How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

Janell and Stu have been riding round the world with their three rescue dogs for the last ten years. They’re experts on riding with dogs and have put together this packed guide to help you do the same. Here’s everything you need to know about how to travel on a motorcycle with your dog.

How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

Contents

By Janell Clarke

By Janell Clarke

Adventure Rider - The Pack Track

How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

In 2012, at the age of 26, I embarked on a daring adventure that would forever change the way I experienced motorcycle riding. Straddling my Harley Davidson Sportster in my hometown of Sydney, Australia, I made a decision that some might call unconventional – I took my 5-year-old, 23kg, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross on her very first motorcycle ride.

Little did I know that this single act would ignite a passion for motorcycle riding with dogs, setting me on an unimaginable path to ride around the world. As I sat in my driveway, a mixture of nervous anticipation and unwavering determination filled the air. With Skyla securely seated and harnessed behind me in a Beastrider carrier, we were about to embark on a ride that would defy expectations and redefine the bond between rider and canine. It was in that moment, as I gingerly pulled out onto the open road, that I knew we were forging a path like no other.

How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

A world of experience

With over 11 years of traversing 108 countries, my wealth of knowledge in riding and travelling with dogs has grown exponentially. Through the challenges and lessons learned, I’ve discovered essential aspects of safety and legalities, the significance of training both the rider and the dog, and how to connect with other biker dogs along the way.

Drawing from our extensive experience in engineering and safety, coupled with our passion for riding motorcycles with dogs, my husband and I have garnered a wealth of knowledge. Having experimented with various carriers in the market, we recognized the need for a unique solution tailored to the specific requirements of small to medium-sized dogs.

This realisation led us to design the Pillion Pooch, a carrier that reflects our deep understanding of the nuances of both motorcycle riding and canine safety, ensuring a secure and comfortable ride for our dogs. We have tested and proved this product around the world in some of the harshest environments and riding conditions and we are thrilled to be able to share our carrier with other riders.

Check out the Pillion Pooch in action on YouTube…

Understanding motorcycle dog carriers

Choosing a suitable motorcycle dog carrier involves considering factors such as size, budget, and functionality. Investing in a reliable carrier, such as the Pillion Pooch, offers optimal protection and comfort for your dog during rides. Additionally, exploring alternatives like sidecars can accommodate larger breeds comfortably.

Ensuring safety first

Riding with a dog demands a careful blend of safety and comfort. Just like we gear up for protection, our dogs also require secure carriers that shield them from potential harm while ensuring their comfort on the ride. A comprehensive safety and comfort checklist for riding with a dog includes:

  • Providing a comfortable bed or pad to minimise restlessness and feel homely
  • Ensuring a sturdy frame to withstand falls
  • Allowing enough room for the dog to sit, stand, and lie down
  • Shielding from sun, rain, wind chill, and hail
  • Installing secure hardware and pet accessories for added protection
  • Incorporating regular breaks for stretching, food, water, and bathroom breaks
  • Packing essential items like a bowl, leash, poop bags, water and dog food/treats
  • For the dog’s safety, securing them within a well-designed motorcycle carrier using a body harness (not a collar) is crucial. Protection from the elements remains the rider’s responsibility, as prolonged exposure to extreme weather conditions can adversely affect the dog’s well-being.
  • Being a defensive rider entails anticipating unpredictable movements from your dog, creating adequate space to accommodate these movements, and handling interruptions from other motorists cautiously.

Training strategies for your dog

Introducing your dog to the intricacies of motorcycle riding demands a systematic approach. The process involves a gradual and positive progression, beginning with familiarising the dog with the motorcycle carrier in their home where they feel safe and happy.

Progress towards fastening the carrier on the motorcycle, starting the motorcycle and then riding. Lots of treats and positive reinforcement is necessary and will give you and your dog the best chance of a smooth transition to riding. Remember, you can always take it back a step if the dog is not ready for the next step. Additionally, practising manoeuvres that account for your dog’s potential movements when you are riding is essential to maintain stability during rides and parking your motorcycle.

How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

Monitoring your dog on the motorcycle

Employing action cameras, like the Insta 360 One X2, can help monitor your dog’s behaviour during the ride, ensuring their safety and comfort. Maintaining a clear view of your dog’s well-being allows you to make timely adjustments and address any distress or discomfort.

How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

Connecting with other biker dogs

Engaging with a community of fellow biker dog enthusiasts provides valuable insights and support for navigating the challenges and joys of riding with a dog. Joining online forums like Motorcycle with Fido on Facebook enables access to shared experiences and resources that aid in addressing queries and concerns effectively as well as sharing your own triumphs and encouraging the wider community.

Recommended dog riding accessories

Introducing riding accessories gradually and patiently is vital for acclimating your dog to the riding experience. Accessory training at home and during walks can familiarise your dog with items such as eye and hearing protection, weather-appropriate clothing, glow collars, crash-tested harnesses, and other essentials for their well-being. Here are a list of accessories to consider for your dog:

  • Eye protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Clothes – for cold and sun protection
  • Wet weather jacket
  • Glow collar – for riding, walking and camping in the dark
  • Crash tested harness
  • Temperature gun – monitor walking surfaces
  • Collapsible bowls – for food and water
  • Lead/ leash
  • Bed
  • First Aid kit
  • Towel
How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

About the author

Janell Clarke

Janell and husband Stu are two full-time adventure riders from Australia. The pair have been riding around the world since 2014 with their three rescue dogs covering over 200,000kms. 

Follow their incredible adventures here:

How to Motorcycle Travel with a Dog

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Are you planning on riding your motorcycle with a dog? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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