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How to Secure Your Dog into Their Motorcycle Dog Carrier and What Harness to Use

Blonde woman and German Shepherd in motorcycle dog carrier pose together with antique wooden gate background

Securing your dog into their motorcycle dog crate is important and how you do it is too. The best way is with a motorcycle dog carrier harness that is custom sized and secures the dog’s chest and their rear in too.

When a rider starts researching how to ride with their dog on a motorcycle, one of the common early questions is:

Is it safer to ride with my dog strapped into their motorcycle dog carrier?

It is an important question and one that deserves a thoughtful, evidence-based answer. Instead, there are many strong opinions on the message boards but very little science to guide us.

However, judging by our experience alone, the answer is clear:

Yes, riding with the dog strapped into the motorcycle dog carrier is safer.

We arrived at this conclusion after 10,000+ riding miles– including at least a half-dozen crashes – with our 75lbs German Shepherd, Moxie, in her K9 Moto Cockpit.

As you might expect, how you strap them in and what harness you use has an enormous impact on their safety as well.

Happy German Shepherd lays in upholstered motorcycle dog carrier


Safety Considerations When Strapping Your Dog In

An ordinary outdoor or car seat dog harness might be good enough for securing your dog’s chest in the carrier.

But only securing their chest in is not enough in our experience and it might even be less safe in some cases than riding without a harness altogether.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. Some dogs will discover that they can raise their butt and pull backwards to try to yank the harness off over their head.
  2. In an emergency stop, the sudden deceleration can produce a dangerous tail-over-head somersaulting effect.
  3. In a crash or even low-speed tip-over, the butt can fall out, wrenching the dog’s back in the process.

The solution to all these cases is to secure the dog’s chest and their butt as well into carrier.

Blonde woman secures German Shepherd into motorcycle dog carrier harness


Motorcycle Dog Carrier Harness Designed for Safety

The K9 Moto Harness has a large, reinforced security loop at the chest for securing the dog’s torso into the carrier.

No surprise there.

The harness’s major innovation is that it also has a security loop at the top of the dog’s waist near the butt.

This rear security loop uniquely allows you to secure the dog’s rear half into the motorcycle dog carrier.

It sits at the top of a belt that connects around the dog’s waist. In turn, the waist belt connects to the main harness unit via a sturdy strap that runs along the top of the dog’s back.

The waist belt with security loop is the essential design component that solves the several critical safety issues described in the previous section.

Blonde woman secures German Shepherd into motorcycle dog carrier harness


Other Key Design Features

Heavy-duty nylon webbing with reinforced stitching gives the harness and security loops a sturdy, muscular chassis.

The rest is about superior styling and performance.

The entire exterior is covered with naturally dyed, scratch resistant cotton that is colorfast, machine washable, and soft against the fur.

The chest and belly features foam padding for comfort while rows of stitching create large channels to improve airflow and maximize cooling.

Stainless D-rings are located at the top of the chest and on the back. This makes it easy to connect your matching Knotted Leash and use the harness right off the bike.

The harness is custom sized to improve fitment and safety for your dog. Even still, it includes length adjusters at the chest straps, sides straps, and waist belt. This means the adjust to accommodate your dog after exercise or heavy meals!

The top of the harness features a reinforced hand hold. This is useful for spotting your dog as they leap into their carrier and makes it easier to lift older or less nimble dog’s as needed.

A handmade knotted band decorates the exterior to deliver a beautiful aesthetic. It comes in two designs and five unique colors.

It also includes an important safety feature. Reflective ribbon runs beneath the knotted band. Sunlight and oncoming headlights pass through the spaces in the knotted band and creates a unique shimmering pattern that substantially improves the visibility of your dog.

Artistic technical diagram of motorcycle dog carrier harness with labels identifying the key performance and safety features


How To Secure Your Dog In Their Carrier

The K9 Moto Cockpit motorcycle dog carrier features nine welded anchor points for strapping your dog in. There are four located at the rear corners, four at the front corners, and one at the front-center.

This means you have a variety of options for how to strap your dog in. Below is how we do it:

  1. Tether #1
    1. Secure one end of the tether to the anchor at the upper front corner of the Cockpit.
    2. Run the free end of the tether through the security loop at the dog’s chest.
    3. Connect the free end of the tether to the anchor at the front-center anchor
  2. Tether #2
    1. Repeat the same steps for tether #1 but this time secure the tether to the anchor at the opposite corner.
  3. Tether #3
    1. Secure one end of the tether to the top-rear anchor at one corner.
    2. Pass the tether through the security loop at the top of the harness’s waist belt.
    3. Connect the free end of the tether to the top-rear anchor at the opposite corner.

This process can be a bit difficult to visualize. So, watch this Gear Guide for a simple, clear, and even slightly embarrassing demonstration.

How to Strap In Tightly and Improve Your Dog’s Comfort

Just like with a seatbelt, the straps need to be tight – and even fairly restrictive – or else they will not serve a safety function.

At the same time, we want the dog to be as comfortable as possible during the ride – especially since a comfortable dog squirms less.

The solution is to use a very low stretch tether for strapping your dog in. We have found that Rok Straps are the best product for doing this.

They feature a low-stretch elastic or bungee at one end and a non-stretch webbing at the other.

This combination enables the dog to be strapped in very tightly but still have enough elastic give to adjust their position.

The setup is also hassle-free because each tether works as a pair. That is, there are two free ends that connect with a sturdy, side-release buckle. This means that you can secure each free end of the tether to its anchor separately and leave it there. Then, when the dog is laying in the position, you just pass one end of the tether through the harness’s security loop and connect it to the other end.

The safety evidence is seen in the half-dozen or so crashes that Moxie has had without injury.

As for comfort, well, after a good pee and poop, our Moxie routinely outlast us during long stretches between rest stops!

Man crashes motorcycle during river crossing with German Shepherd riding in motorcycle dog carrier

We hope you found this detailed breakdown helpful. The K9 Moto Harness is available for purchase here and you can also check out the Gear Guide review video for all the details.

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