You probably go for a walk with your dog every evening. For most high-energy dogs, this is generally not enough aerobic exercise – these dogs need to run. If you enjoy cycling, taking your dog along can give him a chance to exercise those limbs.
But, without proper planning, cycling with dog can be a huge problem. The dog leash may get caught in the bike’s wheels or your dog may not be able to keep up. To help you enjoy biking with dog while avoiding accidents and other problems, we have outlined the top tips you need to keep in mind.
Tips to Remember When Cycling with Dog
1. Invest in the Right Gear
When planning a biking trip with your dog, you will need to ensure you have the following gear:
- Hydration Gear – When biking with dog, you will need to keep him or her hydrated. Hence, bring some kind of water source for your furry friend – you can get a collapsible plastic bowl that is easy to carry in your bikepacking bag. If carrying a plastic bowl seems like a lot of work, consider teaching your dog how to drink from a Camelbak.
- Dog Leash – You should bring a dog leash with you in case you need it. The best leash should be hands-free.
- Medical Suppliers – Bring a first aid kit that is more for the dog than you. If your dog gets injured, you can take care of the injuries immediately, reducing the chances of infections.
- e-Collar – This a collar that is capable of delivering muscle stimulation when you press a button on the device’s remote. This device will allow you to communicate with your dog when he is distracted or a little farther away.
- Dog Boots – Hiking grade dog booties will protect him from jagged objects.
- Waterproof Rain Gear – This is ideal if you think it might rain.
- Cold-Weather Gear – Carry this for inclement weather.
2. Find a Legal and Safe Spot
If you intend to work off-leash, find dog-friendly trails that are separated from hazards and major roads, either by distance or obstacles like a fence, ravine or river. Ensure that off-leash dogs are allowed in your selected spot – you can find this information in the park’s website or on the trailhead sign.
3. Start by Walking with the Dog and Bike
To introduce your dog to the bike, simply walk with him on the left and the bike on the right. You will be in the middle.
This will be an easy way to teach your dog that he still has to heel when the bike is involved. You do not want your dog to be scared of your bike – this would make cycling with dog impossible.
4. Start on-Leash
To teach your dog off-leash control, you will need to teach him on-leash control first. Grab your touring bike and head to your favorite cycling spot with your dog on a leash – you can start with a leash about 6 feet long. Teach your dog various commands and every time he does something right, give him a treat and praise.
Once your dog is good enough in the 6-foot leash, move up to a 30-foot version. Give the dog more freedom progressively and allow him to work harder to make the right choices. Work on the recall again before proceeding to drop the leash behind him and letting her drag it. Once your dog is perfect at dragging the leash, you can let him off-leash.
5. Teach the Dog Turn Commands
Any dog can learn the commands right and left, or simply “turn!”. These are valuable when you need to turn inward without hitting your dog or slowing down too much.
When teaching your dog the turn commands, you may have to slow down to give him time to react. As he becomes used to the commands, his reaction time should improve.
6. Be Extra Stubborn
When you give your dog a command, ensure that he performs the task. You cannot decide mid-way through the command that it is not important or just give up because your dog is not listening immediately.
This will teach your dog that he does not always need to obey the commands. He will learn that he can wait a little while to see if you mean it – when cycling with dog, this can cause accidents.
7. Make the Ride Fun
When biking with dog, ensure he thinks that coming back to you is the best thing he can do. To achieve this, you can make the ride seem like a party.
If your dog is food motivated – and most dogs are – be sure to bring lots of tasty treats. If your dog is toy motivated, you can bring his favorite toy – for example, consider keeping a slingshot ball tied to your mountain bike’s handlebars. In general, come up with a way to use something that your dog loves to keep his attention.
8. Take Care of the Dog’s Paws
Ideally, biking with dog on dirt or grass trails is best – this, however, is not always possible. Chances are, once you put on your mountain bike shorts and cycling overshoes you will explore rough terrain with your dog. While your dog’s pads may be tougher than human feet, they can be sensitive to rough terrain.
If you have to bike on the pavement, be sure to give your dog’s pads enough time to toughen up – you can do this step by step. If possible, try to mix up the terrains so that your furry friend is not always running on pavements.
Dog booties are a good idea. However, dogs are different and some dogs won’t enjoy wearing them. Every time you come back home after a ride, be sure to check your dog’s paws for small cuts, stones, or cactus needles.
9. Pay Attention to Your Dog
Dogs often overexert themselves while trying to keep up with the owner. This can have serious consequences on the dog’s health.
When your dog is running, you have to make sure that you aren’t taking him far out of his comfort zone. Dogs that get extremely overheated can die, and if they are lucky enough to survive, they may have issues with staying cool in the future. If your dog is tired, simply pack your aluminum road bike and give him some time to rest before continuing.
10. Use a Bike Trailer or Basket
If your dog weighs less than 20 pounds or has health issues, consider using a specialty basket when cycling with him or her. A bike basket is one of the easiest ways to go cycling with your dog without having to worry if he/she can keep up. Remember to always use a harness that secures your furry friend in the bike basket so that he cannot jump out and get hurt.
If you have a larger dog or multiple dogs, a bike carrier or trailer may be a good option. While there are various trailer options, the best are the ones that are designed for the sole purpose of carrying dogs. Dog-friendly bike trailers feature inbuilt harness systems that prevent the dog from jumping out and cover that shelters your dog if you are biking in hot weather.
Q: Is It Safe to Bike with Your Dog?
When done correctly, biking with dog should be safe. Before involving your dog in serious biking, ensure that he/she understands and responds to basic commands, be sure to take him for rides on dog-friendly routes, and bring water bottles for hydration. If your dog gets tired, give him time to rest up. This should make the ride safe while ensuring your dog maintains optimal health.
Q: How Do You Ride A Bike with A Dog?
Biking with a dog means one of two things – your dog is riding in a pet basket or a bike trailer or your dog is running alongside your bike. If your dog will be in a bike trailer or basket, ensure that he is safely secured to keep him from jumping out and getting injured. If your dog will be running alongside your budget road bike, ensure that he understands commands and can run without getting hurt.
Q: How Do I Train My Dog to Walk Beside My Bike?
First, you will need to walk with your dog on the left, you in the middle, and the bike to the right. This will familiarize your dog with your beginner mountain bike. Next, when you start riding, start embarrassingly slow with your dog on a leash.
Teach the dog basic commands and increase the length of the leash as your dog gets better at making the right decisions. Finally, drop the leash completely.
Globo Surf Overview
In addition to allowing your dog to explore nature with you, cycling with dog is an ideal way to ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise. To make rides with your dog successful, there are some things that you need to always remember. This guide has everything you need to know to make any ride with your dog safe.