Whole Dog Journal's Blog December 23, 2015

Press the Button, So They Won't

Posted at 09:37AM - Comments: (14)

I can't remember if I've written about this before, but if I haven't, I should have. How many of you have electric windows in your car? If you do, and your dog can reach the window, you should always press the LOCK button on the electric windows. I could end this reminder right here.

Hound Looking Out Car Window

I am fostering a hound - and can I just ask right now what it is about hounds? Why do they get into on everything you don't want them to? So many of them are so smart, so agile - and fortunately, so sweet, because you want to wring their necks one minute, and the next, you want to hug them for an hour. But this hound I am fostering, even with a harness and seat belt, she manages to step on the buttons on the arm rest in my car. She did it with a back foot the other day! She has locked and unlocked my doors, and of course, made her window go up and down, every time I forget to press the window and door "lock" button. I'm slowly but surely getting trained to hit that button every time she gets in the car.

I don't have a horror story to tell, thank goodness. But I've heard plenty, about dogs jumping out of car windows, and dogs getting their heads trapped in a window that was closing. So just do me a favor and consider either crating your dog and securing the crate properly  (something I can't do with this big dog and my small car), or pressing the lock button, even with your seatbelted dog - especially if he or she is a hound!

If you have a car-button-pressing  dog and a horror story to pass along, to cement this public safety message, please do share.

 

Comments (14)

I always double and triple check the window lock in my SUV before setting out with my two Irish terriers and my dachshund, leaving only one rear window open just enough for the terriers to stick their heads out. They get carsick if the window is closed. When I get to my destination the dogs pull their heads inside in anticipation of getting out and then I close the window. But this time one of the terriers decided to put his head back out just after I had checked on them and the window went up. He SCREAMED, I panicked (have you ever heard a dog scream?) and could not remember how to lower the window. I had also removed the keys from the ignition.
A bystander kept her head and told me to start the car, she unlocked the window and freed a very frightened boy. I'll never live it down. Talk about feeling like a complete moron.
I wish car manufacturers would build in some sort of safety device that will stop the windows going up if an obstruction is detected.

Posted by: ingrid | February 9, 2016 7:13 PM    Report this comment

I had a friend whose dog's head was caught in a closing window - survived. I am fortunate that my car's back windows will only go down half way (no space for large dogs to escape) and that it has a lift button for closing the window - a rather impossible task for a dog.

Posted by: K9 | December 31, 2015 7:09 PM    Report this comment

I respond to a lot of dog- needs-a-home-in-a-hurry calls, because I've had therapy dogs visiting my huge workplace since 2008. Two of my current three are failed fosters through this network. I brought home my golden retriever failure within 15" of visiting her home to evaluate her disposition. She was 8 months old, not house trained, crated 20 hours a day, sweet but wild. Her people had no collar or leash, so I stuck her in the back of my Subaru and crossed my fingers. She was fine for a while. Then she climbed over the seat, clawed at the window, pulled it down just enough to get her nose out, then climbed through. I was doing 50 mph and this all happened in about 9 seconds. I pulled over in time to grab her tail as she slid out into a four lane highway. It still makes me tense to remember this trip.
Poppy has lived with me two and a half years since, qualified as a therapy dog, and visits my classroom regularly. I carry several collars, a leash, a seatbelt harness and a relinquishment form in the car at all times now. But that one trip, which turned out to be the beginning, might have been the end. Lock everything. Stock the car with leashes and anchors. I now use the car seat attachment points as connections, with link chains that can't be chewed through. I never know when the next dog will call. But I know the call will come, and I'm ready.

Posted by: llewellynh | December 30, 2015 8:26 PM    Report this comment

Wow what a lesson. If you have time, contact your favorite car manufacturer and tell them about these issues and that they should be doing more. More safety in the front passenger seats in general but for those who have pups who might be up there (yes, I know, back seat in restraints or crates is best). Also tell them not to put the controls and buttons between the seats in consoles or cupholders in the middle for that matter. My car has something (not windows) between the seats, and I covered it with a plastic container (heavy duty) lid, and then put a folded towel over it. I also have the seat belt secured with a short strap and latch I hook to my pup's leash handle, just as an extra precaution. And of course lock button engaged.

Posted by: robin r | December 30, 2015 8:53 AM    Report this comment

I heard a story from a friend whose car's electrical system failed and they were stalled in the summer and couldn't get the windows down while they waited for AAA...naturally in the summer. I love electric windows and doors but that story has since scared me enough that I haven't had them since then. I have manual open windows and doors and I have found that it isn't an inconvenience at all...and I'm used to it, now. Sometimes progress isn't as practical as we'd like.

