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Car Restraints for Service Dogs who wear a Mobility Harness

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SHADOW,- Certified- Service Dog

BORN TO SERVE
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 28, '05 10:09pm PST 
I just got an email from our trainer concerning a former gradutate from the program. This is what it said: "People need to know about restraining their dog in a car. Two weeks ago we were in a wreck where someone T-boned us, at the driver's rear door. I hit my head against the driver's side window and then was thrown to the right.

Mary Ann and I both hurt our knees and I hurt my left shoulder. Cody was on the side the other car hit and he was restrained but still was knocked across the back seat. Luckily when we took him to the vet he checked out OK. I asked the insurance company if he was covered under the policies to cover medical from the accident and they said no that dogs were not covered. So if your dog gets hurt in an accident, you are responsible for the bills."

Now to my question: Shadow does use a car restraint system at the moment. My problem is when I get his Custom Harness in a few weeks. I don't think I could hook him to the Mobility Harness. It's very expensive and the Veterans Administration is paying for it. Now, what should I do about restraining him when he has to use his mobility harness? Do I just keep switching from the one to the other during our outings? If I make four stops that would be a lot of harness changing.

Any suggestions?????

Ellen & Shadow
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Nolte (Retired Guide Dog)

Guide dog work- is a joyous- thing!
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 29, '05 4:04pm PST 
I'd say switch the harnesses, personally. Usually when I'm riding in a car I don't leave Nolte's working harness on... unless it's a quick trip. But something longer then a half hour, I leave his harness off until we get where we're going.

There's a discussion going on on one of my guide dog lists right now about car accidents and the safest place for a dog to be in a car. The guide dog schools recommend keeping our dogs on the floor of the back seat. The lower they are in the vehicle, the lesslikely they are to become "flying projectiles" in a crash.

Also, it's very dangerous to have your dog in the front (on the seat or on the floor) as the airbag deploying can cause serious or fatal injuries for a dog. When you think about it, children under a certain weight are not allowed to ride in the front of a vehicle, so it makes perfect sense that a dog wouldn't be safe either.

When I and my mom were in our accident in October, Nolte was on the back seat and I was in the front passenger seat. He was thrown against the back of my seat and to the floor. Thankfully he wasn't injured, and I learned an important lesson about where to keep him from now on... and it's not on the seat. LOL.

We have a minivan now, and he rides on the floor. Thankfully he never even tries to climb on the seat at all. I wish that vehicles being manufactured today would incorporate some form of seatbelt system for dogs to secure them safely to the floor while riding.

Karen Ann
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SHADOW,- Certified- Service Dog

BORN TO SERVE
 
 
Barked: Thu Dec 29, '05 5:32pm PST 
Thanks for the info. Shadow can't lay on the back floor of my Buick Century. It's way too small... He does lay on the seat with his car harness on. At least he's quiet as a mouse in the car. When I had my van he laid on the seat w/ his harness attached and I had to brake really quickly when a car pulled out in front of us. He went off the seat, but didn't travel to far thank heavens. He just looked at me with this strange look and crawled back onto his seat and laid down.

I'll remember about the working harness by keeping it off till I need it. I was wondering how I could manage it. If I could get three kids (years and years ago) in and out of car seats for years then I should be able handle it again.

At our Christmas party for our Service Dog School one of the ladies on our School Board just got her new Guide Dog, Stella. Denise works with the ADA Chapt in AZ. Well, when she went out the other day with a friend and left Stella home with her retired Guide. She forgot to close her bedroom door before she left because the room is off limits to the dogs. Well, her old Guide Dog decided to have fun and knocked stuff off the dresser which had a diet pill bottle and Stella got into them. Well, when she got home and her friend saw the distruction she was a little upset until Stella was acting hyper and really off. Rushed her off to the Vet - seisures and a body temp of 108. Stella died the next day. Stella was only 16 months old and she only had her for a month. Thought it was so sad. Her old Guide will come out of retirement until she can decide when she'll get another guide.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 31, '05 10:45am PST 
We switch back and forth for all car trips. Like I posted in the travel section, though, Sabrina's vest just has one quick snap buckle type thing and then we put the gentle leader on so it takes only a few seconds. For short trips into a store I'll just put her vest on over her seat belt. Looks a little odd, but it works just fine.

Good luck and let us know if you do figure out a way to incorporate a seat belt into the harness!
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 2, '06 9:05pm PST 
I've been thinking a lot about this and I think I might have a solution!

I don't know exactally how a mobility harness fits, but I'm assuming it doesn't go across the neck, right? So as long as the seams or whatever could hold up it could be used as your seatbelt harness.

You could go to an outdoors/rockclimbing type store and get the strongest carabeener they have. Buckle the seatbelt and clip the carabeener onto that. Then clip the carabeener onto your mobility harness.

The only problem I see with this is if the mobility harness couldn't stand up to the high g-forces generated in a crash. That or if it goes across the trachea or neck-- that wouldn't be too goo. You could even clip the carabeener onto just the shoulder strap so Shadow could sit up.

What do you think?
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Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 3, '06 1:27am PST 
What does the mobility harness look like? Maybe there's a way you can put on the car harness over/around the mobility harness? I've put my Golden's CARE seatbelt harness over a backpack before, just had to be loosened some.
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SHADOW,- Certified- Service Dog

BORN TO SERVE
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 3, '06 9:27pm PST 
I'm getting the following harness: http://www.ldsleather.com/assistancecolors.html in the dark havana brown. I did get an email from the owner who's making Shadow's harness had to say about restrainment in the car:

"The harness does have a d-ring on the top center rear. The ring is there for you to use as you see fit and we do have clients who use it as a car hook-up.

More questions, just ask.

Karen"

Then she emailed me again: "In thinking about it, he's right. I was really more worried about the handle causing injury to the dog than the harness getting hurt. If you need to use the harness as a restraint in a pinch, take the handle off.

Karen"

So, it's OK to use it only in an emergency for restraining the dog.. only thing you have to do is remove the handle. So, it will be easier to just to put his harness on the floor and put on his car harness (I got the one from sitnstay.com) on for traveling purposes.
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Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 4, '06 5:30pm PST 
With that type of harness you should be able to adjust the size of the car harness (loosen) and put it over the mobility harness if you can take the handle off the mobility harness. This would be easier than taking the mobility harness on and off each time you go in/out of the car...
The only down side to this would be, if you later did not have the mobility harness on him you'd probably have to tighten the car harness so it would be snug...
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Tiny

Tiny- All Heart with a- Big Bark.
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 5, '06 12:32pm PST 
I run the lap belt up through Tiny's mobility harness top handle. This is the strongest anchor other than the D-Ring.
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