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Dogs: Pack them UP when sharing your Oliver or sister Airstreams

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This is how we 'stack and pack' our two Australian Cattle Dogs, aka Blue Heelers.

 

They travel in their Pet Porters on the back seat of our truck.  This is their 'den' and they cannot wait to get into their own Pet Porter when traveling.  Same when the porters are stacked in the trailer with limited space.  One is the UP dog and the other is always the DOWN dog.

 

Now we have one pillow under the dinette tale and the other in the hallway for evenings.  The favorite spot is under the table, so the Early Dog gets the Den.

 

What is your mode of transporting Dog(s), Cat(s)... or mice?

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Beautiful pups.  Glad to see you're putting an emphasis on keeping them safe while traveling.


Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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When we first started looking into all of this, I was immediately drawn toward the new F150 as a tow vehicle solely because of the wide flat floor area in the rear with the seats folded, which can hold a full sized crate for a big dog with no problem at all.  I also did a little bit of research on crates and harnesses to see which ones offered the best protection.  Unfortunately we lost our pup to pneumonia shortly afterward so I never finished up the research.  But I was surprised at the scarcity of actual testing that goes into many of the harnesses and crates.  There are a handful of youtube videos of some third party tests and I think one or two companies that claim to have crash tested their products.  I don't remember the brands but I'm sure they'd be easy to find.  I do know that the plastic crates aren't worth much in a crash and I definitely got the impression that a harness can do more harm than good in an accident.  I was leaning at the time to a welded aluminum crate that I could strap to the floor of the truck.  I like the crates like the one below since I think the solid panels would be much better keeping your dog safe in an accident than wire.

 

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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There are a handful of youtube videos of some third party tests and I think one or two companies that claim to have crash tested their products. I don’t remember the brands but I’m sure they’d be easy to find. I do know that the plastic crates aren’t worth much in a crash and I definitely got the impression that a harness can do more harm than good in an accident. I was leaning at the time to a welded aluminum crate that I could strap to the floor of the truck. I like the crates like the one below since I think the solid panels would be much better keeping your dog safe in an accident than wire.  

 

My preference is a good cargo barrier, and leave the dog loose behind it. In my experience the animal will be much happier on really long road trips. He can look at the scenery, sniff the smells out the window, commune with his master in the front seat and most importantly, not be bored to death! It is hard to pet your dog or give him a treat when he is confined in a cage.

 

Check out the Raingler nylon cargo nets. I have used several and they are excellent. Cost is minimal and workmanship and customer service is excellent. I currently have a production one in my Ram 3500. They will build a custom for any application, but it is $$. Here is one for the F150:

 

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http://www.raingler.com/_p/prd1/2790788331/product/ford-f150-crew-cab-barrier

 

Depending on the application you may need to install additional anchors for some of  the side straps (they are called footman loops and are available from Raingler).

 

I highly recommend the incredibly overbuilt Milford Cargo Barrier, but there is currently no importer and you will pay a huge amount ($750+) for the unit plus oversized shipping from Australia. I paid $450 for mine in 2003 from a USA source. I am baffled as to why nobody makes these steel barriers here.

 

I removed the rear seats entirely of my Quad Cab and built two removable platforms from Baltic Birch plywood.

 

The one behind the drivers seat is low and has adjustable tie down rails for my DC powered ARB fridge. I also added a dedicated HD power outlet in the back for it. I carry a soft cooler on top of the fridge to act as a pantry for lunch fixings. This keeps the dogs off of the fridge where they do not have secure footing. I carry a big Rubber Maid bin there when not using the fridge or cooler. Or I can install just the left rear seat for an unexpected passenger (10 minutes to swap).

 

The other platform is wider (40 inches side to side) and built up 12 inches above the existing floor. Underneath is bolted an aluminum tool box, where I can lock away valuables (especially when we are away from the truck on a hike), and between that and the rear wall is ample room for truck spares like coolant, oil, air pump, jumper cables etc etc. The lid is hinged at the back edge for easy access (after the dogs are out) and I can reach some of the more important stuff like diesel fuel treatment, glass cleaner, towels and first aid trauma kit, without having to disturb the dogs at all.

 

Both platforms have outdoor carpet glued on top.

 

On top of the carpet is a section of 1/2 inch high density foam cut from a Coleman camping pad to cut road vibrations. On top of that is a pet hammock ... http://www.hunterk9.com/site/870877/product/DLX2500 .... to provide a layer of waterproof, vomit proof protection (and to make it very easy to launder). It also protects the back surfaces of my bucket seats from drool.

 

On top of that is a 40 inch foam pet bed, to give them some extra softness and warmth. If they are going to get dirty I toss a large beach towel on top of the bed, so I can just remove it after they have deposited their dirt into it.

