Riding in the Jeep – Safely

Herd in the Jeep

I have shown you pictures like the above many, many times – the Herd all in the back of the Jeep going off for some adventure.  Cheoah rides in her crate (she gets bouncy and the last thing I need is Natasha correcting her while we are going down some road) and the rest ride in their seatbelts.  Nothing unusual, right?

For those of you who are a member of the Thundering Herd Fan Page on Facebook, you already know the story as posted there.  For the rest of you, here is what happened.

We had been hiking and just climbed into the Jeep.  We even posted this picture on the Fan Page:

Brothers Rusty and Kodiak hanging out after today's hike.

We were then driving to do some errands in Asheville and were passing in front the Asheville Mall.  A group of protesters were out in front of the mall making a spectacle of themselves.  Traffic came to a stop right in front of them.  Unfortunately, the gentleman behind me was watching them and ran his full size pick-up truck into the back of our stopped Jeep.

To relieve everyone – no person and no pup was hurt.  Fortunately, the only damage was to the vehicles and none of that matters in the grand scheme of things.  The gentleman driving the other vehicle was very apologetic and told us that when he looked up his only thought was stopping before he hurt any of the dogs.  Under any other circumstances, I would have enjoyed meeting him because he was clearly a good person.  All of us have been distracted for a second, so no hard feelings there.  I respect anyone who stands up, admits to making a mistake, apologizes for it and accepts the consequences.

Now go back and look at that first picture.  Let me repeat.  Cheoah rides in her crate and the rest ride in their seatbelts.

Natasha and Qannik walking in their seat belt harnesses

We use seat belts called Champion Canine Seat Belt System (we do not receive any compensation from them and paid full retail for the product – just our opinion).  They are sturdy, strong, and none of The Herd has ever chewed through them.  Plus, as you can see above, they are easy for the dogs to walk in for shorter hikes.  In case you are not a believer in the value of dog seat belts, please watch this short YouTube video.

For those of you who use crates – and we do for Cheoah – the question is the same – how is it secured?  Cheoah’s crate is secured to the Jeep frame as well.

We will return tomorrow with our usual irreverent sense of humor, but we wanted to take a moment today and beg you to secure your furry friend in the vehicle.  We had no clue Saturday that we would be needing the seat belts, but today we are only thinking of the “could have beens” and, thankfully, not regretting anything.  Instead, we will deal today with body shops and repair estimates, but we will go home to six healthy, happy, furry members of The Herd and hug them dearly.

Stay Safe!

D.K. Wall – Hu-Dad and Safety Director – The Thundering Herd

UPDATE – 7 a.m. – A reader over on the fan page pointed out a second canine seat belt product to consider – the Ruff Rider .  I checked out the website and like what I saw, though I can not speak to the product itself (it looks much like an x-back, so I do wonder how easy it is for a dog to step back out of it, but would need one to test before I knew).


  1. Sagira on March 31, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I am glad that nobody was hurt. That is very scary. I know when we got in our accident I was so thankful the girls were not in the car with us.

  2. Lucky Luke on March 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I am so happy you all are ok!

    My the Mom has been lax in makin me and the Bleu wear the seatbelts, on a counta I hopped into back seat about a year ago and the latch to the harnass locked down on my foot. One word: OUCH.

    We need to look into alternate belts that are safer around doggy feet! Fank you for the reminder… it is a very important one!

    wif love from the Luke

  3. achieve1dream on March 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Scary!! I’m glad everyone is okay!

  4. Jeanine on March 30, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Holy Moly!!!! I’m glad all are safe! Everypup around here rides in crates, except Gibbs.

  5. Mr Koda MD on March 30, 2010 at 1:00 am

    My Ma has been naughty and we haven’t used seat belts much before since I was a puppy and chewed through two different ones.

    But we have recently started again so I don’t fly through the windscreen, which I think is mighty fine!!

    Glad you are all safe! Pups and Humans included!

    Koda MD

  6. Lorenza on March 30, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Hi, friends!
    Thanks for coming to visit my blog.
    Today I came and read about that scary episode! Glad to know everyone is ok!
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  7. Holly and Khady on March 30, 2010 at 12:50 am

    We are so happy you are all safe! Just shows you never know what will happen, so always pays to be safe!

    Holly and Khady Lynn

  8. Life With Dogs on March 29, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    You make a compelling argument. I have been slammed at work and away from Facebook, so I had not heard of this. I was reading with baited breath. Thrilled that all are well – and you make a compelling argument for restraints. As does that video.


