Re: 6 month old Vizsla HELP!
fairly long post, but here goes....
Pecan has been in the truck since we picked her up from the breeder at the very least once a day. She knows full well what it means when she hears the beeps of the doors unlocking which is we are going somewhere fun. Or my wife and I will say "Time for the Truck" and she knows exactly what we mean and will completely spaz out. However, we have not let her into the truck until she calms down. She can do 30 running circles around the truck and we will stand there waiting for her to sit quietly before letting her in. We've done this since the first time we took her in the truck so she understands that the truck is a calm place.
Same rules apply for the destination, there is no way she is allowed out of the truck until she sits quietly and is relaxed. There are times where people have looked at us strangely and other dog owners actually make comments like: "She just wants out", to which my wife responds much more courteously than I, but I am of the opinion that if you want a calm dog in your vehicle, they have to enter and exit when they are calm in order for them to understand that it is a place to relax and enjoy some quiet while we are on our way to the fun stuff.
It took about 3 months but now she understands and is calm in the truck at all times, so much so that the majority of trips (even short ones) she falls asleep.
As far as keeping her safe? I am not an advocate for crating. My personal opinion is the crates/carriers have never tested out well in crash tests, however if your goal is to just keep them off of you while driving and they always relax in their crate, then it could be the right solution for you. Just don't put a lot of value in thinking that the crate/carrier will keep them safe in a crash.
Since my wife and I have no children, I've retro'd our SUV specifically for our needs with our dog. The goal was to keep the cargo area at the rear lift gate as that, a cargo area, while having the back seat area setup for the dog where she still has access to us, where she is secured, and where she is protected from any rear cargo (or the cargo is protected from her). So the back seats are folded down, the upholstery on the back has been replaced with a raised rubber flooring (the height matches the height of the front middle console), and a barrier between the cargo area and the backseat area was secured into the A Pillars and bottom frame. She is then harnessed into the middle seat belt (which protrudes through the floor) with just enough slack where she can rest her front paws and head on the center console if she chooses. We also put a bed and blanket back there for her on longer trips.
If it's a local trip to the neighbours or just up to our local conservation area for a walk, then we usually won't harness her in anymore since she understands the rules of the truck and just lies down in her area, but anything more than 5-10min or anything on major highways and she gets harnessed in.