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January 2021 / Issue 1


s g o d r o f y a w The safest s r a c in l e v a r t to




Dog trainer Susan Sanderson shares how she trains her puppy Augie to love the seatbelt and car.

Becca inspires through her commitment in helping Milo overcome car anxiety.

This simple item poses a huge danger to dogs - don't leave your dog alone in the car (or anywhere) with it.

p. 22

p. 28

p. 48



An interactive experience

, o g o l e h t e e s u o y When e g a g n e o t k c i l c


Training Your Puppy to Ride Certified

p. 28

Milo the Anxious CONFIDENT Car Cruiser

p. 48

A Sneaky Danger to Consider


The SEATBELT Philosophy

p. 13

What's Considered a Certified Seatbelt?

p. 17

4 Tips for an Awesome Car Ride

p. 19

Choosing the Right Seatbelt


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a s i p u g n i l Buck SNAP! S = Slide the seatbelt through N = Not under the legs A= Adjust P = Push it in

p. 21


SEATBELT TRAINING p. 22 Training Your Puppy to Ride Certified p. 27 Dog Training is a Paw-tnership

p. 28

Milo the Anxious Confident Car Cruiser

p. 33

Pawsitive Car Rides


Not Your Average Dog Walker

p. 38

Service Dogs Ride Certified

p. 41

Already Riding Certified? Here's How You Can Help

p. 44

Saving Dogs Through Education


A Sneaky Danger to Consider

p. 52

Luna Rides Certified - Dog of the Issue

p. 55

Luna's Top 5 Dog-Friendly Travel Destinations

p. 58

Your 3 Month SEATBELT Challenge


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n w o d g n i o g " t s u ? t "J e e r t s the

Over half of car crashes happen on back roads.

HEY DOG PEOPLE, A Note from the Dog Seatbelt Lady Does your dog ride certified? Meaning, do you buckle up your pup in a car safety restraint, whether that's a harness, crate or carrier, in a product that has been certified by the Center for Pet Safety? And if so, do you use it every single time you and your dog hop in the car? I'm obsessed with making sure that your dog is safe in the car, because I know what it's like to lose your 4legged best friend in a car crash. One ordinary day, a teenager lost control of his car and slammed into mine. My dog Piper was thrown into the back of my seat, broke her back and was paralyzed. She was never buckled up. I learned really quickly that a seatbelt saved my life, but my dog, my very best friend in the whole world, didn't have anything to protect her at all. The vets couldn't help her, and I had to say goodbye to her that night. Not knowing what to do with myself after the crash, I researched seatbelts for dogs to avoid facing my loss. What I quickly realized is that dog parents don't know about this stuff. It's not a conversation you have when bringing home a new dog. So, let's start it. Within these pages, I hope you'll find inspiration to buckle up your pup and spread the word. You love your dog and just want your dog to be happy. But, you also want your dog to be safe. You can have both! It all starts with "riding certified."


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-P. Suanpan

Dog Seatbelt Lady & Founder of Dogs Ride Certified



Read while jamming out to good tunes


The SEATBELT Philosophy If you're down with this, you're in the right place.

Set your intention E xpect safety first A lways do it Tell a friend Buckle up your pup E xplore new places L ive fully T ravel lots

3) Always do it. There's going to be times when you don't feel like buckling your dog in. There'll be times your dog doesn't want to be buckled in. Don't let the one time you didn't buckle up be the time you needed to. So, be consistent. That's how you'll build routine and expectation so it becomes habit for both of you. 4) Tell a friend. Don't keep this to yourself. Let your dog loving friends know what you're up to. You never know if that information...that simple action of sharing what your know will save a dog's life down the road. Go do good.

BELT 5) Buckle up your pup. Buckling up can be a piece of cake, but for others, it's trickier. Size, behavior, and car riding preference come into play. Don't let this prevent you from getting a seatbelt. or using it. Dogs Ride Certified can teach you the skills to give your dog a paw-sitive car riding experience. 6) Explore new places. Enrich your dog's brain. Give lots of opportunities to sniff and experience a variety of places. Hikes, lakes, and neighborhood walks are just the


tip of the iceberg. Try a new sport, go swimming, to the dog gym, walk around a

1) Set your intention. If you're going to buckle up your dog, you need to be all in. Don't let the seatbelt become just a dust collector on the shelf. Commit to keeping your 4legged bestie safe today. 2) Expect safety first. You never know when you're going to be in a crash, whether minor, major, or hopefully, none at all. We've all slammed on our brakes to come to a sudden stop before. Maybe even employed the "arm seatbelt" technique where you instinively put your arm out to protect your dog from sliding forward. No more. Now, you've got a seatbelt! RIDING CERTIFIED

