You’ve seen them out on the trails, and you’ve probably even scratched the head of a few in your day. You may even be lucky enough to count yourself amongst those of us who have them. They’re our favorite trail companions, they’re our Jeep Dogs.
It’s because we love them so much that we want to protect them and do what’s right for them. It’s also why we want to include them in our favorite activities. It was while I was reading an article recently, published by Jeep Jamboree, USA, that I discovered a little-known fact.
Did you know that this well-respected Jeep event organizer discourages Jeep owners from bringing their dogs along for many of their off-road forays?
Here’s their official statement on the subject:
“Jeep Jamboree USA strongly suggests that pets are not appropriate on Jeep Jamboree USA events. Long hours in vehicles, association with people unfamiliar to the animal, access to inappropriate foods, restricted park areas, leash rules and laws, and many other drawbacks make including pets in the events punishing to the pet, the owner, and the other participants.”
Now, before you roll your eyes and start defending your rugged outdoor dog’s off-road prowess, let me tell you that I’m a JeepHER, culpable of the crime of bringing my own Jeep Dog along for a high-level rated Jeep Jamboree trail ride. It was only during that ride that I realized my mistake.
Although our dogs are always tethered when we ride in any of our vehicles for safety purposes, as Jaxon was that day, along with having a soft and oversized dog bed for his comfort, he did NOT enjoy his ride. Selfishly, I wanted the companionship of my dog and thought nothing of how his 40-lb body would be tossed around inside my JK, regardless of his tether.
While there were a few stops throughout the day, he was fearful for much of the ride (which turned out to be roughly 5 ½ hours in total) and downright panicky at points, trembling, pulling against his tether, and desperately trying to find a way into my lap.
Our dogs typically lay down and go to sleep after their initial excitement of going for a ride wears off, but due to the roughness of the terrain and obstacles, he wasn’t ever able to lay down for more than a moment at a time. To say he experienced a high amount of instability and bouncing around would be an understatement. You can see the difference in his demeanor in the photos below:
I’ve encountered numerous other Jeep Dog owners out on the trails who, instead of showing empathy for their dogs, laughed and joked how their dogs reacted fearfully or were tossed from the back seat of their Jeep to the front seat. In fact, on the same 5 ½ hour ride I took Jaxon on, a fellow JeepHER was proudly bragging about her senior dog who was being flung about inside her Jeep while laughing heartily about it.
Seeing the look on Jaxon’s face and watching him trying to hunker down while shaking in fear, I absolutely regret taking him on that trail ride. Make no mistake, it won’t happen again.
In the future, my Jeep Dog will ride by my side for rides in the Jeep, but it won’t be on rated trails.
Do you have a Jeep Dog? What are your thoughts about taking them out on the trails with you? Share in the comments so we can all learn from one another!
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