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Internet videos like those of Ollie are irresistibly cute. There’s even a website for motorcycle-riding dogs. Every dog-owning motorcycle enthusiast must wonder, “I wonder if we could do that?” Check out the safety tip for some preliminary investigation and then give it a try.
Dogs, like people, are not born knowing how to ride a motorcycle. You’ll have to train your dog to ride. But even before that, check the laws on your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. A few states regulate this practice, but if nothing is said about it, then it’s legal—provided it doesn’t cause you to violate some other rule, such as riding while distracted. Some dogs might never enjoy riding with you. For example, if your dog is bothered by the noise of a car ride, it won’t take kindly to the added noise of traveling by motorcycle.
Start by being sure your dog associates his gear, the carrier and restraint system you’ll use with security and good times using your favorite reward system. Doggles (doggie goggles) can be a problem. The tinted lenses make it so dark inside that the dog can’t see and becomes frightened. But the lenses are removable, so using rewards, let your dog get used to the doggles without lenses indoors.
Then get your dog into the gear and put him on the bike for a short time. If you use a backpack or front-type carrier, you’ll want to leave a few inches open so your dog can stick its head out to catch the breeze. In a lashed-on carrier, be sure to have a blanket or two, for comfort and because the familiar scent will be soothing. You should also have the dog attached to the bike with a leash, so it won’t run away in case of a spill.
Once your pet is comfortable in helmet and goggles and using the carrier on the motorcycle, go for a short, slow ride on the straightaway. Keep practicing, using rewards as needed. Eventually, your dog will sway into the corners like any passenger.
Once your dog is comfortable riding, you might want to take her on a long ride. If you’re going a long way, bring enough food and water for the journey. You don’t want intestinal problems to interfere with the trip and new food and strange water can certainly cause them. Pack any medicines your dog needs, along with grooming tools you use regularly. Take the supplies you need to clean up when he does his business and a towel or too for emergency dry-offs and clean-ups. Think, too, about extras, like an extra leash. Be sure your dog’s vaccinations are current and take a copy of the vaccination certificates. And, if your dog isn’t microchipped, this might be the time to handle that.
We’d be happy to post a picture of you and your pet on your motorcycle on Eagle Leather’s Facebook page. Just email your picture to Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.