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new city, eat out, drive thru, etc...the list goes on. 7) Live fully. Life is short. When you're faced with loss or illness, this cliche finds truth behind it. Be happy. Live well. Give you and your dog a life full of love and adventure. No regrets. 8) Travel lots. Trips to the vet should make up 1% of your travels. Go out. Have fun. See the world with your BFF.



s ' t a h w d e r e d consi d e i f i t r e c a ? t l e b seat


When Lindsey set out to find a safer

you want a seatbelt that passes one test but not

product for Maggie, she found out that


there were no safety standards or required testing for pet products...and so, Center for

Center for Pet Safety has a rigorous dog car safety

Pet Safety was born.

restraint certification program, with specific standards and criteria that must be met in order to pass. They've got your dog's safety at heart, because the founder, Lindsey Wolko, experienced what it was like using a restraint that wasn't top notch. One day Lindsey and her dog Maggie were driving on Virginia I-66 when a car cut in front of her and she had to slam on her brakes. Maggie was buckled up in what Lindsey thought was a good harness, with a tether attachment. Turns out, the product did nothing to protect Maggie. The tether wrapped around her back legs. She was thrown and hit the back of the front seat...and suffered injuries from the impact.


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There are currently only 5 brands (with specific products from each brand) which have passed Center for Pet Safety's crash testing to date: 1. Sleepypod (Sport and Terrain harnesses, and Air, Atom, Mobile and Mobile Mini carriers) 2. Gunner Kennel (small, medium, and intermediate sizes, with use of strength rated anchor straps) 3. Away (pet carrier) 4. Lucky Kennel (intermediate size with use of strength rated anchor straps) 5. ZuGoPet (the Rocketeer Pack) These products are the best of the best. As you can see, they're all different - from harness to carrier, to kennel to car seat. Since the definition of a seatbelt is a "a belt or strap securing a person (well in this case a dog) to prevent injury," and all of these products involve use of a strap, let's call these ALL dog seatbelts for simplicity purposes. Not just any dog seatbelt. CERTIFIED dog seatbelts.

To watch crash tests by Center for Pet Safety, click here.

To watch crash testing sponsored from Piper's Walk, a dog event by Dogs Ride Certified to raise awareness for dog seatbelt safety, click here.


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Don't put on the seatbelt and expect to go

If you've got a wiggle worm, give your

for an 8-hour trip on the first day! Listen to

dog something to do in the car. This can

your dog. Start with short trips, and build

be a frozen Tux, a bone, some sort of

up to longer rides. Plan for about 2 weeks

chewy, or treats in a snufflemat. A busy

of transition time.

dog is a good dog.



Be boring and predictable. Same door,

If you only go to the vet and your dog

same seat, treat at the end, etc. This

hates the vet, then the car isn't very fun.

creates consistency which helps your dog

In this sense, be unpredictable! Take

know what to expect. No more wrestling

your dog to places he/she enjoys so the

your dog to sit in the right position to get

car becomes a really great space to be.

buckled in!


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Did you know? The safest place for your dog to sit is in the back seat diagonal from the driver, or the very last row of the SUV.

Choosing the Right Seatbelt for Your Dog


Okay, now that you know what the certified brands are, where do you start? First, consider your dog's size. That will narrow down your choices. Then, consider you and your dog's lifestyle. Is it important for your dog to see out the window? Does your dog prefer to lay down? Do you have room for a kennel, or do you need something more versatile? Let's break this down by key lifestyle features to give you a better idea of what's best for your pup. P.S. Puppies need to be buckled up too! Crashes can happen anytime, and you want to teach your pup the right riding habits from the start.


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FOR GREATEST MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY You'll need a carrier. Sleepypod offers 4


styles and sizes up to 17 lbs. You can

Sleepypod harness are the way to go, for

choose based on your dog's weight, body

dogs approximately 17-110 lbs. You'll have

type, and how your pup likes to lay down.

to measure your dog's girth for proper fit

The bedding inside is soft and cozy (they

and sizing. Dogs in Sleepypod harnesses

should make a blanket for humans out of

can sit up, stand up, lay down, turn left

this material). Away also offers a carrier up

and turn right. And yes, they can see out

to 18 lbs.

the window!

FOR DOGS WHO ARE ESCAPE ARTISTS If your dog is an escape artist, go with a


kennel. Gunner Kennel covers a range of

The ZuGoPet Rocketeer Pack is a nifty

dogs up to 75lbs. Lucky Kennel only has

option. It's considered a harness, but acts

one intermediate size. You'll need a car

like a car seat for your dog. You'll need a

that's big enough to hold the kennel, and

headrest and to utilize the child safety

use the strength rated anchor straps.

restraint anchors. It also detaches from

Made to stay put.

the car so you can carry your dog on your

To learn more, visit www.dogsridecertified. com or schedule a free virtual consult!


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body, backpack style. Great for little dogs who get tired on hikes.


