TV vibration causing doggy fears & big woes for us! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-04-2015, 03:09 PM   #1
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Unhappy Help! TV vibration, dog anxieties & big woes for us!

HELP! We tow a 17' Escape with a Toyota Sienna van. When we got the Escape we had a Previa, when we got the Sienna we had to use a different hitch because the Sienna is so low, even with the higher hitch we often scrap pulling out of low driveways, i.e. gas stations, etc. It is quite a jolt, but bearable.

2 yrs ago a 9 yr old miniature poodle named Abby came to live with us. First summer she traveled with no problems, but on a long trip last June, bad tires caused extra shimmy and vibration and even after getting new tires she became very fearful, anxious, shaking, panting, etc. all the way home. It was horrible for us, for her, made for a stressful trip. I bought a "thunder shirt" for her, used some aromatherapy, bought her a bed for the back seat, she calmed just a little and we made it home. Took several months for her to really like going in the car again. But she eventually became happy and willing to go, she goes everywhere with me.

Planning a long trip to the Tetons in a few weeks, we took a 'shake down' trip this weekend and her behavior started again after one bump. She was a nervous, shaking, anxious dog the whole trip. Fine out of car.

The van does feels every bump, curve, swerve, and vibration in the trailer. To us it is noticeable but we can live with it. To her it is a nightmare!

We are facing having to take this trip without the trailer if we can not find a solution and wonder if there might be a better hitching system, or some way to resolve the vibrations, etc. Has anyone else had this problem, do people think it is the tow vehicle/trailer combo creating the vibrations, etc.

Any ideas, suggestions, similar experiences that might help us would be appreciated. We are at our wits end.

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Old 05-04-2015, 04:12 PM   #2
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I feel yours and Abby's pain. We have a terrier mix dog (Scooter) who is very sensitive. He loves to go and wants to be with us all the time. He gets so distraught when we travel he chews anything and everything in sight. We have tried everything to make him comfortable (including a Thunder shirt) but still haven't been able to solve the problem. We feel it is best for him to travel in a dog crate to protect him and also the interior of our vehicle. It is so bad we couldn't put anything in the crate for his comfort like a pad or blanket because he would chew it and we are afraid of him ingesting the materials (he has already had surgery to remove an intestinal obstruction) so I finally was able to put a carpeted base in the crate that he has so far not been able to chew. We are frequent travelers and Scooter always wants to go. He always voices his objection to travel when he enters his crate but settles down as soon as we start moving. I wish I had a solution for Abby and Scooter but for now I can only suggest that you protect her and love her because I am sure she would rather be with you than boarded and have to deal with separation anxiety. Good luck and if you come up with a solution please share it with us and Scooter.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:36 PM   #3
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My golden retriever is petrified of car rides, from the time he was a little guy he'd shake, pee or puke and make a big mess.

we've settled on making sure he has his own kennel in the car (a smaller one than home) and before trips he gets a dose of childrens liquid gravol, have also tried liquid anti anxiety meds suggested by our vet - but they didn't seem to help. He gets in now and sleeps most of the time - we did 2600km each way last year at x-mas and he managed pretty well (lays down, braces himself in the kennel and tries to sleep)

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Old 05-04-2015, 05:03 PM   #4
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So sad. You can see the fear in his eyes. We tried Dramamine at the recommendation of our vet but being a high energy dog it didn't help Scooter but I'm glad it helped your situation.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:20 PM   #5
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To get back to your question: Have you had the wheel bearings checked and service on a regular basis? There may be some high pitched sounds that the dog hears that we may not be abler to hear. In addition, when that is being done, have the trailers wheels & tires checked for balance and any out-of-round condition. Any one of the three above items can agitate me, much less a pet. Even switching the trailers tires from left to right side may have an effect on sounds.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:33 PM   #6
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Good point Bob. Also check the hitch points for a dry condition that might produce a squeak that only a dog could hear. A little grease might help our dogs relax.
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:13 PM   #7
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With the hitch that low it is sure to scrape the ground at some point. If it ever catches a crack while scraping dog won't be the only one agitated and upset.

I agree there are a lot of potential sounds out of range of hearing that may "signal" to the dog that the thing it fears might happen. The things suggested might resolve that for the dog. I would be concerned that the hitch bangs again, which it probably will which will only reinforce the "scary thing going to happen" for the dog.
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:15 PM   #8
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Even if you hitch bangs back and forth in the receiver it may be an upsetting sound. There are clamps that put that to rest in short order, less than $20.
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:20 PM   #9
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I agree with Bob and Larry - have everything on the car side checked as well as on the trailer side. Something may be rattling squeaking that she can hear but not you. Grease the trailer ball?

As far as the dog goes I personally prefer the dogs to ride in a fully enclosed kennel if space permits. Most of mine over the years have appeared to be far more comfortable in their own enclosed space when traveling. Also Bach Rescue Remedy is a great product to use to relieve stress/fear in humans and animals. If you have not tried it yet it may be worth a go. I became aware of it a number of years ago while attending a first aid course. No ill effects and they do make one specifically for dogs now. I don't know the difference between it and the original as I have only used the original on dogs.

I had a lab that during a thunder storm would get very stressed out and go into a closet and try and dig his way through the floor - a couple of drops of Rescue Remedy on his tongue and he would behave as it there was no storm at all going on.
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:25 PM   #10
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I use to let my dog ride in the cargo area in my rav4. Lots of noise back there and she is far away from us. She never settled down to go to sleep. Moved her to the back seat closer to us and less sound because she is off the floor and on seats which i made a full soft platform for her to lay down on. She gets plenty of air from the back windows cracked open and a treat from us helps to. We get a few miles down the road and she is snoring. Pops up when we are at a stop light. Carl
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:35 PM   #11
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I use zap straps to attach the cargo net to the front seat head rests in my RAV4. Keeps the beagle in the back ( rear seats folded ).
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:47 PM   #12
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I went to my Vet and he gave a Rx for the dog, calms him down.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:34 PM   #13
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Hi Penny and Mike.

A few comments that may help or be of interest.

We have a Toyota Sienna same as yours and they have a firm, truck type of ride. The Honda Oddy as a comparison is softer and smoother.

I'm glad to see you are using a WDH. What brand is it and what weight rating are the bars? What is the tongue weight of the trailer loaded and ready for travel?

The smoothest WDH is the Easy Lift brand. The bars are designed to be forgiving on the TV and yet do the job they are intended for.

Like other suggested be sure the ball is lubed.

Wheels, tires, bearings, and axles on the trailer need to be in good condition and working properly.
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:14 AM   #14
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Hi Penny and Mike,

As Carol already wrote, get a bottle of Rescue Remedy, and give your dog some an hour before you leave. It works very well. We used it on foals before going on a trailer ride, and to pups that were less than certain about car-rides. Sedating is not a long term solution. And yes if your car has issues, look at those as well. I tow with a Jetta, also close to the ground, but the hitch ball sit 45 cm above street surface, no scraping or bumping. (Health food stores carry the Rescue Remedy) Good luck!
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