Tag Archives: safety

Dogs in Pickup Trucks. Are They Safe?

A few years ago, Julien Roohani of Portland, Oregon, was at work when her roommates spontaneously decided to go on a hike. Not wanting to exclude Julien’s six-month-old Shepherd/Border Collie mix, Niña, they threw her into the back of their pickup truck and set off for an adventure.

Niña had never been in a truck bed before. Whether she was scared or just spotted something of interest, she managed to jump out during the drive. Panicking, the roommates called Julien, who rushed Niña to an emergency veterinary clinic where she was diagnosed with a broken spine and other severe injuries. Julien had no choice but to allow her young pup to be humanely euthanized.

Unfortunately, stories like Niña’s are all too common. It is never safe to drive with an unrestrained pet—especially with that pet in an open truck bed.

“When you drive with a loose dog in the back of your truck, you’re taking a huge risk and placing your dog and other motorists in danger,” says Chuck Mai, a vice president with AAA Oklahoma. “Even if a dog is trained, we’re talking about an animal who responds to stimuli on impulse. This irresponsible decision can start a deadly chain reaction on the road.”

Is It Legal?
Transporting unrestrained dogs in low-sided truck beds has been banned in a handful of states, including California and New Hampshire, and municipalities including Indianapolis, Cheyenne and Miami-Dade. However, in the vast majority of jurisdictions, it’s not even illegal to transport children in this manner, so we must rely on common sense and education to protect children and pets alike.

How You Can Help
One can feel terribly helpless witnessing a loose dog in a pickup truck. The best course of action is to try to get the vehicle’s license number (if you can do so while remaining safe) and call the local police. Rather than dialing 911, Jill Buckley, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations, suggests storing your police precinct’s phone number in your cell phone.

Sourced from



This survey does not reveal surprising results to those who work as professional dog trainers or dog behavior counselors.

The aim of the research was

  • To map a child’s knowledge of dog’s communication signals
  • The understand the perception of a child’s own authority in the relationship with a dog and
  • To determine the frequency of individual risk activities in their mutual contact.

The research abstract detailed that ‘ The research study has revealed alarming deficiencies, especially in the knowledge of communication signals and canine body language. The awareness of signs of the two most hazardous communication signals (threat and attack) was very poor”.


Journal of Nursing, Social Studies and Public Health, Vol. 1, No. 1–2, 2010, pp. 102–109

Marie Chlop?íková, Adéla Mojžíšová
University of South Bohemia, College of Health and Social Studies, ?eské Bud?jovice, Czech Republic

Every relationship, even that between a child and dog, should be based on mutual respect and understanding that allows not only trouble-free interaction, but also creates
a good basis for a positive approach and relationship of both partners. If the child is supposed to create and strengthen the relationship with an animal – a dog – he/she must learn to know and respect not only dog’s basic physiological needs and supervision of the dog’s health status and fitness, but also specific differences seen in the behavior and communication
(communication signals) of his/her animal companion (Fra?ková 1999).

Ignorance of divergent patterns of behavior, perception of hierarchy (authority) by the animal in the human family, a variety of communication signals representing aversion
or pleasure of the animal, or just spending free time together (independent activities – walking the dog) puts both individuals into risky situations and represent primary causes
of possible conflict. The decision to let the child grow up together with a dog belongs, without a doubt, to one of the best decisions we can make. However, it is necessary to realize the
responsibility of adults in this relationship. A dog can make a child’s life richer – as a silent companion, a guardian, psychological support, and a loving and faithful friend. A
dog is worthy of our reverence and respect for all these positives. If children are taught to respect all living beings and pass this experience along, the positive consequences of our effort will enrich future generations (Hessler-Keyová 2002).

The full article can be sourced here

Thank you to Doggone Safe for bringing this important study to our attention.

Joan Orr  of Doggone Safe added in her email newsletter dated March 9th 2011

Some Key Risk Factors Identified in this Study

  • Children considering themselves to be the highest authority over the dog
  • Children walking the dog without adult supervision
  • Ignorance of dog body language signals – considered by the authors to be the main bite risk factor

The overall bite incidence in this study was 51% (of 200 children age 8-12). This is consistent with finding from our own survey of children in Be a Tree sessions that 54% (of 869 children age 5-9) has been bitten.

The results of this study provide strong support for the Doggone Safe approach of teaching children to read dog body language to help reduce the dog bite risk.

The DogSmith National Training Center will later on this year be rolling out an entire educational program around dog bite safety. This will be in partnership with Doggone Safe and Dogs & Storks. Watch out for our news releases. each locally owned and operated DogSmith Franchise will become a licensed Presenter on behalf of both these organizations

Dogs Always Mouth Off Before They Bite

More than half the dog bites that occur in the United States each year involve children who are household members, but many of these incidents are avoidable if pet parents simply learn the way dogs communicate, an animal behavioral expert says.

Pet parents need to understand the subtle ways that dogs communicate their frustrations, dislikes and fears and take remedial action before the behavior escalates into biting, according to Niki Tudge, founder of The DogSmith, a national pet care and training service based in Tampa,  Florida.

“Dogs cannot write to their congressman or e-mail their family members,” Ms. Tudge told MySetterSam. “They communicate in dog language. When pushed they will bite.”

Pet parents must learn the signals dogs give to let us know when they are in pain or afraid, Tudge said. “This is one of our key roles as dog owners. We must raise socially savvy dogs who are polite family members, and we must do this by exhibiting benevolent leadership so they can live safely in our world.”

Approximately 74 million dogs are owned in the United States and about 4.8 million Americans receive dog bites each year, according to Tudge. Around 800,000 of those bites require medical attention, although many need just a band aid. Most bites occur within a dog’s home territory and victims are normally family members, home service workers and delivery persons.

The median age of dog bite patients is 15 years old and boys age 5 to 9 have the highest incident rate, Tudge said. Seventy-seven of the children involved are bitten in the facial area while most adults are bitten in the lower extremities.

One of the most important actions a parent can take to avoid problems is to begin training a dog from when it is a puppy, Tudge said. “Teach the dog to have a soft mouth. So in the event the dog is ever stressed or pushed and an emotional response results in a bite, the damage is minimal.”

According to Tudge, some common reasons for dogs to bite are:

* Resource guarding. A dog lacks training to relinquish something it values – such as a bone, toy or food bowl – and a child or adult attempts to remove it.
* Fear. A dog will bite to escape or avoid something.
* Predation. A dog chases, grabs and bites small quickly moving objects such as children to satisfy its predatory instincts.
* Pain. A dog is approached or touched in a sensitive area.
* Mistreatment. A dog is punished or threatened and bites to avoid the punishment.

In most cases involving a dog biting a family member, the pet has been given giving signals for months or even years, Tudge said. A dog will try appeasement and keeping a distance from the person who is stressing them, and this can escalate into minor signs of aggression such as freezing, snarling or snapping.

Tudge offers these tips to help pet parents can make sure their children and the family dog live in harmony:

* Enroll a dog in an obedience class when it is brought into the home. This gives a pet parent verbal control and builds a trusting relationship. Involve children in the training. Even small children can quickly gain control of a large dog if they learn proper training methods.
* Desensitize your dog. Get your pet accustomed to having its collar grabbed, having food taken from its mouth and having people pick up its toys and items it considers valuable.
* Teach the dog bite inhibition. The mother dog does not have time to fully do this because people take puppies from their “bite school” before they have learned this crucial skill from their mother and their litter puppies.
* Teach children to respect and treat animals kindly. Do not allow children to grab at the dog or pull it tail and ears.
* Crate train your dog. Give a pet somewhere quiet to go when it wants to be alone and make sure children respect that crate as the dog’s private space.
* Give your dog adequate exercise and mental stimulation. Make sure they are a part of the family. Do not tether dogs . A dog that is tethered, insufficiently exercised or isolated is more likely to be involved in a bite incident.

Tudge advises pet parents to contact a professional trainer at the first sign of aggression from a dog. “Do not wait until you are dealing with an actual bite,” she said. “A small financial investment in training a dog can ensure a healthy and happy union between dog and human.”

The Ruff Report: Dogs, Safety and Behavior
Posted Dec 13, 2010 @ 05:45 PM
Last update Dec 13, 2010 @ 11:14 PM
By Joseph A. Reppucci