QUICK TIP! Remember this acronym when buckling up your pup in a Sleepypod harness.

a s i p u g n i l k c u B SNAP!

S = Slide the seatbelt through N = Not under the legs A= Adjust P = Push it in




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If you've got a puppy, this thought has most likely already made its way to your mind: "I don't want to buy something my puppy will outgrow." Makes sense. But what if you're in a car crash? What if you come to a sudden stop and your little guy goes flying forward? What if you're distracted by your puppy bouncing around from seat to seat and YOU cause a crash? Puppies need to be buckled up from the start. Safety being the obvious reason, but also because this is when habits form. This is the time for your puppy to learn how to ride in the car, all buckled up. Waiting until your dog is grown up means having to undo what's been practiced for all the beginning months of life. That means more work for you! You're not the only one who struggles with the idea of dishing out money on a seatbelt harness to wear for just a few months. Dog trainer Susan Sanderson went through the same thing when she got her puppy, Augie.

"At first I thought getting him a harness he’d outgrow was not smart — but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really didn’t want him running loose in the car, and that would not help him feel safe and secure."


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As a dog trainer, Susan also knew that there would be training involved in the buckling up process. After all, this was a brand new


experience for Augie! Susan demonstrates how to do this in the video

Nowadays, Susan has a puppy who's wiggly-

below. Augie sits on top of a platform. This

happy the moment the harness makes an

helps Susan close the gap between her and

appearance, and he's ready for a ride. You don't have to be a dog trainer to do this. Check out these easy activities, and you'll have a wiggly-happy car riding pup too!

Augie - the lean over can be kinda scary! Plus, it's better for your back. Notice how she starts by giving treats right off the bat instead of going straight to putting the harness on.


Susan breaks down the steps and goes slowly.


calmly praises Augie every step of the way.

Place the harness on the ground, with treats

One paw in, treat. Another paw in, treat. She

When he starts to chew on the harness, she simply drops some treats down to keep him

and kibble tossed on and around it. Have

busy. If he's eating a treat, he can't chew the

your dog climb around the harness and

harness at the same time.

begin to associate good things with it.

Click here to watch Susan training Augie to put on the Sleepypod Sport harness.


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When the harness is on, he gets a jackpot of yummy treats - ending the way it started.


GETTING INTO THE CAR Susan and Augie are experimenting with setting up some stools and ramps at the car door. He's too small to jump into the car, but Susan wants Augie to feel like he's got control over being able to get into the car versus always being lifted in the car and out of it. Be aware - It’s not great for a puppy's young growing joints to jump out of the car, so be sure to use some sort of platform if you want to teach your dog to get out of the car independently.

RIDING CERTIFIED Augie always gets some treats to nibble once he’s buckled up in the car. Susan recommends practicing getting your puppy super comfortable with the car by creating happy associations with it. Don't be in a rush to go for an actual trip. Start by turning on the engine, maybe going in and out of the driveway, parking space, then begin taking short trips.


Susan makes sure that vet visits are only a tiny percentage of places he rides to, so he doesn’t associate the car with only that! Be sure to explore different places - parks, hikes, classes, and do all the fun socialization stuff that comes with having a pup.


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"The car needs to be the party bus!" WANT TO WORK WITH SUSAN? Susan teaches online classes at Your Dog's Friend, and sees clients privately as well. She loves to teach people how to communicate with their dogs effectively through fun! She embodies a strategy called "free work," which helps dogs become confident about the world around them.


g n i t u O n u F a e d I

Take your dog swimming! It's the perfect Winter activity for an active pup who's got energy to burn. When looking for a swim center, choose a place that will teach your dog to swim - not all dogs are natural swimmers. For some, it's an acquired taste! The instructor should put your dog in a life jacket to start, and give guidance around the pool whether that's with a long lead or even swimming along in the pool beside your dog. Once your dog gains confidence, off goes the jacket and the real fun begins!


Dog Training is a Paw-tnership For best success, a great relationship and stress-free training, you and your dog need

2) Build positivity & give

to work together. This means listening to

an alternate task.

each other through body language,

Work through the list of triggers, starting

respecting fears and anxieties, and making

with the first one. How can you create

a deal to bring your best selves to the

positive associations with this trigger?


What can you give your dog to do instead, that won't allow the behavior to occur?

You've got to build a paw-tnership! If

This is a double whammy - make sure you

you've got an anxious car rider (or are

do both steps.

dealing with any other behavior), here's 3 pillars to tackling the issue.

1) Study the behavior.

3) Seal the deal. Time to build trust. Play with your dog. Do enrichment games. Learn new skills.

