Hi Doodlers!

I just wanted to share an experience I had recently. If it helps one person I will be happy. 3 weeks ago I was involved in a very serious car accident. Our puppy Murphy was in the backseat. He was wearing a harness and was tethered to the back seat in a doggy bed. It truly saved his life. Had he had a collar instead of a harness, it would have easily broken his neck. Had he not been tethered at all, he would have definitely not survived. My car was totally demolished. They had to extract us from the vehicle, but Murphy walked away as playful as ever. He did have some PTSD in the days following - we had to throw away his favorite toy that was with him in the accident as it was causing him anxiety. But overall he is perfect. I had some injuries I'm still recovering from and my 93-year-old father who was a passenger in my vehicle is also on the road to recovery. It will be a little longer road for him. Side note,  we were broadsided by a young girl who missed a stop sign when entering a 50mph zone 😕

  • Harness and tether 👌👍🐕‍🦺

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  • I'm so sorry this happened to you, but glad it didn't turn out worse than it did. 
    Dogs definitely need some type of car harness or they need to be crated in the car. The "professional dog people" I know, i.e. the ones who do performance activities with their dogs (rally, agility, nose work, etc) and therefore are travelling with dogs in the car a lot, insist that crates are safest. There are only 3 or 4 one car harness systems that have passed all safety tests, and there are articles online to help people choose. But any kind of harness that is specifically made for the car is safer than nothing. I cringe every time I see someone driving with their dog in their lap. 

    • I'm sure crates are the safest but I don't think we could realistically crate both our dogs in the back of our car.  Riley just needs too big of a crate.  If we had two Toby's then maybe.  We are entertaining visiting family next year across the border (about a 7 hr drive) but the logistics are not easy.  With Riley's chronic health issues that can turn serious very quickly it's hard to trust her care to someone else.

      In any case beyond the dog's safety having a doggie projectile during an accident is dangerous for everyone involved.

      • The crash test approved harnesses do a good job. Not everyone is able to fit crates into their vehicles, and nobody should feel guilty about that. :)

        • We also need space to put our luggage... I don't know it's going to take a little bit of thinking haha.  I'm trying to convince DH we could just put our luggage in one of those roof storage things so the dogs get the whole trunk like they usually do.  I think we'd both feel a lot safer if our dogs were with us rather than at a stranger's house.

          • I just see too many posts on FB of doodles who "went missing" from sitters' houses to ever be comfortable leaving my dog with strangers, even in my own house. I've never been one for travelling, but I've been fortunate that when I did ever have to leave my dogs with someone, there were always family members willing to care for them. 

          • J, I just had a thought. Sometimes, vet techs do dog walking, sitting, etc. I know there are two at my vet's practice that do. Maybe you could ask at your vet's office. That feels a lot safer to me, since they are a known entity, if not to you, then to your vet, and there could be serious repercussions for messing up. 

            • Yeah that's the thing - we don't have any family close by that we could trust with our dogs.  Our parents are getting old and they are not strong enough to handle Riley if she got spooked or something and pulled at full strength.  

              There is a well-reviewed dog sitter nearby that has taken care of large breed dogs for people that might be worth looking into.  I think she *might* be a vet tech. 

              The thing that worries me the most (which is partly a training issue on our part and we know that) is Riley potentially stealing food that would make her sick.  If whoever takes care of her is not used to keeping their counter completely clear of food then she would likely get into something.  We are pretty careful and she still occasionally gets things if we miss something.  We have to keep everything edible (minus fruits and veggies because she doesn't care for those) in the microwave, a cupboard or the fridge because she can reach the full depth of the counter.  

              She got about 1/4 cup of butter that was left out a couple weeks ago, nearly gave me a heart attack but she threw it up and was ok.  I cooked for her for a week just to be safe which is not something I'd expect a dog sitter to do, we'd have to give them some frozen portions or something.

      • You could always crate Riley and harness Toby?  Would that work?  Travel crates like the Ruff Land brand are supposed to be a lot more compact and snug around the dog so it wouldn't be as big as her metal folding crate or even a Vari-Kennel brand.  I once found an early large RuffLand model on Facebook marketplace for $45!! but I hesitated and missed out -- I think that's very rare.  They are usually $300 or so and even used finding one for that steal of a deal is probably never going to happen again.  At any rate, my point is, IF it's in the budget, a snug crate for the big dog and a harness for the smaller dog might work?  Just an idea.


  • However, I would like to add that aside from being in the car, collars are always better than harnesses for everyday activities and walking. Every dog needs to learn to walk nicely on leash, and harnesses don't lend themselves to that. You really don't want to walk your dog in a harness, and the worst possible thing is to keep a harness on a dog indoors, or even outdoors for long periods of time. It damages the coat and skin and causes matting.  I don't know why, but for some reason a lot of doodle owners seem to favor harnesses over collars, to the point that it's kind of a joke among non-doodle owners. :)

    • Karen, thanks for the info! I didn't realize that. We have had Murphy's harness on since we got them. I'm taking it off as I type this.LOL

      I HAD a Honda Civic hatchback. It wasn't big enough for a crate so we opted for the harness. My next vehicle will definitely be big enough for a crate. I have red and heard that that is the safest way to transport. 

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