Thursday, January 1, 2009

How's My Driving?

Our talk about about vans and Katie's travel worries prior to the holidays leads us into an important subject.... how is my driving? Actually, you should ask your dog "How is my driving?"

I drive very gently. It comes from my days of hauling a horse trailer. A horse stands while traveling and his center of gravity is several feet above the ground and even higher when he is standing on a trailer. If you accelerate like a race car driver, brake hard to avoid rear ending the cars you tailgate, and corner like you are trying to out run the cops, your horse is going to have a very unpleasant experience and may never willingly load onto a trailer again. To some degree, the same can be said for the dogs.

I have ridden with several people who drive extremely rough with the poor dog in the backseat sliding from one side to the other and being flung into the front seat at every stop light. Often these folks do not seem to realize how terrifying this can be for the furry passenger.

Crates do offer a huge advantage. If you do get caught having to slam on your brakes, crated dogs are safely separated and contained. However, crated dogs also appreciate a gentle ride. For those that sleep (Riley, Reagan, and so did Travis), a gentle drive allows them to be well rested and ready to drive me crazy when we arrive at our destination. For those that worry (Katie currently), a gentle ride gives them less to worry about.

So the next time you drive, pretend that you have a glass of water sitting on your dashboard (or a container of training treats). Drive in a manner that keeps the imaginary glass from spilling water and your dog will be much happier for it.