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Gizmos That Make RVing With Your Dog Easier Part Two

"There are all sorts of travel gadgets available for dogs to make even the most gizmologically infatuated wriggle in an ecstasy of agonizing over the choices”

Gizmos That Make RVing With Your Dog Easier Part TwoGizmos That Make RVing With Your Dog Easier Part Two

By Holly Stephens

There are all sorts of travel gadgets available for dogs to make even the most gizmologically infatuated wriggle in an ecstasy of agonizing over the choices.

First question before ever hitting the road: to crate or not to crate? Whether? tis nobler in the vehicle to suffer the howls and whimpers of an outraged canine or take steps to secure the dog against the sea of hazards, and by securing, satisfy both dog and safety. In the past, most of us have been unthinkingly guilty of leaving our dogs at large in the vehicle while we travel, creating hazards for our own driving if they get excited and interfere with us as well as making the vehicle a death trap for them in case of an accident. In a collision -- or even a hard, sudden stop, a dog can become a living projectile with very little chance of coming out of the experience unscathed, or even alive.

The first, obvious answer is crating and securing the crate so that it doesn't slide around . Crates don't have to be hard, bulky pieces of gear anymore, either. There are wire kennels made to knock down and store away in a small space, even for the largest dogs or soft travel “bags” that can be harnessed in place in a seat while allowing your dog to look out a hatch and check to make sure you aren't exceeding the speed limit or missing your exit.

For small dogs, there are booster seats that can be attached securely to the car seat and equipped with harnesses that will ensure little Brutus doesn't go hurtling through the interior when the inevitable pokeyfart pulls out in front of you in the hammer lane at 45 mph. You have enough to do, what with the swearing and sign language while operating the horn, brakes and steering all at the same time; you don't need to have to worry about catching the dog flying toward the windshield at 30 mph.

Boosters aren't necessary or practical for large dogs. A good solution for the medium or large dog is a seat belt harness that attaches directly to the car's existing restraint system. Most allow your dog to move around in the seat, to change directions and to sit up or lay (or is it lie?) down, but will keep them firmly contained in case of sudden deceleration or collision.

Another stellar reason to contain your dog inside the vehicle is to prevent a tragedy should you have to make a roadside stop. It's far too easy for your dog to get excited about a new adventure just because the vehicle has stopped and dart out of the door before you can say or do anything. ?Nuff said.

So . . . once you've arrived at your RV site, the next question is how do you let your dog enjoy the outdoors safely? First and foremost, if your dog is outside of the RV, you need to be there as well. Never, ever assume that any containment is 100% secure. Even if your dog can't get out of it, there's no guarantee someone won't do the opening for him, or even give him something he shouldn't have -- or just tease the dog. People do.

tie out is the simplest answer to being able to let your dog have a safe amount of freedom outdoors while you're there. Some sites are thoughtful enough to provide secure stakes for your lines, but in most places you'll need to bring your own staking, usually a sturdy screw-in type that's heavy and long enough to anchor securely in the ground with an eye to attach a clip. These are a better choice than simply tying your dog to a tree or post because they cut down on the dog getting wound around the tree or post and barking in frustration.

Another possibility is a portable wireless fence. If you go that route, remember that while it may keep your dog in, it's not going to keep other dogs -- or animals -- out, Also remember that if the impetus is strong enough, the jolt from the fence might not be strong enough to deter your dog from bolting. Know your dog's drive before you make the decision to go the wireless route, and remember, you must teach your dog how to use the fence! Don't just put it up, throw the collar on your dog and expect it to work. And don't forget to bring extra batteries for backup in case the power source fails.

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