Convenient and safe, dog car harnesses have become popular, but do require appropriate training. Variations in airbag-triggering mechanisms may make it dangerous for a dog to ride in the passenger seat, unless they are small enough to be crated. Backseat riding is safer for dogs wearing car harnesses.
Dog trainer Deborah Franks of Groveport, Ohio, suggests following these steps for getting your dog used to her car harness:
- Treat and praise as your dog wears the harness in short, supervised sessions in the house. Practice putting it on and taking it off so this goes smoothly in the car.
- To introduce pressure on the harness, hook on a leash and walk to the car and back.
- When your dog is relaxed on leash, put her in the car and hook the harness to the seatbelt before removing the leash. Praise and treat while giving a few light tugs with the seatbelt.
- Once your dog settles comfortably when harnessed in the car, drive around somewhere with very light traffic and gradually work up to longer road trips.