Car Travel With Your Dog

Car Travel With Your Dog

Car Travel With Your Dog

Written by Eryn Martyn-Godfrey

With a new study revealing that nearly two thirds (64%) of UK motorists are unaware that driving with an unrestrained pet could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and invalidation of their insurance. It is about time we all take more care of our dogs when they travel in a car. The number of rear-end car crashes recorded in the UK has increased over the past three years despite advances in safety technology, figures revealed, according to research by Accident Exchange. This is despite improvements in collision avoidance systems, more powerful brakes and ABS. Boot floors can be damaged and cause the boot to open, so dogs traveling unrestrained in the boot are then loose within accident scenes. Being loose in a boot, front or back seat is not a safe travel choice. Even if you aren’t in an accident, breaking sharply can cause your to slip in to the footwell or fly around your boot causing them significant damage to muscles and in some cases much worse injuries. 

Know the Law

With a new study revealing that nearly two thirds (64%) of UK motorists are unaware that driving with an unrestrained pet could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and invalidates their insurance. It is about time we all take more care of our dogs when they travel in a car.

Are you in breach of Rule 57 of the Highway Code?

“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.” Read more here


Invalidates Insurance

“Most insurance policies will not cover a motorist who is found driving with a pet if it is unrestrained, meaning pay-outs can be withheld if there is an accident” Read More HERE

Whether it is a quick trip to the shops, driving to your local park or a day trip out, your dogs safety needs to be addressed. If you leave them loose you not only face fines if caught but if you are in an accident and found with a loose animal your insurance is very likely to not pay anything out at all. Is it really worth the risk?

Choose a restraint which works for you, your car & your dog. Whether it is a harness, crate, or dog guard with tail gate. There are plenty of options around. No one but you can speak up to keep your dog safe, if your dog struggles in a crate, either build positive associations or use a harness instead. You can even section off part of your boot with dividers, dog guards and tail gates to prevent them from being thrown about in day to day driving. 


Is it Crash Tested?

Many items sold are NOT crash tested and many are unsafe. Check your items and make informed choices. Accidents happen. The most common seat belt attachments or car harness are sold by RAC in the uk and these have not been crash-tested! The seat belt plug is not designed by car manufacturers to withstand force alone. Seat belts work by spreading the stopping force needed to decelerate the passenger across their body with the seatbelt retractor’s lock bar when force is applied.  They do NOT work by attaching a harness to you and plugging it into the socket alone.

Invest for life and to save life

Your dog deserves to be kept safe when traveling, here are some you can look at for harnesses Sleepypod Click it Sport or Kurgo,  for crates Trans K9Variocage Safe Dog Crates, or Pet Ego EB Jet Set Isofix. If you transport your dogs in your boot, then there are three factors you MUST consider. First do you have a dog guard to prevent them from getting in to the back seat? Second do you have a tail-guard to prevent them from being loose if someone rear-ends you? And thirdly, how big is your dog and how big is your boot? If you stop suddenly are the flying about in a space far to big for them, pulling muscles daily bracing when you drive around corners or stop suddenly. 

Sleepypod Clickit Sport

Kurgo Impact

Trans K9

VarioCage Safe Dog

Pet Ego Jet Set


All on Board

This information goes for everyone who transports your dog! Whether it is a friend, family member or professional Dog Walker or Daycare it is down to you to make sure your dog is being transported safely. For Professionals it is NEVER ok to put more than one dog in a crate, all dogs should be able to travel in their own space. If the walker / daycare doesn’t have a vehicle big enough for this, choose a walker who can provide this level of basic safety. 

Parents who ask friends or family to pick up or travel with their child either give them the car seat they use in their car or, if it is a regular set up, many opt to buy a second seat to be used by them. It really shouldn’t be any different for your dog.


Consent and Active participation in Vet care

Consent and Active participation in Vet care

Vet care & Grooming

The Bucket Game

The Game of Choice 

The Bucket Game – The Game of Choice


This game is easy to introduce to any animal and is designed to empower the learners, enabling them to give consent and active participation in their handling, grooming and vet care. By creating an environment where our animals have a choice and can communicate their desire to participate.

The bucket game was designed and brought to the world by Chirag Patel – a training and behaviour expert from Domesticated Manners.

The Bucket Game gives animals the ability to tell us:

  • When they are ready to start
  • When they need to take a break
  • When they want to stop
  • When we need to slow down

The bucket game can be used in many instances, not only for husbandry training and caregiving behaviours but also as a confidence builder, phobia reducer and for fun.

This game uses shaping, targeting, stationing and many other behavioural principles in a way that makes it fun for both the animal and the caregiver.

What you will need:
A bucket (size appropriate for your learner)
Rewards (high-value food or toys)
A bed/mat or safe place
Access to water

Step 1: Teaching manners & impulse control around the bucket (put your reinforcement in the bucket)

Start by holding the bucket out to the side.

Take a piece of food from the Bucket, marking with ‘yes’ for looking at the bucket but maintaining some distance from it (20-50cm).

You can then put the bucket on the ground/chair and reward the animal for looking at it but not jumping in it. 

It doesn’t matter what position your animal is in (sit/down/stand).  What you are rewarding for is engagement with the bucket.

Start reinforcing when the animal maintains eye contact with the bucket for longer durations.  Don’t increase your criteria too soon or quickly as this may cause your learner confusion.

The animal is allowed to look around between focusing on the bucket – remember this is a game of choice and a conversation between you and them.  No need to call, shake the bucket, tug on lead.  Let your animal decide to engage in participating in the training program.

Allowing access to a bed/mat and water – will give your animal confidence that they can take a break as needed.


Step 2: Choose what you want to train the animal to do – for this example – A dog having his ears cleaned…

I’m going to wait until he can focus on the bucket (remember it doesn’t matter what position the dog is in – it could be a sit/down/stand).

When he is focused on the bucket and able to hold his focus of a few seconds, I’m going to start moving my hand to his side (not touching him).  

At this point, he can choose to continue to look at the bucket – and if he does, he will be rewarded.  If he looks at my hand, he has communicated that he was uncomfortable, and I will stop – remember this is the game of choice.

When he re-engages with the bucket, the game begins again.  This time, don’t move the hand so fast or far.  If he can maintain focus on the bucket – he is rewarded.

The use of the Bucket Game continues building the ability to help the dog consent to have his ear cleaned.

The game of choice will only work if you allow the animal to communicate that they wish to begin, break and stop the game. If the animal looks away from the bucket, the game breaks/stops.  When they re-engage with the bucket, the game continues.

Domesticated Manners.
Patel, C. (2015). The Bucket Game. [online] Available at: