Restraining dogs

Dog Harness AC565F Designer Pet Harness My Sweet BowWith recent dog attacks back in the local news, it is imperative to understand that dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs’ behaviour in public. If you need help with dog training, you should contact a dog trainer.

A dog is considered ‘under control’ if it is on a lead held by someone able to control the dog. For example, a large dog would not be under control if its lead was held by a child who would be unable to restrain the dog if it strained against the lead.

The NSW companion animal act has the following law in place in regards to restraint in public – heavy penalties apply, if not carried out:

  • If your dog is in a public place it must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash. The exceptions to this are: dogs exhibited at a show or engaging in obedience or agility trials or a dog secured in a cage or vehicle or in an approved off-leash area
  • It always pays to be over cautious, rather than be too relaxed when out in public, visiting friends or coming to the vet, as even the friendliest dog under a change of circumstances could suddenly attack.

When travelling in the car or ute

Do I need to restrain my dog in the car? The answer to this question depends on your location and requires a mostly common sense response. Throughout Australia the laws surrounding dog restraint when travelling in or on the back of a car vary from state to state. In New South Wales all dogs must be restrained and there are heavy fines and loss of demerit points for not complying.

We feel there are three critical safety benefits of using pet restraints.
1. Window and ute safety – your pet will not be tempted to jump from a window or the back of a ute, nor will he/she be at risk of falling out of an open window or back of a ute as a result of sudden directional changes or braking.
2. Driver distraction – there is less chance of the driver being distracted if a pet is unable to move around the vehicle.
3. Collision protection – if you suddenly brake or have a sudden impact there is less chance of your dog becoming a projectile.

It is difficult to recommend the perfect restraint when travelling due to the lack of formal car and pet safety testing in Australia. There can also be concerns about possible injury from tethering, harnessing and
crating when involved in a sudden impact. With this in mind below are widely available restraint options, although you should take into consideration the type of car you drive and the size and shape of your dog:

  • Harness – Swivel style attachment systems which anchor to the existing seatbelt and attach to a dog harness. To be effective, it is essential for the harness to be correctly fitted and for the anchor to be secure.
  • Pet transport crates – For complete safety, crates must be secured to your vehicle and be big enough for
    a pet to stand up, lie down and turn around as per RSPCA guidelines.
  • Cargo barriers – Ideal for station wagons and four wheel drives. They can be purchased to suit your make and model of vehicle or you can purchase adjustable barriers which are easily installed and removed.
  • If your cargo area is large consider the use of a harness as well.