Dog trains man

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Traveling Safe with Gates instead of Crates

Viva desensitizing her Gate
When you - like us - cannot travel with your dogs in crates because your dogs are too big or your car too small, you are going to love this product. A doggie gate. The gate has two separate doors. As if we didn’t re-model the car enough last time. But we felt this was really missing.

The separate doors allow us to get them safe in and out the car, one by one. No more risk of being floored by two stampeding Hovawarts wanting to leave as soon as the hatch opens - which actually did happen once, to the amusement of the travelers on the road stop place and some scratches and bruises for me and my wife.

Another advantage is when we park the car in the shadow in mildly warm weather we can still leave the dogs in the car with the hatch open. The doors can be locked with a key.

Inside look, how it was before
The seatbelt system inside their area did not work very well and they would either get entangled or felt restrained. Not restraining them would give the risk they could walk out in traffic in case of an accident. The gate solves this. Without the seat belts they now move as freely as possible.

The doors are universal and fit in most cars. You can easy assemble it yourself – which I did. We got the "Variogate", manufactured by the Swedish company "mim". As I wanted to see the product before I bought it we made a trip to Sweden to have a look although you can buy it on the web.

When we landed in Sweden our first address left us empty handed – despite calling them upfront and asking "do you really have it on stock? So we can SEE the product?". Luckily the salesmen at the third store helped us and called around to other competing (!) stores until he found one that did actually had one on stock. Swedish people are so nice and helpful !

Hatch open! Cooling down on the ferry
We had a great trip to Holland with our new gate. Especially Viva loved it. When we made stops she could quickly make a pit-stop and went back into her "crate". From there she safely observed the rest of us, while I was exploring the place more with Kenzo. Which made him happy as well.

With warm weather it is difficult to keep them cool on the ferry from Denmark to Germany. We are not allowed to walk on the car deck, but I can also not take two huge dogs into the public area as it is overcrowded with people. This time I just left the hatch open and returned to two very cool dogs, see the picture above.


  1. What a fantastic product! They both look quite content in their gated spaces and you know they are completely safe. We still don't have a great restraint system for Shiva while travelling. We can't fit her large crate in the truck and I am reluctant to use a harness for long trips. She likes to curl up and sleep in the back seat and most harnesses won't allow her to do this. I know we need something but it's hard to find products that take safety AND comfort into account.

  2. I'm also happy that you posted about this! I've never seen or heard about anything like this before. We've never crated Elka, so doing so in the car would only add to her long trip carsickness/anxiety (she drools and throws up, all very quietly and miserably). I haven't found a harness locally that will fit a Doberman, and thought that a seatbelt harness was my way to go (she doesn't move around much in the car).

    The gate looks amazing, though!

  3. What a clever idea. It looks like the bars are adjustable for the size and shape of the opening.

    I've never seen anything quite like this before.

  4. @Kristine
    It is difficult. All sizes - car, crate, dog - should match and we don't buy them in a combined package :) It also took us a year to come with this final solution after many hours of browsing the net to see what products are out there. I am sure you will find something too that will fit yours and Shiva's needs.

    It is difficult to find the right harness. When we only had Kenzo he was also in a seatbelt harness on the back seat which worked very well. But that doesn't work anymore now we have two Hovawarts in the back of the car, as the attachment for the seatbelt is on the bottom.

    Yes the bars are adjustable in height. Also the sides are. And the gate doors can be adjusted in their angle. It should be able to fit in most cars with a hatch (even some SUVs). It also amazed me this product came from Sweden, usually everything new for pets and travel comes from the US.

  5. I absolutely *love* this crating system. Too bad I have a truck and not an SUV. I would totally buy this for the dogs!

  6. Those Swedish engineers have come up with a great product here. And, I absolutely love the way you guys have remodeled your car. Buster and Ty are perfectly happy in their harnesses, but each dog is different and we have to find a way to keep them safe that works for them. You are the most dedicated dog owners to that end that I've ever (electronically) met.

  7. @Karen
    Haha, if I would have a bigger car it would have been much easier as well :)

    Absolutely, the harness also worked for Kenzo when he had more space.

    Thanks for everything Amy, you and Rod deserve all the credit in this one. It was you guys that made me aware traveling safe with your pets is important. The guest blog you wrote for Edie sparked all of this :)

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