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Dogs And Sidecars

The article and photos of the dogs in the March/April Sidecarist sparked an interest in me to ask about man's best friends. I'm pre-experienced right now about sidecars as I'm waiting until May to receive my new Motorvation sidecar. What about dogs? From all the photos I've seen, there are a lot of dogs riding with their humans. I have a chocolate lab who will love to go on rides. "Doc" is 87 lbs but loves everybody and usually just ignores other dogs. Cats and squirrels are another story.

Are dogs welcome at rallies? Are they always tied up at campgrounds? Are dogs a nuisance to some folks? I don't want to leave him tied to the sidecar harness when I'm in a diner, etc. I may have just answered my own concerns with these questions. I think I'll just include him on local runs and an occasional parade.

But your ideas and comments would be welcome!

It depends on the dog. I had four goldens when I started sidecaring, and only one of them had any interest. That was Barley, and after three years he has 24k miles under his collar. We'll be traveling from Vermont to Oregon and back his summer.

I kept him tethered the first two years because he's a gun dog and I was worried about him lunging after furry creatures. For the same reason I went with a Hannigan sidecar; the high rim of the clamshell top gave me an extra feeling of security. This year I tether him only when I leave him in the hack while I shop for food or supplies. He's been very good about staying; he even ignores people who stop by to fuss over him while I'm inside, staring steadfastly at the last place he saw me. As for dining, I've found that a majority of restaurants with outside seating have no problem with a well behaved dog. Ditto for hotels with no pet policies...many of them seem to have unwritten exceptions for good dogs. This is more true in rural America than in cities.

Barley has been to one USCA rally, two BMWRA rallies, and one BMW MOA rally. Nobody seemed to mind and in fact there were many people who had left their dogs at home and needed to spend a bit of time with him. I also travel with a small backpack that contains fresh water, some treats, his dish and toys, a spade and several poop bags. We are fanatical about picking up after ourselves and leaving a good impression as a courtesy to those who come after us. Barley is with me constantly. I want him, when we are 2000 miles from home, to be focused on me and not wandering off or potentially bothering people. The hack is like his crate, a place of safety in which nothing bad ever happens. He is NEVER reprimanded in the hack. Ever. My logic being that if he is startled he will stay with the hack and myself rather than running into harms way.

I don't tie my dogs out. Goldens are extremely social animals (labs not far behind in that department) and the ONLY form of punishment I use on my dogs is a time out. They desperately want to be brought back into the pack and the lesson is learned. Tying one out would be perceived as punishment, so I don't do it. With some patient and consistent training first one-on-one and later amidst all sorts of distractions, there is no reason Doc can't be as unobtrusive as your shadow at rallies and other gatherings.

Best of luck to both of you!

Pete

Thanks so much for your opinion and ideas, Pete! I believe you are right on. Doc stays with me every where I am. Very social minded. I've never tied him out and never want to. Like you say, with proper attention, he'll be a good sidecar traveler. Thanks again!

The female dogs are probably the best.
They are very loyal to you and your property and they never try to hump your leg.

Phelonius - 3/17/2013 5:16 AM

The female dogs are probably the best.
They are very loyal to you and your property and they never try to hump your leg.

I disagree with a very big grin on my face! We rescue and rehab severely abused goldens. In the past 15 years we've probably handled 200 dogs while maintaining a core pack of three or four of our own. (The core pack has never known abuse and they teach newcomers stability and the rules of doggie etiquette.) In all that time we have had only one fight that did not involve females. And their personalities are way different. As my wife is fond of saying:

The boys are "Love me! Love me!" all the time.

The girls are "You may fuss over me for five minutes now."

Of course there are dynamics in a pack that you won't see with solo dogs, and we haven't had just one for nearly two decades.

