Cycling with your dog is a great way for the two of you to strengthen your bond, get some cardio and enjoy the outdoors. Bikers need to apply a good dose of common sense before venturing out on the roads with their best buddies.
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You need to be sure your dog is physically fit before embarking on a new exercise regime. For instance, breed and age may make your dog unsuitable for this form of exercise. Cycling is not recommended ever for puppies or any dog under 25 lbs. Breeds such as bulldogs and pugs that have flat faces are not designed for distance running because they overheat quickly. Breeds with long bodies and short legs are not suitable for distance running. Those short legs just can’t keep up.
It’s best to use a cruiser or mountain style bike, something with wider tires. These tires are better for those unexpected tugs that you will most certainly experience.
You’ll need a padded body harness for your dog. This kind of harness does a great job of distributing your dog’s pulling force across its entire body not just the neck area. You’ll need a non-tangling lead to attach to the bike frame. You may wish to consider a specialty bike tow leash which clamps securely to the frame or seat. This device allows the rider to keep balance and protects the dog from traffic, pedals and wheels.
Get your dog a reflective vest and a blinking collar. You may wish to use dog booties to protect your dog’s paws. Don’t forget to bring water and a compact safety kit along with you.
We’ve all known or had dogs that chase bikes. This habit, if it exists within your dog, needs to be broken to ensure the safety of all.
The key to training is to take it slow. Start off by walking your dog along with your bike – you on one side, your dog on the other. Try to use grassy or dirt paths with a minimum of traffic.
Next, introduce your dog to the commands you will be using such as slowing down, turning, stopping and bringing your dog’s attention back to you.
Don’t expect your dog to run long distances at the beginning. Start with a walking speed for a short distance. Build up to a trot but only after a 10 minute warmup walk. Let your dog set the pace. Stop immediately if your dog seems tired or is panting or drooling excessively. Dogs always try to please their owners so you need to pay attention to your dog.
If it’s too hot, too wet or too cold don’t go biking with your dog. Go for a walk instead.
There are many off-road cycling options available to you so cycling with your dog in heavy traffic is never recommended.
Come on into the shop if you have concerns about biking with your dog. We have some highly experienced cycling dog owners on staff. We’d love to share our experiences with you. Check out our contact information and drop in or call either one of our locations.