Posted by: Pommette | December 30, 2015 2:09 AM    Report this comment

When we were selling our house, of course, I had to evacuate with all of the dogs...our own and foster dogs....sometimes 6 or 7 dogs. I drove to the end of our road and parked in a recreation area on the river. The vehicle was a fairly new van with everything power and quiet.....one of my Goldens hit the button to open the door I did not even hear it. The dogs streamed out of the van...I jumped out of the van and opened the other door (and was freaking out) and the dogs ALL jumped back in the van.....they had never seen Mommy like that before! That is when I learned about the button to disable the automatic doors ...that I use every time they are in the van.

Posted by: Olivia | December 29, 2015 4:02 PM    Report this comment

Our 80 lb pit bull was sitting in the backseat of the car with our teenage son beside him. We had the backseat window down just enough for the dog to put his head out...but, not jump out of. He stood on the power window button causing the window to close on his neck. I was driving and trying to move to the side of the road just as my quick thinking son grabbed the window and popped it outward. Fortunately the dog was fine and we were shaken up. It had never occured to me to put the locks on.

Posted by: Ibrodie | December 29, 2015 3:54 PM    Report this comment

We had a rental car because our car was in the shop for repairs. We took the dogs [6] to the dog park for a run on a very cold day. We left the keys in the glove compartment so we would't lose them in the dog park [which has happened a couple of times.] I put 3 dogs back in the car, and my husband came along with the other 3. When we went to open the door, the 3 inside had locked the doors, so we were stuck outside in the freezing cold with 3 dogs. We had to call a locksmith and wait over an hour, with the 3 inside the car barking like lunatics. Next time, all 6 go in together.

Posted by: Chervine | December 29, 2015 3:36 PM    Report this comment

We had a rental car because our car was in the shop for repairs. We took the dogs [6] to the dog park for a run on a very cold day. We left the keys in the glove compartment so we would't lose them in the dog park [which has happened a couple of times.] I put 3 dogs back in the car, and my husband came along with the other 3. When we went to open the door, the 3 inside had locked the doors, so we were stuck outside in the freezing cold with 3 dogs. We had to call a locksmith and wait over an hour, with the 3 inside the car barking like lunatics. Next time, all 6 go in together.

Posted by: Chervine | December 29, 2015 3:34 PM    Report this comment

Our Golden Retriever went out the passenger side window of my husband's pickup truck after just such an "event". He lowered the window himself somehow - paw on up/down control on arm rest, presumably - right when husband went around a curve in the road, and out he went, rolling down the roadway. Absolutely horrific (very glad I wasn't there to see it). The dog ended up with only a few scratches, thank God, but unlike other dogs, this boy learns. He has a long list of stuff he avoids because it scared him once, including the door arm rest controls in the truck!

Posted by: JanC1955 | December 29, 2015 1:00 PM    Report this comment

Just to suggest another option.. I use tie downs in my car. It keeps the dog on the floor, which is incidentally the safest place for the dog if there is an accident.

Posted by: buttercup | December 29, 2015 12:42 PM    Report this comment

Our Bernese Mountain Dog was in the back seat in the summer and was in his seat belt harness. It was a cool day so I opened the window for him to get some fresh air. To my horror, while he had his head out the window, he pushed the window button and it started to close. Luckily I heard it in time and got the window closed again before it trapped him and he was choked. After that very scary episode I have since locked all my rear windows.
Great reminder to your readers and thank you for your blog!!

Posted by: peddler | December 29, 2015 12:02 PM    Report this comment

We had a bad experience with windows and my one year old German Shep. while we were out for a wild experience. We came upon a large herd of Antelope and as I was rolling up the window she leaned on it and it exploded in a million pieces. Both GSD were in the back when this happened so they were both extreamly frightened, the worst part of it all. I have been working with both of them to curb the natural instinct to give chase but this really made an impression. We were lucky no one was hurt but it did lead to cost and trouble and the fear for both young GSD. I will lock the windows from now on because the Doxie hounds I have also roll down the windows when moving around. This is an important notice of prevention.

Posted by: Tacy West | December 29, 2015 10:07 AM    Report this comment

Something I hadn't thought of--very good advice! My dogs are usually in crates in the car but now I am fostering for a rescue agency and sometimes one dog must use a seatbelt harness and can reach the window. I will now start checking to make sure the window lock button is engaged whenever I leave them in the car.
Thank You for a wonderful blog!

Posted by: PJKutscher | December 29, 2015 9:10 AM    Report this comment

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