How to protect car interior from excitable Jack Russell terrier?
August 5, 2017 10:39 AM   Subscribe

How can we protect our car interior from being ripped by our zealously protective Jack Russell terrier?

Our JRT, Tully, is a highly intelligent little dog who is wonderfully protective of all of us. He has many fine qualities, and one not so fine: He is excitable and will rip the interior upholstery and door padding our of vehicles when a person approaches the car, when we go through drive-throughs, and so on. So far we have found no effective ways to control this clawing/biting behavior although we have explored many techniques.

Does anyone know how to "Tully-proof" the padding and upholstery? What cover fabrics might I use that would be strong enough to resist the ripping, and how might I attach them?

Thanking you in advance, hive-mind contributors. Any and all thoughts are welcome!
posted by ragtimepiano to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Sorry to say it, but I think he might be best in a crate inside the car. Put a few shirts that you've worn (for your scent) in the bottom of the crate, and make it a nice cozy place.
posted by hydra77 at 10:50 AM on August 5, 2017 [10 favorites]

Your dog should absolutely be in a carrier of some sort in your car, that restrains him for his and your own safety. We have one of these.
We got the biggest one that would fit in the car and with a 45lb dog he has plenty of room to move around and it protects him and the seats. It clips into the seat belts in the rear seat, so he won't slide around when driving or, more to the point, won't hit me in the back of the head and kill me if I have a car accident PLUS (bonus) he can't escape and run off afterwards or if the door is opened unexpectedly.

There is an issue with the dog being excitable, but it is not the issue that needs fixing. He needs to be restrained in the car, without question. The soft sided crate I linked to, with a soft pad inside and the shirts smelling of you or whatever, is something he will get used to very quickly and possibly even enjoy. If we leave our car crate out next to us when we sit out on our patio, our dog will sleep in it, as long as he can see us from inside it.
posted by Brockles at 11:13 AM on August 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yep - get one of those soft sided crates used for travel and keep him in it when in the car, or at least in situations when he might get excited.

You could also leave him home - he is a dog. If being in the car is that stressful for him he'll probably be happier snoozing in his crate or yard or wherever he would be back home.

*Owner of a jackshund (jack russell / dachshund mix). He only goes in the car if we are taking him somewhere specific (generally either the park or vet) - he doesn't come along when we are out doing random errands.
posted by COD at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Agree on keeping him in a crate. Safer for all involved.

But these are the best seat covers. I'm a rescue transporter, and I've used one set of these seat covers through three vehicles now. Two of the cars died from extended use, yet the seat covers live on.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2017

I have a JRT who is far more mellow; he doesn't care much about humans, but gets anxious about other dogs, just not *that* anxious. I recommend working with Tully and a trainer to get him more accustomed to people. Any time a dog's behavior is extreme or causes damage, training is a good idea. I think he'd be happier if he wasn't so reactive. Lots more exercise is always good, as well, and in the meantime, a reliable crate.
posted by theora55 at 11:42 AM on August 5, 2017

I've recommended it here before: The Snoozer is the best dog-related product we've ever purchased. Carrier, carseat, wheely cart, backpack, airplane carrier. It's great, and it comes in several sizes.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:18 PM on August 5, 2017

I crate my JRT around in the back of my car in a SofKrate. You can get indestructible seat covers but nothing really good that will protect your door upholstery.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2017

We keep my dog in a crate in the car because he can't stay in one place. It's just a standard plastic crate, it actually wedges perfectly in the back seat behind the passenger front seat.
posted by radioamy at 12:48 PM on August 5, 2017

He should be crated. It takes almost nothing for a smaller dog like that to be thrown forward in to the windshield. I know someone whose dog was killed when she had to hit the brakes at a stoplight. It was thrown into the windshield and died. I also know someone who got in an accident and her uncrated dogs ran off, and two were later found hit by cars. If you crate him, you can cover the crate so he doesn't go ballistic when sees people. Speaking of which, what would he do if a cop pulled you over? And how might the cop react?
posted by HotToddy at 1:55 PM on August 5, 2017

If he chews your car seats and door panels he can probably chew his way out of a soft sided crate. My terrier is also very protective of the car but thankfully just barks like a maniac and leaves the car alone.
posted by cairnoflore at 7:16 PM on August 6, 2017

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