Behavior is communication. Take some

Cuddle. Laugh. Enjoy each other's

time to really observe your dog. Does your

company. The stronger your relationship,

dog approach the car? What part of the

the more trust that forms. This gives

process is scariest? Is it getting buckled up?

momentum to your training and lets your

The drive? The turn of the engine? Note

dog know that you've got his/her back.

the triggers and how your dog reacts. That's it! Stick to this foundation and you're set up for success. RIDING CERTIFIED

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MILO The anxious CONFIDENT car cruiser & HIS MOM'S COMMITMENT TO EASE HIS FEARS When you adopt a dog, you never really know what your dog went through before you. All you know is that you want to give your dog a safe, loving home and a great life. That's all Becca wanted for her dog, Milo, who quickly realized that he had found his forever home with her. They built a strong connection right off the bat! But sweet Milo came with anxiety rooted so deep that Becca knew she had her work cut out for her. One of the biggest struggles was the car ride. Becca wanted Milo to embrace the riding certified lifestyle. Buckled up for safety, and off to explore the world, one hike, one shopping center, one park at a time. In order to do that, she had to pick Milo up to get him into the car, but it was a struggle to even get Milo to the car! He would sit down several feet away. Once in the car, Milo froze like a statue in terror of the pending ride, so getting him in the proper position to be buckled up was a whole other process. Then, the anxious panting and crying would begin. And intensify for the entire ride until they arrived to the destination. For many people, this might mean the end of car rides as you know it. Imagine the stress! But Becca was determined to turn this around. Here's how. . .


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s ' e "H t s e b e th " . y bo


almost every day as she watched Milo's car confidence bloom. In just 2 weeks, Milo jumped into the car for the first time!

When Dogs Ride Certified released the Anxious to Confident Car Rider series, Becca jumped on this. She was ready to try anything to help ease Milo's car anxiety and her stress around it. The series consists of 5 games, each centered around a specific process of the car ride: Approaching the car Getting in the car Hanging out in the car Going for a drive Getting out of the car When filling in the Car Skills Checklist, Milo could not perform a single task without anxiety. He had to start from the very beginning, game #1 which focuses on making the space around the car super exciting. "Hot Lava" changed his world. Maybe you played this game as a kid - where you pretend the ground is hot lava and run as fast as you can to the pretend islands? Becca and Milo played variations of "Hot Lava" RIDING CERTIFIED

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SOLIDIFYING THE SKILLS Today, Milo jumps into the car on his own. The anxious panting has decreased and car rides are actually enjoyable. He's still got work to do, because he works on "Milo Time." The importance piece is to stay consistent until the skill is completely set in stone. The skill is no longer an "I think I can do it" activity, but becomes automatic - a habit. Becca says,

"some days are better than others, but car trips are so much less stressful now!" JANUARY 2021

Q&A with Becca on Training Your Anxious Dog What was your favorite part of car training? "I truly believe that through all of the time spent between the two of us, we were able to gain confidence and trust with one another. Milo and I have gotten so much closer with all of the training we have done together! He's a huge part of my life and having this hurdle almost conquered has changed our lives. We still have more training to do but he's now a completely different pup with the car."

What was the worst part of car training? "The worst part about this whole journey was the not knowing and the feelings that came with that. The not knowing if he ever really would get into the car. For a long time, I thought he would not ever be able to have a peaceful car ride or especially not be able to jump into the car on his own."

What would you tell other dog parents with anxious car riders? "Do not give up on your training and especially do not give up on your dog. If Milo was capable of overcoming his anxiety and fear of the car I believe it is possible for your pup too. I know some days you’ll want to give up and just deal with it how it already is, but life for the both of you will be so much less stressful in the long run. I believe you just need patience, incredible treats, positivity, continuity, positive reinforcement, and love."


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HOT LAVA Want a peek at "Hot Lava? Check it out here.


Pawsitive Car Rides Are you tired of hearing your dog cry, whine,

That's where Pawsitive Car Rides comes in.

bark, and puke in the car?

It's a 10 week program, where severely anxious car riders transform into

Does it stress you out, break your heart? Do

confident, comfortable passengers.

you wish you could help your dog with the anxiety, but aren't sure how? Imagine being able to walk your dog to the car and hop in with ease. You buckle up, and off you go. Your dog is actually relaxed in the car. Maybe even happy! You never thought this day would come. But, it did. Sounds like bliss, right? RIDING CERTIFIED

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Your stress is gone, your dog's dread is lifted, and you have the freedom to travel anywhere you choose. Adventure galore!

This isn't for everyone though. It'll only work if you do the work. Consistency is key, and this program is here to support you in your car training journey.


THE DETAILS Enrollment is open now through February 28, 2021. When you sign up, you get the Anxious to Confident Car Rider video series of 5 car training games, and a 1 on 1 consultation to roll out a

Pretty soon, you'll be sending text messages like these:

roadmap - a plan for success, specific to your dog. Things to get you started and excited for the program to begin. Pawsitive Car Rides runs from March 8, 2021 to May 30, 2021. You'll get a weekly 45 minute coaching call to review progress and learn next steps.

