Does your dog like you to keep the car window down to feel the wind in his hair? According to Robin Foster, Ph.D., research professor of animal behavior at the University of Puget Sound, “Dogs receive more olfactory information about the environment with their head outside than inside the car." Dogs often enjoy riding in cars and exploring their environment through their sense of smell as they enjoy the sun and wind on their face. Pet parents often think it’s cute that their dog knows how to press the electronic window button and lower the car window themselves. While this is adorable and signifies that your dog is quite brilliant, it's also very dangerous. The following information explores the dangers, causes, consequences, and life-saving tips for dogs who jump out of windows.
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs often find other cars, smells, objects, people, animals, and dogs rather interesting as they zoom past them while riding as a passenger in the car. This often prompts them to chase after their interest to explore it more. Since dogs are known to explore their world with their senses, it is only natural they desire to get closer to the object that is capturing their attention. Unfortunately, jumping out of cars can be a result of their curiosity. This behavior is common in dogs that are fearless, energetic, playful and inquisitive. Dogs who are shy and scared are less likely to jump out of the car. Usually, these shy, timid dogs are more afraid of the traffic, noise, and chaotic environment that causes them to hide inside the car instead while the fearless dog is eager to explore the world, even if it is dangerous. If your dog loves to explore and has the habit of jumping out of the car they are putting themselves, you, and other drivers at risk of an accident.
Common injuries for dogs who jump out of windows include broken bones, skin infection, skin damage, loss of skin, injury to face, mouth, teeth, neck, eyes, nose, and paws, plus internal injuries that can lead to death. Pet parents often get into car accidents due to the sudden action of their dog jumping out of the car into danger. This situation leads to injury, car damage, and negatively affecting other people involved in the accident. As a pet parent, observing your dog who has a fun, energetic, fearless, and inquisitive personality is fun and makes you love your dog more. However, as an owner, you need to do what is best for your dog. This means keeping him safe, even if it is from himself. There are a variety of things you can do to prevent your dog from jumping out of the car.
Encouraging the Behavior
You never want to encourage your dog to jump out of the car, even if the car is safely parked in your driveway. Training your dog not to jump out of the car is essential to his well-being. Encouraging your dog to stay in the car and rewarding him with treats when he behaves well is recommended. Creating a safe environment in the car for your dog is beneficial and an excellent preventative measure. Make sure your car is clean and free from any small objects your dog can choke on during the ride. Use separation barriers to assure your dog doesn’t jump from the back seat to the front seat.
Training your dog to stay in one area, such as designating the back seat to him only, is helpful in this situation. Also, adding his favorite toys or blanket to ride along with him makes him feel safe and calm. Avoid rolling the windows down because it is too tempting for him. Once he smells delicious food from a nearby restaurant or any other interesting scent, he will be eager to jump. Try to capture your dog’s attention while riding in the car with classical music or try to talk to him in a low toned voice.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Investing in a doggie seatbelt or harness is beneficial in this situation. Make sure it’s comfortable and capable of securing your dog according to his weight and size. Using the doggie seatbelt in the middle area of the back seat helps keep your dog from getting too close to the windows. It also prevents him from running back and forth from one window to another. After taking precautions and attempting to train your dog not to jump out of the car you should see an improvement. If you don’t see any advancement in your dog’s behavior, it’s time to visit a professional trainer for further guidance.
If your dog turns into a bucking bull in the back seat after you have finished training him and taken safety measures, it is time to make a decision. You can choose to place him in a crate during car rides or avoid taking him in the car altogether. Your main focus is to prevent your dog from repeating this dangerous behavior and keep your dog, yourself and others safe.
By a Cocker Spaniel lover Shellie Sutera
Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/30/2020