When driving down a busy road, it’s hard not to notice a dog riding shotgun as a passenger. If the dog happens to be riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle, that usually requires a double take. If you prefer to ride a motorcycle than drive your car, there are ways to include your four-legged friend on your future road trips. One of these ways is to add a sidecar to your two wheeled vehicle. If you’re interested in learning how to train your dog to safely ride along in a sidecar, keep reading!
Before You Start Training
It’s important not to make this process stressful for the dog in the beginning. Do not immediately strap the dog in and think you’re “good to go”. Being immediately restrained in a new environment can be terrifying for an animal and immediately create a sense of resentment. The end goal of this training is to teach the dog that the sidecar is a safe place to be and riding along is a fun activity.
Training can happen at any age, but it’s best to start early as puppies are open to new learning experiences. Before you get started, make sure you have these supplies on hand:
- Canine Safety Harness
- Dog Safety Goggles
How to Train Your Dog to Ride in a Sidecar
Step 1: Introduce your dog to the sidecar
With the motorcycle turned off and in a safe, non-busy parking lot, lead your dog to the sidecar with treats. By doing this, the dog will associate the sidecar with tasty treats and will be happy to get in.
Step 2: Switch on the motorcycle
After the dog is comfortable and seated, simply turn on the motorcycle without moving so he/she can get used to the noise and feel the vibrations. According to the team of Lexington motorcycle accident attorneys at Gary C. Johnson, Attorneys at Law, P.S.C., “… A major downside to riding motorcycles is that the injuries from a potential accident can be devastating.” It’s important to take every precaution before getting on the open road to ensure there is minimal chance for a traffic accident.
Step 3: Build the dog’s confidence
While seated in the side car, continue to give the dog praise and treats. At this point, practice driving at low speeds in an abandoned parking lot to get the dog used to the motions. During this time gauge the dog’s reaction. If they seem fearful, take notice of how long they can be in the sidecar and in motion before they seem uncomfortable.
Step 4: Focus on short rides initially
Build up the length of rides over time instead of immediately planning a long road trip. Quick cruises around the neighborhood or in empty parking lots gives the dog time to get used to riding in the sidecar. During this time, the dog should be strapped in and wearing their goggles to associate these items with riding in the sidecar.
For this type of training, it’s important to be patient and understand that it will take time for your dog to be comfortable with this new form of transportation. If you force your dog into this new situation with little to no preparation, this could result in a serious motorcycle or car accident in the future. If you find yourself involved in an accident while driving, reach out to Gary C. Johnson, a Lexington personal injury lawyer or an experienced attorney in your area.