 

Both Australian Labradoodles are about 40 pounds and their heads are about six inches below the headliner when standing normally. They are free to move around and they can stick their noses out the right window when we are stopped or moving slowly. They are 100% restrained from entering the front section of the cabin, even in an accident. After two years I have seen no damage to the headliner. Your dog may be different!

 

Loading is a little challenging since the new floor is 50 inches off the ground (I have a tall truck). I can easily load them by grabbing their travel harness and scruff, and up they go. If they are wet, I try to dry them off and I will use a Pet Loader that they just walk up. That keeps me from getting soaked and smelling like dog. Their Spiffy Dog harnesses are excellent and stay on them all the time they are away from the house (their collars are also great):

 

https://www.amazon.com/Comfortable-Dog-Harness-Red-Air-Spiffy/dp/B005AW8FA0/ref=lp_8988966011_1_1?srs=8988966011&ie=UTF8&qid=1475510496&sr=8-1

 

http://www.petloader.com

 

I am sorry that I have no pics to share. I will take some soon and post them here. Maybe this afternoon since they are headed to the groomer and will look more presentable. ;)

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Some pics up:

 

More pics here: ... http://www.spokanister.net/images_web/RAM_3500/Ram_Dog_Platform_Fridge/

 

I'll get some dog pics in a while.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John, given the way that net is attached, and the large gap at the top, I have to wonder if that's going to help much in an accident.

 

Dogs really don't mind crates and I'd much rather stop every so often to let them stretch their legs than take any risks.  If you still want to use a harness, then take a look at the Sleepypod Clickit - it's designed so that the plastic buckle isn't stressed when it's pulled on, which is where most of them fail.  http://sleepypod.com/clickit-sport

 

Here's another crate that looks like a good safety choice - https://www.gunnerkennels.com


Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Wonderful options for dogs... and kids, alike.

 

Since we stop for fuel about every three to four hours, our Heelers do well traveling.  More for the wife, but we will leave that alone.  OK?

 

Our 2012 Tundra was  easier for the Heelers to climb into and out into their crates.  The F350 is higher and we will lower the crates to let them out.  A real pain, but it is better than shoulder injuries from jumping down after being crated and curled up.

 

Dingo, the Heeler you see on top, tore both of his ACL's, at different times, one year chasing Jack Rabbits in the desert.  One ACL injury and then about three months later, the other when running with three legs in motion.  After eleven months and no $3,000 to $4,000 ACL vet surgeries, Dingo is 95%+ himself and now resists chasing anything, to a point.  His lesson learned the hard way.  He was just a couple days from being put down for a 12 year old dog... I call him a Jock Dog as he always living on the maximum throttle of his physical... super powers heeling.  Like I said, a working dog.

 

#1: November 2015  #2: February 2016

 

Our first Blue Heeler was able to sit on top of the blanket covering the camping supplies.  She would see oncoming traffic and would run in circles in the back of the SUV.  Thus... the Dog Porter. Took care of that.  And, much safer for any sudden stops, although a catastrophic stop it would have made little difference.

 

Many dog owners do not realize that just a common ACL injury to a hind leg will cost thousands of dollars in vet bills.  We love our Heelers, but they are working dogs and if they cannot...work, or pretend to be working, it is a life sentence they would not like.  Far beyond being a lap dog.  We worked with Dingo on his ACL injuries every day making him walk a short distance and increasing the distances over time.  Today... unlimited mobility.  We saved $6,000 or more, and he will live to be an old Dingo.

 

They can also 're-injure' a repaired or healed ACL injury.

 

When camping and hiking, these working dogs like to be along side us three to twenty feet or in front a distance, looking for trouble lurking in the brush or forest.  Then return to make sure everyone is...keeping up.

 

IF your dog suffers an ACL separation... have hope  to work your dog through the injury.  His muscles will atrophy if you do not work them.  They leg or legs will shake and quiver from weakness.  But... within a month we had him taking short hikes, yet his hind legs would quiver and lacked strength. Today... his muscle tone is back and no quivering.  Even surgery does not guarantee a fix.  We put him on pain medication after the first week... and the next day it improved his ability to walk.  Now he is on half the pain medicine and soon... none.

 

Photo is August 22, 2016 in the Medicine Bow Mountains, near Laramie, Wyoming.

 

Thank you for listening.  Someone following this thread might have found an option.  We learned this ourselves.  The vet's all wanted surgery without guarantees of any success.  Sometimes, even ourselves can emulate our dog and get better.  Today is a good day to start!

 

 

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John, given the way that net is attached, and the large gap at the top, I have to wonder if that’s going to help much in an accident. Dogs really don’t mind crates and I’d much rather stop every so often to let them stretch their legs than take any risks.

The net is a little slack in that pic, it does normally ride a little higher. We have been doing this in two vehicles for six years now and never had a dog end up in the front seats, but these are very laid back travelers and they usually sleep. They wake up when we enter a town and the speed drops below 30 mph - "Maybe there is a PARK AHEAD!!!!????" We usually lower the window six inches to give them some new smells.

