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Everything you need to know about riding with your (big) dog

Written by Jessica Stone | Photos by Greg Stone and Victor Hugo Xalcot. Posted in Tech-n-Tips

If you like to travel by motorcycle, it can be hard to imagine doing better. Of course, you can hope for less heavy equipment or gloves with a better touch screen. But, when it comes to the actual experience of motorcycle adventure travel – exploring new roads, discovering different places and pitching a tent beside an idyllic stream – I also couldn’t imagine how the experience could be improved…that is until I start riding with my German Shepherd.

i roll a BMW G650GS and my 75 pound German Shepherd, Moxie, rides aboard her Motorcycle Cockpit RUFFLY K9, a motorcycle dog carrier we designed. Over the past few years, we have traveled thousands of miles together through Mexico and Central America. And now, as I’m about to embark on an RTW journey, with Moxie in the back and my partner Greg by my side, I’d like to share a bit about what makes traveling with our dog so amazing and how we get the most.

Jess Stone and her 75-pound German Shepherd, Moxie, travel to the shores of spectacular Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. No road is forbidden to a girl and her big dog!

It’s incredibly stimulating

My experience as a pilot is probably not that different from that of many others. It’s not something I was exposed to as a young girl, but ever since I discovered horse riding at the age of 20, it has given me immense joy and satisfaction. , fear and bruises, and lots of personal growth.

I find there’s something similar to having a big dog by my side. Moxie looks to me for guidance and to lead the pack as we venture together to discover new places. It’s no wonder, then, that when I discovered a way to take her on my travels, it was a life-changing and now life-defining event.

The growth in personal agency and empowerment I experienced with Moxie inspired me to partner with the Global Leadership Initiative girl up ( to raise $100,000 for their empowerment programs around the world. I hope our next RTW inspires girls to dream big and persevere in achieving their own goals. I also hope he speaks to new riders, veteran riders and others to bring their furry co-pilot on their adventures.

Ride with Big Dog twistiesMoxie rides prone in her K9 Moto Cockpit for improved safety, comfort and performance. This means Jess can ride off-road and aggressively through the turns of the mountain.

Set the right expectations for riding together

It turns out the world is a lot more dog-friendly than you think, but you still need to adjust your expectations and plans accordingly. For example, if you look at our On 2 Wheels + 4 Legs motorcycle trip episodes on Youtube, you might find us visiting a coffee plantation, a crocodile farm or a monkey sanctuary… but not visiting a national archaeological museum, a five-star restaurant or an art exhibition.

When traveling with a dog, finding pet-friendly accommodations is a concern for many. It takes a bit more effort, but the time I spend browsing, Airbnb, and other sites is still done off camera. You might be surprised by the number of nice and Airbnb offers that welcome dogs, and how many cheap hostels and flea flophouses don’t.

As an alternative, try coaxing management with good behavior assurances or offer to pay an additional fee. What worked best for us was showing off hotel owner Moxie’s travel cot. The implication is that your dog will sleep on his own bed and not on the furniture, and conveys the reassuring idea that you are a conscientious owner who won’t let his dog run amok.

Camping together is better camping

Even though there are plenty of pet-friendly accommodations out there, camping will be the source of your best and most memorable moments. Your dog will experience an ecstasy of sights, sounds and smells that will keep him engaged and energetic.

Ride with Big Dog CampingBringing your dog is putting the “wild” into wild camping. Just be sure to dry them off before heading back into the tent after a swim in the lake.

In Mexico and Central America, we share most of our wild campsites with cows, horses or donkeys. It provides an endless source of entertainment for Moxie, her version of scratch-and-sniff TV. Yet, at some point, even our rambunctious German Shepherd needs some down time to catch some sleep. Many dogs find it difficult to stay alert in new environments. To help your dog let his guard down, I suggest:

  • Bring a travel cot or blanket they use at home before the trip. They will find comfort and security in the scent and familiarity of the bed.
  • Pitch your tent early. The tent will signal to your dog that the “travel” part of the day is over and it’s now time to settle down and relax.

Your dog will probably be knocked out by the end of the day. Even if they are comfortably lying in their Cockpit along the way they will be very alert and energized by the rush of non-stop sights and smells. If there is still a little gas left in their tank, here is the perfect solution. After we’re done settling in, you’ll often see Greg pull out Moxie’s Mother Hucker fetch a toy. A few minutes of intense “hucking” burns through Moxie’s last reserves and gives us an hour or two of calm before dinner.

Carrying gear for your other half

Dogs don’t need much to thrive on the road, but it can still mean putting your perfect luggage setup back to the drawing board.

In addition to Moxie’s travel bed and fetch toy, we bring two collapsible bowls, a small waterproof bag to protect her kibble from ants, a harness, dog goggles, a cooling vest, a jacket against the cold and a flysheet for her Cockpit. I also recommend a stake in case there is nowhere to attach the leash at the campsite, an LED collar for night walks and a first aid kit.

Horseback riding with Big DogRiding with your dog means spending more time in nature. Like going up to the trailhead and hiking to the top of Tajumulco Volcano, the tallest mountain in Central America.

And here’s how I store Moxie’s gear. The sleeping straps in front of her Cockpit, giving me a lower backrest as a bonus. The rest is stored in a pair of tank bags. Alternatively, you can attach a dry bag to either side of your dog’s skin. Cockpit.

Take your time to go further

Every experienced cyclist develops their own pre- and post-race routines. Usually this involves tricks like deciding which pocket to store riding gloves in, where to perch the helmet, and which side of the panniers the tools are stored for easier access. Naturally, you will also develop a routine for your dog. But, while you’re figuring things out, take your time to perform each step methodically. If you don’t, things can get really crazy, really fast.

Here’s an example: you pull up somewhere covered in road grime and splattered bugs, desperate for a coffee. Upon noticing your dog in his crate, onlookers begin to gather and your dog quickly becomes a instagram sensation. In the excitement, you let your dog dismount before securing your helmet, whereupon your dog jumps up and rushes after a Shih Tzu, pulling your leash arm from its socket and sending your $500 helmet crashing onto the tarmac. .

After many such learning experiences, I now always remove my gear and sort myself before remove Moxie’s glasses and disconnect the harness. It’s like securing my own oxygen mask before helping my neighbor in an in-flight emergency. While Moxie is safe inside her Cockpit, it is restrained and easily controlled. However, as soon as I drop her, my German Shepherd becomes a bestial pair pack, determined to hunt a squirrel in the bushes.

Ride with the Big Dog CockpitAT(D-dog)GAT T—Moxie wears goggles to protect her eyes from wind and debris and a harness to keep her safe in her Cockpit.

A whole new way to ride a motorcycle for dog lovers

There are many good reasons to love motorcycle adventure travel as it is. But, if you’re a dog lover and don’t want to compromise your ride, there’s a whole new amazing experience to discover. In this article, I’ve explained how we do it, but when you start exploring the pet-friendly motorcycle, feel free to ask questions about safety, fitment, training, or anything dog-related. .

As for Moxie, we’ll be setting off on our RTW adventure next March. I hope you’ll follow us, meet us somewhere down the road, and consider donating to our girl up worthy fundraiser.

Jess and Moxie Bio Imagejessica stone is the founder of RUFFLE ethical outdoor dog gear, based in Los Angeles and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. She and her partner Greg designed the Motorcycle Cockpit RUFFLY K9a motorcycle dog carrier for medium to large dogs. jessicaMoxie and Greg will begin their 18-month return to work in March 2022. The journey will be documented in their Youtube series On 2 Wheels + 4 Legs.