My previous posts about devising a way to work on conditioning and reinforcing in my car generated a lot of interest! Thank you! The main question I received about it was whether I was selling them — I am grateful for the interest but no, I am not selling any physical product. The main reason is that cars, dogs, and families are all different. No one product design will work for all, or even most, arrangements.
The first device I made, the Conditioner and Reinforcement Delivery Apparatus System (CRDAS, MK I or “Curtis 1” for short) worked very well for my needs. I drove a Subaru Forester wagon, I was able to install a dog gate behind my front seats, and my fearful/reactive dog, Rudy, fit well in the back seat. But not everyone has the same arrangement — if I had children, and needed easy access to to the backseat regularly, for instance, that wouldn’t have worked at all. Recently, I traded in the Forester on a Hyundai Entourage mini van, and CRDS MK I didn’t work at all. I spent weeks, and eventually months, experimenting with different way to configure and equip the van with curtains, dog seat belts, carabiners webbing, harnesses, and other crazy-Michael ideas, trying to get the dogs safe, and all of us comfortable.
After experimenting with both soft and hard-sided crates, I have settled on a Pet Lodge giant plastic crate for Rudy, Zane or other large dogs, and two different sized small crates for out little dogs, Buster and Ira, or frequent guests Bonzo, Malcolm, and Pierre. I have it set for the dogs to get and out only the side door, with the front door up against the back of the driver’s seat. It is truly giant-sized: Rudy, at 105 pounds, can stand up and turn around in it, sit upright 8 inches to spare, or lay down without his feet touching the sides.
For the giant crate, I used lightweight, white, opaque curtains fastened with velcro. Opaque so the dogs can’t see out the side windows, but light and white to let in light. After driving around for a few weeks with the giant crate and opaque curtains, I was finally satisfied this was our semi-permanent arrangement, so time to create CDRDS, MK II!
above, left-right: bi-weekly guest passenger, Zane, in the giant crate viewed from open side door; hook and loop stuck to curtain and crate; van doors open to show crate door covered with curtain.
above, left-right: bolt cutters, zip ties (to trim the zip ties), wire cutters; plumbing pipes from hardware store, funnel from department store ( I cut the funnel with a box knife) and packing tape to secure the funnel on the straight pipe. I didn’t know when i started I would also need a hacksaw, and a measuring tape.
above, left-right: cutting front crate door to allow for flexi-pipe fitment; flexi-pipe secured with zip ties, from inside crate; straight pipe with funnel fits right into flexi-pipe, does not need to be secured — so I can remove or replace the funnel pipe anytime I want.
above: it all fits together well, but angle was too gentle (first time I tried it, food got stuck where the pipe meets the kennel door).
above: an extra zip tie at the top of the flexi-pipe makes the angle more severe, which is good, but now the straight pipe is way too long. I measured, and cut it with a hacksaw.
The giant crate now has curtains on both sides, and the funnel arrangement on the end facing the windshield. Just in time for our Thanksgiving adventure into Seattle, the CRDAS, MK II is ready for field testing!