I'm looking for advice on the best way to carry my medium/large size dog--about 55lbs, mixed, maybe a GSD or Australian cattle dog style mix--on my bike with me. I've bought goggles (not sure if they're the "best") and have read that helmets won't really help a dog.
I'd initially planned on buying the K9 Sport Sack Rover (30-80lbs) backpack, but they're sold out with month long delays. Is there an alternate one that's equally "good" you can recommend? Or would you recommend going without the carrier altogether?
A few other questions for my inexperienced mind: is a backpack the safest option? Do they have "gear" backpacks for dogs? I've seen large dogs riding in back and "holding" onto the driver's shoulders like a human. Is the backpack, therefore, necessary, or even preferable?
- what does your dog do, and/or how did you train your dog to behave, in the event someone else walks their dog in front of your bike at a crosswalk? Or if a dog is barking wildly at yours from a car window during a long red light?
- In the event of heavy rain, will the dog "slip" off? I imagine this would be exacerbated if the dog wasn't in a backpack (?).
- In the event of heavy wind--the type you have to "lean" into the wind to stay straight for the entire drive--does your dog...well, struggle? Is the backpack just hanging off the bike?
- Similarly, does the dog struggle more/less during sharp turns or more sudden stops with or without a backpack?
- Finally, what no one wants to think about, what's better in the event of an accident? I imagine that the downside of a backpack is that the dog wouldn't be able to jump/roll off to protect itself, and would instead largely be rooted to you. Is no backpack actually safer?
- I don't ride without gear, but I don't imagine there are enough dogs riding bikes for them to even consider gear for dogs. But would gear be ideal? What would it even look like?
- Will my dog be able to "hold on" to me when I'm wearing my gear (leather jacket, shoulder/back armour)? I'm pretty small myself--had it custom ordered to make it smaller--but I guess I worry he wouldn't sufficiently be able to dig in. I don't think I've ever seen a video of a responsible motorcycle driver in gear with their dog.
- If the dog is not in a backpack, does your bike need a special style of passenger seat? Mine is wide enough for a human, but a bit on the narrow side.
- Is there anything else I need aside from dog goggles and (maybe) a backpack? Do I need to protect my dog's pointy ears? I imagine that a small pebble or leaf or speck of dirt at high speeds could hurt his. (Same reason that humans cover and gear up.)
- I know all dogs are different, but how long did it take you to condition your dog to ride a bike? I don't have a car, and I'm hoping to schedule a (very non-urgent / proactively scheduled) appointment with a specialist. The nearest one is super far away (allegedly an hour's drive), and I'm trying to get a rough idea of how long it'll take (couple weeks, 2 months, or 6+ months).
Okay, thank you, and tell me if I'd have been better served posting in a different subreddit! It's still kind of unbelievable to me that dogs ride and stay on at all, even after watching videos and seeing a few in "real life". Very long-term, probably in a year, it'd be amazing to take him coworking with me a couple times a week, to take trips to a dog beach, etc.