After understanding the power of the "keep your dog busy" strategy for unavoidable trips:

On Sundays, there's a 45 minute group class, where everyone works on car games that boosts their dog's confidence. It's also a place to connect with other dog parents going through similar struggles. Sometimes dog training a severely anxious dog can leave you feeling like you live on an island! Not in Pawsitive Car Rides. You've got a

And when a breakthrough happens:

community of support. The program is 100% virtual, so you can join from anywhere!

For additional details and to sign up, click here. Your Pawsitive Car Ride awaits!


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. . . n o i s i v My

l l i w s g o d l l a , One day d e l k c u b y l e f a s ride d e i f i t r e c a n i p u e s u a c e b t l e b t sea . y l i m a f e r ' y e h t ? e m h t i w u o y Are

-P. Suanpan, The Dog Seatbelt Lady Dogs Ride Certified


Not your average dog walker You're selective about your dog walker. After all, this person is coming into your home to take care of your 4-legged BFF. Your love bug. You don't want someone who's got the leash in one hand and the phone in the other. But someone who will love on your dog and care, just like you do.

Meet Kim Robinson, owner of It's Not Just a Walk. Kim used to work for a dog walking company that was focused on just getting the dogs out to do its business. While that's necessary, she saw that these dogs weren't getting any enrichment. So, she started setting up doggie playdates. Fast forward to current times, and while she does walk dogs, her focus is on social enrichment - matching dogs up around the neighborhood to play!


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Sounds fun, right?

Future steps for Kim include hosting a neighborhood seatbelt clinic with Dogs Ride

Not only that, but Kim takes pride in being a

Certified, where dogs can get fitted for their

trusted resource of information for her clients.

certified seatbelt. She even keeps a seatbelt

She connects them with trainers, organizations,

in her car so clients can try it out before

websites, vets, behaviorists, and other dog

buying one.

parents. Kim shares, The moment Kim learned about certified seatbelts, her dog Lizzie was in one shortly

"My personal goal is to educate more people

afterwards. She had previously used a tether - a

in my neighborhood about the need to

simple buckle that attached the harness to the

buckle up their pets.

seatbelt receiver. They buckle up their human kids; so why not Tethers are dangerous. Center for Pet Safety has

their canine ones?

an advisory out against them. Unfortunately, tethers are everywhere. They're easy to use but have the potential to cause more harm than good. Kim has created a connected dog community within her neighborhood. She safely buckles up her clients' dogs as they head over to playdates, and recommends certified seatbelts to all her clients.

I hope that one day seatbelts for pets will be required by law."

The dogs in her neighborhood can't ride

She's spreading the riding certified dream!

unbuckled if Kim's around - because she'll lend

The dogs in her neighbor are sure lucky to

her seatbelt out to ensure that the dogs are safe!

have her.


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SERVICE DOGS RIDE CERTIFIED Do you ever find yourself sitting down to work, but ending up on Facebook instead? Or gone to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, only to leave with everything but the milk? We all get distracted. When you're a dog, the world itself can be a distraction. Squirrels, cars, people, other dogs, invisible smells, food on the ground, etc. How's a dog to concentrate? For service dogs, it's their job to focus. To focus on helping their human live an independent life. To allow themselves to get distracted means putting their human at risk. Which means service dogs work really hard. The training they go through is incredible! At Fidos for Freedom, service dogs are family. This organization trains puppies into service dogs, hearing dogs, and therapy dogs, then matches them to individuals with disabilities so they can thrive! With a little doggie help, many people with disabilities can live an independent life. Cara Gregg is both the Director for Outreach for Fidos for Freedom and a member with a service dog, Tank, who's now retired. Caesar was supposed to be her next match, but he's now exited the program due to a medical condition. Thanks to Cara, Caesar is entering his new forever home already trained to ride in the car buckled up in a certified seatbelt. She's gotten several other service dogs riding certified too. Here's the scoop.


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Cara first heard about certified seatbelts at a workshop, and realized that the seatbelt she had for Caesar wasn't safe. She decided right away to not only get him into the safest gear, but to share the information with her community at Fidos for Freedom as well. She set up webinars with Dogs Ride Certified so Fidos for Freedom could learn and take a deep drive into the topic, resulting in other service dogs also making the switch to safety. When asked why riding certified is important to Fidos, Cara says:

"It's important for our service dogs to ride certified. We want them to be safe when we travel. Service dogs do so much for those of us who are partnered with them. They are almost always with us. We want to keep them safe, not just so they can help us, but because we owe it to them for all the hard work they do for us." Fidos for Freedom is getting a few more puppies coming in February 2021, and they're going to be riding certified from the start. Thanks to generous members of the Dogs Ride Certified community, enough funds were raised to purchase certified seatbelts for the newbies. Fidos For Freedom is working to become one of the first organizations to buckle up their service dogs in certified seatbelts. Because Fidos' dogs - well they ride certified.


