There are two things I vowed I would never do- I would never let my kid be seen in public without her hair brushed and I would never jail my dog behind metal bars in my car. The hair thing? Right; anyone with a kid knows that's a battle us mothers lose often. The car thing? I held out as long as I could.New car + Park City summers + dog = severe frustration. As I drove my Honda off the lot my joy shifted to one thing- keeping a long-haired, outdoor dog from destroying not only my new-car smell but my new car in general. I love Takoda but no matter how hard I try, he prefers the driver's seat when I'm not in it. I hate that. I had my Petmate crate. That was an option but I'm just too lazy to drag it back and forth from the house. Shouting at him to "get back"? Uh, doesn't work. Therefore, I hunted for one of those barriers that would turn my entire rear into a kennel but they were expensive and I feared those ceiling and floor mounts would damage my little, shiny SUV. That's when I spotted the EZ Pet Barrier. Unlike other grates that use disks that wind into your ceiling and floor for stability, the EZ lashes down with bungee cords so long as your seats have headrests, you're golden.
I pieced together the durable metal tubing and mounted it in less than 15 minutes. The barrier has "arms" that extend, sliding into each other, to adjust for the height and width. Plastic caps keep them from slipping back and a plastic sleeve protects your car and windows from scrapes and smaller dogs attempting to squeeze between the bars. I didn't even need tools.
Ken and Joan Beechie were onto something when they decided to build a better barrier. What was on the market was inadequate and expensive, they described. You know what they say about the mother of invention? Necessity encouraged the Washington state inventors to create a similar device that didn't need to be messed with every time you wanted to move your carseat. The barrier moves with the seats because it's attached to them and not to the ceiling. I can fold the whole backseat down without ever having to take the grate out of the car. I'm told the barrier fits most cars, trucks and SUVs but I can only vouch for a Honda CRV. You can even use it behind the driver seat if you don't mind your dog lounging on the backseat but I choose to keep everything but the back rug free hair, drool, mud, and nail marks.
The barrier is not without its challenges, however. When my pooch really really wants to get past it, he can. He's figured out that if he struggles between the side window and the arm, the arm slides out of the way. I'm hoping that he'll get used to being barred so that I don't have to super glue the metal but there is that solution. My other (small) annoyance is that he's young and chews. I went through four straps in two weeks.
Thankfully, bungee cords are cheap. I'd rather replace them than, say, my gearshift handle. Plus, once I catch him in the act I can train him to stop. I'll just hide out on the side of the car and bang on the window the minute I see him sniff those ties. As the Beechies showed, think hard enough and you can come up with a solution to any problem. Now, if only I could get them to invent a scream-free brush for morning hair… $59-79, http://www.ezpetbarrier.com/petbarrier.htm