After securing the dog so he can’t fall or jump out of the sidecar, the next important concern when taking your pet riding with you should be eye protection. There are several products available to protect your dog’s eyes from bugs and debris; the one I am most familiar and which has been around the longest, is Doggles.
Doggles are goggles for dogs, shaped to fit your dog’s face, with an extra chin strap to help keep them in place. They come with tinted lenses, in a variety of shades, which will also protect your dog’s eyes from UV damage.
As you might imagine, convincing your dog to wear the things can be a challenge. Our Rottweiler tried to paw them off at first. We worked with her at home, using praise and treats when we put them on her, and gentle, but firm remonstrance as we replaced them when she pushed them off.
Next, we added them to the routine when we took her for walks. That winter, every time we took her out, she wore the Doggles. I kept a pocket full of treats and distributed them like a Pez dispenser, along with encouragement and praise as we walked. It wasn’t long before she associated the Doggles with outings and treats.
When spring rolled around, I started taking her for short sidecar trips, and rides in the back of the pick-up, always in a harness and always wearing her Doggles. As a matter of habit, she became an all the gear, all the time sort of dog.
When we got Walter Dog, we repeated the process. He was less motivated by treats but loved the attention and the praise. That, combined with making it part of the routine for an outing, was all it took to convince him. We can’t get him to stop barking, but Doggles mean we’re going somewhere, and that is good enough for a full body tail wag.
Having your pet along for the ride is a very rewarding experience for both of you. Put the same thought and effort into ensuring your dog’s safety as you do your own. It took some time and it took some patience, but my dogs are happy, and I feel better, knowing they are safe from eye injuries.