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Ready to buckle up your pup?

Make your purchase from a place that ONLY sells certified and won't confuse you with noncertified brands.

That's Dogs Ride Certified.

Get yo ur seatbel t here!


Already riding certified? Here's how you can help. How many dogs live in the United States? Um. A lot. How many of them ride buckled up in a certified seatbelt? Not enough. For the dogs that do ride certified, it's because their caretaker - whether it's their family, rescue, or breeder, heard about certified seatbelts, and felt it was important. The key here is education. Think back. How did you hear about certified seatbelts? Now that you buckle up your

What if that person, company, organization, website, etc. never

dog, can you imagine going

existed to get the information to you?

anywhere without the seatbelt now?


Here's your chance to be that resource for someone else.

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10 ways to raise awareness for dog seatbelt safety 1) Tell a friend about your dog's certified seatbelt, how important it is to buckle up, and where to get it (at Dogs Ride Certified). 2) Tell the rescue you adopted your dog from and encourage them to share the info with other adopters. 3) Tell the breeder you got your dog from and encourage him to share the info with other new puppy parents. 4) Gather your dog loving friends for a seatbelt clinic and contact Dogs Ride Certified to come fit the dogs. 5) Gather your co-workers to attend a webinar about dog seatbelt safety and contact Dogs Ride Certified to present the info. 6) Be sure your dog wears the certified seatbelt out and about. Your dog is starting a new trend.

7) If you see someone about to purchase a non-certified seatbelt, stop them and share certified seatbelt info. You might save their dog's life. Help a dog parent out! 8) Take a screenshot of your favorite article in this magazine and share it on social media. If you're not on social media, send it as a text to a friend. 9) If you own a business or organization, contact Dogs Ride Certified to host a webinar for your people, staff and clients. Bet lots of them have dogs too. 10) Create a social media account for your dog. Post pictures of your buckled up dog and use the hashtag #ridingcertified. Share your adventures! You can help change the image of what a buckled up dog looks like, and how a dog should travel in the car.

Together, we can keep dogs safe! | Â 42

g n i t u O n u F a e d I Go for a drive. Look up a scenic road, and go for it. If you like to plan, set an end destination, but don't be in a rush to get there. Follow the road signs to whatever calls to you. Stop everywhere you want along the way, get out and explore. Discover the freedom of the open road.



If you've been to a seatbelt clinic by Dogs Ride Certified, you can thank Your Dog's Friend. If you learned about certified seatbelts at a Your Dog's Friend webinar, you can thank founder Debra Ekman for making that happen. Your Dog's Friend is the place to go for all your dog information, even seatbelt safety. It's because of their commitment to a dog's whole health and well-being, that you'll likely hear about getting your dog buckled up if you take a class there or get their informative newsletters. They've been advocating for certified seatbelts from day one. Their mission is to keep dogs out of shelters by providing education to their humans. Some might know Your Dog's Friend as a training center, but they are so much more.


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In addition to their positive training classes, you'll find free adopter's workshops, webinars on all sorts of dog behavior and wellness topics, and can get connected to any resource you need, anytime. Piper, the dog who inspired the Riding Certified movement, went to classes at Your Dog's Friend. She had just passed her Canine Good Citizen test and was enjoying "It's All Fun and Games" when the crash happened. Since receiving the news of the car crash and learning about certified seatbelts, Debra has been spreading the word about dog seatbelt safety to her organization. She believes in the power of education and has played an important role in changing the way dogs travel in cars. Debra connects people with Dogs Ride Certified, and then the dogs get buckled up.

changing. Stories from clients of Your Dog's Friend and Dogs Ride Certified tell it all. One little dog was in a car accident merely months after getting his seatbelt. If it weren't for Your Dog's Friend making the connection, the little guy most likely would have been thrown into the dashboard. Another dog was traveling in a non-certified carrier when the car came to a sudden stop. The dog was thrown from the carrier, and dad was concerned. Your Dog's Friend made the connection, and now that dog rides in a certified seatbelt, prepared for the next sudden stop. This incredible organization is refreshing,

Debra says,

"Seatbelt safety is one more way to keep dogs safe, like animal protection laws and vaccinations. It's important that people be educated about the certified seatbelts and why they're important."


This one simple act of connection - it's life

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collaborative, and has got your dog's best interest at heart. Dog parents are going the change the way dogs travel in cars, and Your Dog's Friend works like fuel to make it happen. Thanks, Your Dog's Friend, for keeping dogs safe in the car, and helping to get them riding certified!


r u o Y e r s ' o l d Exp Frien 's g , o s D e s s , a l s c p o h s k r o nd w a s r a in . b s e e w c r u o s e r

Watc h the webin a r on dog seatb elt safe ty

3 Common Mistakes Dog parents make when it comes to dog seatbelt safety

1) You don't buckle up your dog. 2) You buckle up your dog but not with a certified seatbelt. 3) You buckle up your dog with a certified seatbelt, but you don't do it consistently.