  9. Amber on March 29, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    So glad everyone was ok!


  10. HUSKYS RULE on March 29, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    We are so glad that everyone is okay:-)

    Licks & Nibbles,
    Kody & Nia

  11. norwood on March 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Whew I was so glad u were okay. My fun aunt dee was in an accident once- rear ended and she had mom’s previous dog along with her two in the car. Needless to say, one jump out and ran. The other jarred her back between the 2 bucket seats and suffered back problems afterwards. We certainly realize the importance of safety in the car. Ahem… albeit mom is not always securing me. Maybe your lesson will remind her of the importance.


  12. brooke & darwin on March 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    OMG how scary!
    so glad to hear everyone is ok!

  13. Khyra on March 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    We were khwite relieved to see all were furries were okay –

    Thanks fur sharing your great adventure –


  14. Emma Rose and the Duchess on March 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    We are so glad no one was hurt! Thanks for the seatbelt link. We have been talking about getting some and now we will hurry up and do it!

    Emma Rose and the Duchess

  15. The Army of Four on March 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    We’re so thankful no one was hurt!!!
    Tail wags,

  16. Kari on March 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Oh my thats scary! We need to get car gear for our pups. We have put it off for way too long

  17. Steve and Kat on March 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    We have Champion seat belts as well but will admit that we don’t always wear them. Kat has figured out how to get out of hers, so Mom has to really watch to make sure she isn’t getting out of it. Have you found any leashes that can attach to the seatbelts for walking?


  18. dream valley ranch on March 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Wow…that is scary! I am so relieved to hear that everyone is okay!

    I was wondering about your set up…when we had 9 dogs we bought Vanzilla so that we could travel safely with our pack if we all needed to go somewhere.

    I would love to see a diagram of how you have everyone set up…can anybody get caught in someone else’s nylon strap?

    Those look like great harnesses!
    Thanks for sharing the info, and so happy you are okay!

  19. KB on March 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Great post! With me, you’re speaking to a true believer… Our pups are always either seatbelted or crated. My nephews, 4 and 6, have observed us wrestle the dogs into their seatbelts and then click them into place many times. Apparently, these two cute boys now approach people in parking lots whose dogs are riding loose to tell them that “dogs need seatbelts too!”. I love kids that age – they simply speak the truth, with no worries about social niceties!

    I’m so glad that every one of you is OK!

    Now, you say that this is already on Facebook. I need to figure out that darn thang now that I have an account!

  20. Siku Marie, the White Dog on March 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    So glad everyone is safe and ok! What a scary moment it must have been! Happy hu-dad kept his cool and is mature enough to realize it was just a mistake in timing…no point in adding anger to the mix!

  21. jack a-roo & moo too on March 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Thank roos no pup or biped was injured. We have to ride in back, and on long trips one of us is crated, but I think mom should look into these harness thingies. We want to be around fur a long long time!

    a-roos to yous,
    jack a-roo & moo too

  22. Mogley G. Retriever on March 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Wonderful. We don’t use safety belts, but we are going to have a talk with our bi-ped/chauffer about adding them.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  23. Dennis the Vizsla on March 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I wonder if we could get Trixie and Dennis to wear seat belts. We already tried with Tucker and it didn’t work out, but maybe we could try again …

  24. Toby's Raiser on March 29, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for the advice!

    Toby left you 2 awards over at his blog,

  25. Stella on March 29, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Its good to see the results of your careful dog set up.

    Did the pups give the driver that hit them a piece of their Minds?


  26. Sonic on March 29, 2010 at 9:09 am

    That was so scary and exciting at the same time! I’m so glad nobody was hurt. I should maybe wear a seat belt in the car next time… but I only ever ride in the front with Momma and Pops.

    The excitement never stops with the Thundering Herd!


  27. Houndstooth on March 29, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I am so glad that none of The Herd was injured, including the Hu-Dad! It’s definitely a scary experience. Did any members of The Herd ever give you trouble about starting to use the seatbelts?

    Our post about a favorite dog no longer with us goes up tomorrow!

  28. MAXDOG on March 29, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Great advice! Glad nobody was hurt!
    Sending lotsaluv and lotsalicks

  29. Clive on March 29, 2010 at 6:21 am

    A timely warning that everyone should take note of – particularly if their dogs travel with them a lot. Clive is in the car with us everyday so we are very careful to make sure he is adequately secured and safe!

    Glad to hear that all the herd were okay!

    take care
    Murray’s Mom

  30. Wild Dingo on March 29, 2010 at 5:32 am

    i can’t remember, are these harness’ “step into” kind or do you slip them over the head and under belly and buckle up the sides? i have tried other harness systems and have had disastors with them. right now, they ride in 4 door sedan and restrained to back seat. but the plan is to get a better car and method of securing them (either harness or car that takes 2 crates). i can’t tell from the site if they are step into harnesses. loki would never go for the step into kind. he’s such a weirdo.

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