lot of money on the safest seat belt for dogs if you don’t plan on using it that often.
EASE OF USE
What is easy to use and what isn’t is relative. If you’re not used to putting on a harness, a car harness can seem complex. The ClickIt Utility with its three attachment points can seem even more convoluted. A carrier may not be easy either, especially when you consider how you are going to strap it in and secure it in your vehicle. However, whichever method you choose, it gets easier each time.
These are just a few of the factors people think about when they look for a pet travel safety product. Which features do you consider?
Imagine your best little friend riding at your side without being a distraction. The window is down, the breeze is flowing in, and your dog’s nose is to the wind. If you have a pet 30 pounds or less, then he can greatly benefit from a pet carseat. Safety is an obvious benefit and there are two aspects of safety to consider. Plus, there are two other benefits of dog car seats.
The first safety aspect of a pet carseat is that your dog is tethered in and can’t distract the driver. The second aspect is that since your dog is tethered in, he won’t fly forward into the dash or onto the floor in a sudden stop.
Most dog car seats come with a tether. The tether is to be attached to your pet’s harness, not his collar. For ultimate safety, use a dog car harness in conjunction with the safety seat instead of a regular walking harness.
The Sleepypods do not have tethers but this is because your dog (or even your cat) is enclosed inside of it. This pet carseat is then secured in the vehicle with the safety belt of the vehicle. Sleepypods have also had crash testing.
Important note regarding pets riding in the front: Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Some airbags are designed to always deploy in the event of a front or rear end car accident while others will not deploy if there is not enough weight in the seat. So be sure to check your vehicle specifications regarding how the airbags work.
With all the turning and stopping you have to do, wouldn’t it be a more comfortable ride for your little dog if he didn’t have to continuously brace himself? Imagine making a quick stop, and instead of your pet sliding off onto the floor, he slides forward into the partition of his safety seat instead. The Snoozer and Lookouts have the most cushioning.
GIVE A BOOST
Some pet safety booster seats allow your furry friend to look out the car window. Sometimes, being able to see out the window can help with car sickness. Looking out the window is also a fun activity. Keep your pal entertained so that he doesn’t pester you.
Most dog car seats are for small dogs, 30 pounds and under. But there is at least one for larger dogs and that is the Full Bench Lookout Perch from Snoozer. Snoozer has a number of other different styles for smaller dogs, including the Lookout series and console seats. Sleepypods are for smaller dogs and even cats. There is also the Skybox and other booster seats from Kurgo. Check them all out and keep your best friend safe in the car.
My Maya loves the snow but she is super-excited that spring is here again. Spring means more trips to the dog park! Before we went for a visit yesterday, I considered some pet safety tips that I needed to keep in mind.
I considered bringing Maya some goodies for training, but decided against it. If it turned out to be too many dogs there, I didn’t want envious dogs jumping in me and trying to search my pockets. Nor did I want to start a fight, as some dogs may try to fight over food.
This same logic applies to toys. Some dogs are possessive of toys so it usually is not a good idea to bring toys for them to fight over. Even though Maya is not possessive, bringing toys might also mean her toys getting stolen.
Vaccinations Up to Date
A lot of dogs visit the park, so there is a greater chance of spreading sicknesses. Not only is Maya vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and the parvovirus, but she also has a vaccination for bordetella. Bordetella is not as dangerous as the other, but it is more common.
No Running with Sticks
Maya loves sticks and she always finds one. And I always get so worried. I’ve heard first hand of dogs running with a stick, the stick getting caught in the ground as they run, and the other end of the stick getting jammed into the back of the dog’s throat. Luckily, the dog I heard of this happening to was okay (after hundreds of dollars at the vet), but it could have been far worse. I know our dogs love sticks, but please be careful.
The only dog park in my area is unfenced. Luckily, Maya sticks around close so I don’t worry about her too much. But anything can happen. What if she sees a wild rabbit at the dog park? Will she run after it and out of my sight? Or will her training kick in? Maya is trained well when it comes to the recall, but she’s never been tested to this extent. If you’re not sure how your dog will do, find a fenced dog park. And always work on your dog’s recall. Coming when called should be something you always work on your dog with, even if it seems as though they’ve mastered it.
How to Handle Dog Fights
This is a tough one. Our instinct is to step in and break it up. But there are ways to break it up without endangering yourself. Here is a great article at ModernDogMagaine.com.
Watch Your Dog
Watching your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If your dog looks uncomfortable or showing signs of getting agitated, it is your responsibility to remove your dog from the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s nice meeting other dog people, but don’t let your conversations distract you.
Keep Away from the Gate
If you’re at a fenced dog park, try to stay away from the entrances. There are two reasons for this. One, your dog will be less likely to get out and escape when other people go in and out. Two, consider the state of mind of the other dogs coming in. They are excited and tensions are high. When a dog in that state comes in and is immediately confronted by another dog, it might aggravate the situation. Keep your distance. Let other dogs come in and settle down.
Aggressive Dogs Should Stay Home
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention Pierson going to the dog park. Pierson does not do well around other dogs, so I am not taking any chances. The last thing I want is for some small dog to get hurt or some person to get bitten. You might think that bringing such a dog and keeping him on the leash will help, but it doesn’t. In fact, keeping him on a leash might make him feel even more insecure and make him more aggressive.
Pick up Poop
Dog poop is gross so pick it up. It is not just a common courtesy; it is a safety issue because poop carries bacteria and other germs.
Consider Your Small Children
If you have a small child, be aware of their safety too. Be on the lookout for big or rowdy dogs that might accidentally knock your child down. And be careful of your child being around dogs that are playing. Your child could be accidentally bitten or scratched.
Wear Outdoor Clothes
This isn’t so much as a safety issue as it is a reminder. A dog might jump on you. A dog might accidentally run into you and knock you over. A dog with muddy feet might step on your shoes. A big dog might come along and slobber all over your pants leg as he walks by. Know and expect this, and dress accordingly.
Maya had a great time at the dog park. Being a Lab, the first thing she did was find a body of water (which also happened to be a mud puddle). So we even walked a distance to the river so she could go swimming. At the area of the water, I also had to be careful of garbage. While swimming, Maya found a plastic bottle full of liquid. Unfortunately, trash is common at almost every park. So if you see it, perhaps for pet safety and for the consideration of others you can pick it up like Maya did and throw it away.
What else can you think of for dog park safety? Enjoy the spring weather and be safe!