A Sneaky Danger to Consider Before Hitting the Road

It's best practice not to leave your dog alone in

Or, you might very well have a rowdy one

the car. An unsupervised dog can find a whole

who will chew on everything in sight. If

lot to get into! But the reality of life is, it

you've got an anxious or reactive pup, you


can bet your trip into the store is gonna be quick.

Maybe you're just dropping by the grocery store for a loaf of bread. Or you're running inside the

If your dog is buckled up, great. Being

restaurant to pick up take out for dinner. Or

safely secured in one location of the car is

you're at a rest area and you've GOT to take a

important. However, even if your dog is in

potty break.

a certified harness, your dog can still move around. And Houdini dogs - are very good

Sometimes, your dog just has to wait in the car.

at unbuckling themselves if the opportunity arises.

Now you might have the most well behaved dog in the world, and no way would your dog

That's why it's extremely important to

ever get into stuff while you were gone.

place any bags, especially mylar bags, completely out of reach. Or better yet, take them out of the car.


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Why, you ask? Because dogs can suffocate in a food bag in just 2-4 minutes. Yes, pet suffocation is a thing, but you can easily prevent it.

Meet Bonnie & Blue On December 15, 2011, Bonnie Harlan had gone out to run holiday errands. Christmas was just 10 days away. When she got back home just 45 minutes later, her dog Blue didn't greet her at the door. She called for Blue and couldn't find him anywhere. When she finally found Blue, he had a Frito Lay Cheetos bag over his head and wasn't breathing. Bonnie frantically performed CPR and was immediately on the phone with her vet.

But it was too late. Blue had suffocated, and passed. He was only 4 years old. Bonnie's life was forever changed from this moment forward. She was devastated and shocked at the loss. Bonnie founded Prevent Pet Suffocation to educate pet parents about the danger of chip bags and other food packaging. She never knew that something so simple as a little chip bag could be so dangerous, and has dedicated her heart to preventing this from happening to others. She hears 3-4 stories a week about yet another dog lost in this tragic manner. . . so it's important to learn how to prevent it, and share the info with everyone around you. This can happen anywhere - home, yard, or car. Basically anywhere a food bag is!


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In the Car: The easiest thing to do is to take all the snack bags and lock them in the trunk before you leave your dog alone. If they're empty, cut up the bag before placing it in the trash. Keep scissors in the glove compartment for this reason. Cutting up the bag prevents suffocation in case your dog was ever to get into it by accident. It also protects wildlife from suffocation as the bag makes its way to the landfill. If you like to eat in the car, get a trash bag that has a secure top. Keep the trash bag up front, not on the headrest of the passenger seat. Remember, you want the bag to be out of reach.

Next steps:

Tell all your passengers to do a bag check before

Set your car up for everyday rides. Get a

exiting the car, especially if you've got children riding in the back with your dog. Everyone's snack bag is fair game for a dog, so it's important that everyone is aware. Of course the best thing is not to leave your dog alone in the car! So these tips are for IF you happen to find yourself needing to leave your dog alone for just a minute.


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secure trash bag for the car and dedicated car scissors. If you're going on a road trip, plan ahead. Put snacks in plastic containers and don't even bring food bags into the car. And when you get back home, don't forget to apply all these same principles there too!




Luna was 8 weeks old when she found her forever home with Gudjon and Lauren. Her new parents already had "seatbelt" on the to-do list, and knew they wanted their dog to go on many adventures with them. Luna started off riding in a pop up travel crate. But when Lauren learned about certified seatbelts, she wanted Luna to be as safe as possible. Luna was riding in a Sleepypod harness not long afterwards, from puppy to grown up dog.


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But car riding wasn't always easy. Getting Luna to sit still in order to get her buckled up was sometimes challenging. Lauren recalls: "There were definitely days when she was squirming around and I couldn't get her buckled and I had to start over several times. I wanted to give up and just let her loose in the car, I came so close so many times!

I think one time I actually gave up, got in the driver's seat, but when I buckled myself in, I paused. I took a deep breath and realized that I wouldn't ride without a seatbelt and neither should she so I got out of my seat and tried again." Thanks to Lauren's perseverance, grown up Luna is now a pro. She jumps in the car and positions herself correctly to get buckled up, smart girl!

Recently, Luna's been sharing the back seat with new friends. Lauren and Gudjon have become foster dog parents! They got a second Sleepypod harness and buckle their foster dogs in too. Lauren shares:

Obviously, the foster isn't our dog, but it is kind of like dog sitting. I thought to myself if I would ever drive 45 min with another person's child or dog in my car unbuckled. I knew I could never."


