Driving a truck can be lonely. One solution many drivers have found is to have a dog travel with them. Not only does the dog provide companionship for the driver but it also provides a sense of security. Many trucking companies, with more added each day, will allow drivers to have a dog with them while on the road as long as the driver accepts responsibility for the dog as well as any damage the dog may cause. Before grabbing Fido and heading out on the open road, drivers should think about a few key considerations as well as plan for the best ways to care for the dog while on the road.
Selecting the right breed – The best dog to have as a travelling companion in a rig is a small to medium sized, short haired dog that isn’t high-strung or high activity. Truck dogs have to be able to spend a long time in the truck and not get bored or restless. Drivers should have ample chew toys and chew bones that would help keep the dog busy while on the road. Chewing is a means of stress relief for dogs and if they aren’t provided with something to chew on, they will find something to chew that is most likely inappropriate. Destructive chewing generally stems from stress or anxiety. By providing your dog with something appropriate to chew, you are giving them a way to relieve their stress and anxiety in an appropriate way without risking the dog destroying the truck or other items in the truck cab.
Control the dog odor before it’s too late – Unfortunately, having your dog in a confined area for hours on end can end up causing your cab to reek. After all, as much as we love our canine companions, they do have a natural smell that can get stinky if it sticks to the seats and carpet. Luckily, this can be avoided easily by just placing SMELLEZE Eco-Friendly Pet Smell Deodorizer Pouches in the cab. These natural dog smell removers work by simply absorbing the stench without using fragrances so you can always have a clean smelling cab. Furthermore, they don’t require any power and are reusable for years to save you money.
Socialization – All dogs should be socialized but truck dogs need to be particularly well socialized as they will come in contact with a variety of people and situations. Dogs that are high-strung or extremely anxious generally do not make good road companions. Some drivers question whether socialization or not socialization is a good idea as they think a socialized dog won’t protect the truck or the driver in a potentially dangerous situation. Socialization has nothing to do with whether or not a dog will protect its property or its person. A well-socialized dog not only will be welcomed in the truck, but also in other locations such as rest stops, parks, and motels.
Training – Truck dogs need to be trained appropriately for the safety of the dog, the driver, and the public. A well-trained dog is generally welcomed in most environments and is a pleasure to be around for anyone in contact with it. Truck dogs must be very obedient and understand that its owner has control at all times. Owners also need to be sure that they are willing to keep up on training sessions with the dog and working particularly on skills the dog will need on the road. Every truck dog should be leash trained and should be on a leash anytime it is outside the truck. Too many things can happen to a dog that is off lead in a parking lot. Even the best behaved dog can be frightened and bolt by and unfamiliar or surprising noise or situation. A frightened, confused dog generally won’t listen regardless of how well they are trained.
Care and logistics – There are certain things every dog needs such as food, water, exercise, and potty breaks. Truck dogs are no different. Drivers who want to have their dog with them on the road will need to have food and water available on a regular schedule. Dogs need to eat dog food, not table scraps so a driver with a dog will have to make sure that there is space to keep a bag of dog food. Water should be available as much as possible, particularly in the summer months. Just like people get tired of sitting in the same position for a long time so do dogs. Having the dog to take care of benefits drivers in that they will have to take regular exercise breaks to take the dog out for potty time and the chance to stretch its legs. Getting out of the truck to go for a walk will benefit both dog and driver, getting them both ready for another leg of their journey.
Legal Issues – While laws regarding dogs vary from locality to locality, there are a few standard dog laws that owners should follow. Generally a law regardless of where you are, dogs must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies with both tags attached to the dog’s collar. Your dog’s license can help your pet find her/his way home if s/he were to become lost. Dog owners are liable for any damage their pet causes which can also put your company in a tricky legal place. Most animal cruelty laws prohibit dogs being left in a vehicle during the summer months. While your truck cab doesn’t heat up like a car would, it still isn’t a good idea to leave your dog in the truck for long periods of time. Owners should assume all locales have leash laws and local “pooper scooper” laws; therefore, owners should treat the situation as if the laws are in place.
Bringing a dog on the road with you can help make a trucker’s life a little easier. However, in order to make it a successful venture, owners need to plan ahead and be willing to change their routine to accommodate a four-legged passenger. Most drivers with truck dogs would agree that the company and sense of security a dog provides far outweighs the little inconveniences of changing their routine
Shaun Denton is a professional blogger that shares news and information on CDL trucking company jobs and employment opportunities. He writes for TruckerClassifieds.com, where you can find local truck driver jobs.