 

The headliner in my Ram is higher above the dogs - it steps down forward where a sunroof would be, if we had one. So they would have a really difficult time jumping the gap. But they are well behaved, low energy dogs and we don't have to deal with hyper activity.

 

If you wanted the net to ride much higher you would need to get creative. I fabricated replacement passenger assist handles out of rectangular aluminum bar stock to raise the outer ends, but a piece of  tubing from side to side might be needed if you want the net to be way up close to the headliner - you would need something to strap the upper part to. It is just a simple engineering problem....

 

I had several goals, and they make my solution a little unusual.

 

I needed a significant amount of inside secure (locked or out of sight) storage plus a stout flat area to mount my fridge. I would have preferred 16 inches of platform height but settled on 12 due to the headroom factor.

 

I had to be able to remove the left platform and install the smaller of the rear seats there, if needed, without disturbing the larger right one.

 

I could not use a crate because one large enough for both animals would not fit through the doorway with the platform installed.

 

I did not want to carry the equipment in back, since we sleep back there under the Leer canopy, and will continue to have that option after we get the Ollie, for trips up into the high mountain passes where no Ollie can tread.

 

We tested the design for four years with just one dog in  my LX450 and it worked perfectly. The only unknown was having two dogs in a space that was only 30% bigger. They sleep in a tangle and do not fight, so it turned out to be a good choice.

 

This setup would not work at all for a significantly larger dog due to lack of headroom.

 

Everybody needs to come up with a solution that works for their own dog(s) and needs. The main thing is to ensure that he is safe and happy, and cannot be hurled forward into the front compartment in the event of a collision. We have tested the effectiveness of the cargo net several times, though we have never actually hit anything, and the dogs just slid forward a little ways and bounced back, startled but unharmed. A crate ultimately gives more protection, IF STRAPPED DOWN, but the downside is that it restricts his movements significantly.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Our 2012 Tundra was easier for the Heelers to climb into and out into their crates. The F350 is higher and we will lower the crates to let them out. A real pain, but it is better than shoulder injuries from jumping down after being crated and curled up.

 

Please take a hard look at the Petloader. It is unique in that it provides steps for your dog rather than a steep ramp. Dogs have no problems with steps but sometimes a steep slope can be very hard for an older or injured dog.

 

We do not use ours routinely, since I have to carry it in the bed and it takes a little time to retrieve it and then store it away. Setup is quick and easy, the huge negative is that you need six+ feet of clear space on the side of the truck. Sometimes it is hard to find a parking spot that has room, and that you know will have room when you return to the truck. An end space in a parking lot that is adjacent to a flat grassy area is ideal.

 

It is not a problem for our dogs to climb up - mine is the longer version that has five steps. It is easy to add even more steps but the device would start to be a little unsteady. You can remove one or two steps to use it on a low vehicle. Here is a guy loading his sled dogs into crates on top off the truck bed rails.

 

 

http://www.petloader.com/faq

 

It's an impressive and well built accessory that your dogs may love. I carry a handful of brochures to hand out to dog owners who see it in operation. BTW it is made in the USA by a small family business.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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We tried using a commercial pet folding walkway that would be about six feet long and maybe 18 inches wide.  After one trip decided it was easier to move the crate with Heeler inside.  Probably intended more for ingress and egress from a pickup bed with a topper.

 

Some great options to select from previous well illustrated photogrpahs.

 

Traveling Wyoming, Montana and western Nebraska it is not unusual to see working dogs standing on top of the tool boxes behind a pickup's cab while driving through town.  Obviously not recommended for everyone.

 

We have larger pet porters that do not slide in and out of the back doors as they are narrower.  The 2006 Tundra had lots of back door width... the 2012 Tundra Crew Max not as much and the F350 Ford is even a bit narrower.  Some day my back will say it is time to improvise... but until then, both Heelers curl up and like John, when we exit the highway they wake up and are eager to check out the new smells and sniffing.

 

If people traveled this easy and let the dogs do the driving.

 

 

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Traveling Wyoming, Montana and western Nebraska it is not unusual to see working dogs standing on top of the tool boxes behind a pickup’s cab while driving through town. Obviously not recommended for everyone.  

 

When I was a kid, my sister and I travelled around in the back of my dad's truck many a time.  Times change.  Back then, no one wore seat belts, but then a lot more people died in accidents.  You have to be a special sort of idiot not to wear one these days.

 

So the same is changing for our pets.  It's really simple for me - if you value them enough that you want them to be safe in an accident, then you take the exact same measures that you'd take for yourself or your family.  I get that a dog might not choose a crate over the freedom of roaming around the back seat, but by the same token I don't know any children who'd voluntarily choose a seatbelt.  But they deal with it, just like a dog will deal with the crate; and it's by far the safest way for them to travel.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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