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OUT FOR ADVENTURE Luna and her friends get to live the riding certified life. There's the obvious stuff, like the dog park, vet, and pet store. But lucky 1 year old Luna has also gone camping, enjoyed 2 weekend getaways, lots of hikes at MD state parks, and outdoor dining. Her parents pick places to go based on whether or not she can come.

The seatbelt has been helpful in sudden stops, and but there's logistical reasons too. With contactless pick up these days, Luna gets to say hello to new people yet remain snug in her seat. It also prevents her from bounding out the door when arriving at a really cool destination. Luna's landed in a family committed to giving her a life full of new experiences and excitement. Happy riding certified, Luna! RIDING CERTIFIED

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Luna's Top 5 Dog-Friendly Places to Visit


(In Maryland & the surrounding area)

*Winter might be the perfect time to visit these places = less crowds! 1) Tilghman Island along with a town nearby, St. Michaels: Super dog friendly. A lot of the shops even allow dogs, and they can go in the canoes.

2) Big Meadows Lodge - Shenandoah National Park: Beautiful place, pet-friendly rooms, some even have private balconies. Good hikes, and generally dog-friendly people.


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3) Calvert Cliffs State Park: Good intro hike for dogs, mostly boardwalk to a beach, 2-3 miles round trip. Can get a little crowded so may not be great with a dog who gets overwhelmed with people. Nearby Solomons Island has several dog-friendly seafood restaurants.

4) Doc Water's Cidery: Giant field with campfires and picnic tables. You can easily walk your dog away from people if needed. Bring your own food, but cider is for sale there. Super great for socializing a dog

Click on the logos next to each item to explore the

around people eating.


5) Founding Farmers: (Save this for when it

Have a dog-

gets a little warmer...) A dinner outside with your dog still feels like a fancy date night. They bring you a water dish and you can order food for your dog. The seating is private enough that your pup isn't super distracted by people walking by. There's plenty of space for them to lay down.

friendly destination to share? Send it on over!

Coming Spring 2021 The Canine Car Caboodle


Your 3 Month SEATBELT Challenge

It's time to put the SEATBELT philosophy into action. S = set your intention E = expect safety first A = always do it T = tell a friend B = buckle up your pup E = explore new places L = live fully T = travel lots

Riding certified is a lifestyle. A change in the way dogs travel in cars. A movement we're creating. One day, the vision WILL come true, where all dogs ride buckled up in a certified seatbelt. Stories of dogs lost, injured, or killed in car crashes will drastically reduce. Dogs are safe because they are loved. They are family. In the next 3 months (and beyond!), live the SEATBELT philosophy. Create a social media account for your dog. It can be Facebook or Instagram, or both. Post your riding certified adventures. Write an article on what you've learned from living the riding certified way of life, and send it to P.Suanpan, The Dog Seatbelt Lady for review. The top 3 will be featured in the next issue (May 2021), and readers will vote on a winner for a free ticket to the Piper's Walk dog festival and virtual dog safety conference in June! RIDING CERTIFIED

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READY TO GET STARTED? HERE'S THE STEPS: 1) Create your first post introducing the SEATBELT Philosophy and what you and your pup are up to. Tag @dogsridecertified on Facebook or @dogseatbeltlady on Instagram. This is your entry into the challenge! 2). Between January 3, 2021 to April 3, 2021, post your adventures with your pup. Use the hashtags #ridingcertified and #seatbeltphilosophy. 3) Write a 1-2 page article about your adventures, what you learned living the SEATBELT philosophy. Include pictures. It's open ended - you set the structure! Email it to info@dogsridecertified.com by April 11 for the opportunity to be featured in the 2nd issue of Riding Certified magazine. 4) Check the magazine when it comes out on May 2, 2021 to see if you've made the top 3! Then vote for your favorite. The winner will be announced on May 12, 2021. Top prize is a free ticket to the Piper's Walk dog festival to raise awareness for dog seatbelt safety as well as a seat at the virtual dog safety conference (new this year). The events are happening on June 26, 2021. 6) Continue riding certified and embracing the SEATBELT philosophy with your dog. Can't wait to hear all about your stories!

Follow us on social!


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STAY IN TOUCH. I hope you enjoyed this issue of Riding Certified! If you're not already receiving emails, click above to get on the list.

Plus, I'd love to hear from you! Feedback, comments and questions are welcome. info@dogsridecertified.com 301-337-1039 Until then, ride certified! Love, P



Visit www.dogsridecertified.com. Call/text 301-337-1039 or email info@dogsridecertified.com. Closed Saturdays.

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Riding Certified  

Does your dog ride certified? Learn about dog seatbelt safety, get car training tips, meet people and organizations that advocate for certi...

Riding Certified  

Does your dog ride certified? Learn about dog seatbelt safety, get car training tips, meet people and organizations that advocate for certi...

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