Bike Riding With Your Four-Legged Buddy

Sparky Steps - Bike Riding With Your Four-Legged Buddy

Bike Riding With Your Four-Legged Buddy

Not everyone is built for all types of exercise.

Have you ever asked yourself, "is it safe to ride my bike with my dog" or "how to ride my bike with my dog"? We have and we wrote this article to help you figure that out!

Some people might like to hit the weights; others can spend an hour or more each day on the cardio machines. Some might like a weekend game of softball, while others tend toward tennis or bowling. Likewise, when it comes to exercise not all dogs are created equal. Some breeds are built for a walk around the block; some can run for what seems like hours. Do you bike? If you like bicycling and want your four-legged friend to join you on your rides, there's some things you should take into account. For one, a basset hound is not a border collie. If you think Dudley the basset hound is going to trot contentedly beside your bicycle for an hour-plus scenic tour, you are going to be unpleasantly surprised. This harkens to the saying, "Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig." Your bike ride is NOT going to last long and you're really just going to make Dudley very unhappy (let's face it: basset hounds inherently look sad, there's no need to make things worse). Large, heavy breeds will have a hard time keeping up with the bike. Puppies don't generally do well; it's recommended that a dog be at least a year and half before joining you on your bike rides. Flat-faced dogs like pugs or bulldogs don't do well with this activity, either. But if you have a breed that requires a lot of exercise and can handle tagging along when you go for a bike ride, is it a good idea to bring them along? Let's explore.

 

Bike Riding With Your Four-Legged Buddy

The first thing to consider is this: you'll have to be prepared to train your dog to go along on your bike rides. It's not a simple matter of grabbing a leash, hopping on the bike and heading out. (A word about the leash: under no circumstance should you use an ordinary leash when walking a dog alongside a bicycle. The leash can get tangled in the wheel spokes; the dog can get ahead of you and wind up under the bike's front wheel; and you simply don't have the control you need with this type of leash. Invest in a bike attachment like the WalkyDog or the DoggerJogger to keep you and your dog safe at all times).

 

Start slow.

Walk the bike and dog around the yard to get him acclimated to this new wheel-thingie in his life. Go for a short distance and stop and praise him with kind words, pats and small treats. (Check out this awesome video from Gone to the Snow Dogs that discusses the best commands and tips you can use to get your dog starting on his bike riding adventures). Make him feel like a GOOD BOY (or her a GOOD GIRL) for performing this activity--really lay it on thick! Add a bit more distance every day until he seems comfortable and shows you he's up to the task. Every dog learns at a different pace, but be prepared to spend at least a few weeks with this sort of training ritual. And if you have a furry friend who's distracted by vehicles, animals, or other stimuli, you'll have to train them away from that behavior as well. Again: pats, treats, praise. Again, time and patience are your friends here. Along these lines: make sure you're not distracted while out biking with your dog. This is stressed by the American Kennel Club, which suggests that you make sure your dog is not afraid of your bike before trying this activity and that you "are able to pay attention to your dog while you ride."

 

Take Breaks

Once you've gotten beyond the training and are starting to go out on longer journeys, remember to take breaks. Stop and give your dog water frequently. Overheating can be a common problem when cycling with your dog. You might not feel as if you need as many breaks, but your buddy on the end of the leash is going to say otherwise. Still, you can do everything right and not get your dog on board with the idea. Remember: don't try to teach a pig to sing. If Roxie doesn't take to trotting beside your bike, no amount of coaxing is going to make her do it. In the end, you just may decide that two wheels and four paws simply do not mix. Accept it. Make bike time your time, and time with your fur child going for normal walks, or playing with a Frisbee, or chasing each other around the backyard. Ultimately, it's all about quality time, and when it comes to your dog, that's what counts. Now it's time to get your biking on, stay safe everyone!

 

Written by Harrison Howe

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