For the past several years we've had only one dog at a time. Always rescues. Always the quiet ones at what ever shelter we find them at. And the last three have been sidecar buddies. The first, Archie, was extremely well mannered and went to many rallies and events with me. And rode in several parades. On the rare occasion I couldn't have him by my side at a rally banquet or whatever, I'd leave him in the tent or room, where ever "home" was and he was always fine. Although I preferred to have him with me, it's not always possible. At times on a ride, if he was waiting outside, he was fine as long as he could see the door I went through and would simply watch until I came back. If I parked where he couldn't see the door he was inclined to come find me as soon as someone else came through that door that had been out of sight. It never really caused any problem though other than the fact he couldn't stay in a restaurant. When I'd put him back out, he'd wait. I'm always concerned about finding a place in the shade and carry water and a bowl every time. Henry didn't take to the sidecar. He'd ride but it was because I wanted him to, not his first choice. He preferred four wheels. Petey loves to ride as much as Archie but is a bit more boisterous. He's been my sidecar buddy for only a year now but has a few parades and rallies on his experience list and does very well. The adventure continues....

Tom Wells aka Reardan Tom

Our experience with dogs at rallies is similar to Glenfiddich and Barley. Once a dog was not particularly welcome, but that was due to his master letting him trip up furniture & people while unattended on a 30 foot tie out rope.

We still anchor both our dogs to a chain/strap hooked under their chest harness and anchored to the floor. Corkie the cairn terrier would generally ride OK without it, but he occasionally looses his sense of place as he leans out to bark at various stuff. Maddie, a rescued border collie/chow?/lab?? needs to be anchored as she can/will lose her composure with cats and squirrels.

Corkie, a boy, seems quite "sensitive" to his surroundings and is almost always friendly, unless he's hot and uncomfortable. As long as I'm in the immediate area, Maddie,a girl, is very "nice" -- but she tends to become territorial of her sidecar if I'm out of sight, which really surprised me the first time I observed from the window of the local cycle shop.

Stopping for meals can be problematic when traveling with dogs. We too look for places with outside seating. However, unlike Barley, we do occasionally tie our dogs when we are inside. We trained Maddie for tie-out by tying her in the front yard when tinkering on/washing vehicles, leaving her outside by herself for increasingly longer periods. BUT sometimes it's difficult to find a suitable shady parking spot -- such as in Talihina, OK last September where we had to take turns walking Corkie while one of us ate lunch.

All that being said, we have decided to leave both Corkie & Maddie home during the 2013 USCA National Rally, figuring we will not have sufficient time to help manage the rally as well as watch after the dogs. Speaking of the 2013 National, there are a couple of scheduled activities requiring special planning for dogs: The Friday morning tour of Blanchard Springs Caverns and the Friday evening show at the Ozark Folk Center.

Maddie is the primary reason we purchased our first sidecar. Here she is waiting on the start of the domino run at the 2012 Uncertain?Rendezvous:

George from MO often travels with 2 or 3 dogs in his sidecar -- also from the 2012 U?R:

Lee Summer Grove, LA R1100GS/CSM Sidecar, Burgman/Texas Ranger, Zuma 50F, MB5, TW200, CRF250L

Glenfiddich - 3/17/2013 5:04 AM

Phelonius - 3/17/2013 5:16 AM

The female dogs are probably the best.
They are very loyal to you and your property and they never try to hump your leg.

I disagree with a very big grin on my face! We rescue and rehab severely abused goldens. In the past 15 years we've probably handled 200 dogs while maintaining a core pack of three or four of our own. (The core pack has never known abuse and they teach newcomers stability and the rules of doggie etiquette.) In all that time we have had only one fight that did not involve females. And their personalities are way different. As my wife is fond of saying:

The boys are "Love me! Love me!" all the time.

The girls are "You may fuss over me for five minutes now."

That is because yours were just being bitches. Get them fixed.

Phelonius

That is because yours were just being bitches. Get them fixed.

We run a rescue. Everything with four paws here is fixed. 🙂

Delma in sidecar. Few things has to be improved, to ensure her safety and not allow her to jump out. But Delma enjoyed sidecar ride I think as much as my human passenger.

I must frequently say "no" and at the moment there's no chance to get her into traffic. I have to teach her 2 new commands that will mean "jump into sidecar" and "jump out". With typical cargo sidecar it should be simplier than with Velo 562 that isn't the best for dog.

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