Outdoor Dog Activities: How to Introduce Your Dog to Biking
Teaching a Dog to Run with a Bike
One of my favorite things to see is dog parents spending quality time with their dogs. This quality time can be anything—pet massage, playing interactive dog games, going for casual strolls, or even taking a dog on a bike ride!
Last year I saw a wonderful senior riding his bike with a sweet senior golden retriever. It made my heart melt. I was very impressed that both these two were outside, enjoying each other on a nice bike ride. However, the man was holding the dog’s leash and the dog was not securely attached to the bike, which can actually be dangerous.
Dog and personal safety are always a priority in my life. I want to ensure both Dexter and myself are staying safe, yet having fun. When teaching your dog to go for a bike ride, it is important that you use a product designed to attach to your bike. If you hold your dog’s leash while riding, it can cause you to accidentally drop your dog’s leash, turn in the wrong direction, or fall. Therefore, I highly suggest purchasing a dog bike attachment.
Before your first bike ride with your dog: Please talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is physically able to go for a bike ride, and discuss any precautions or limitations he may have. Dexter The Dog, as you know, has some limitations. So our rides are slow, short, and sweet.
Stretching first: This goes for both your dog and you. This is exercise, folks—it’s important to stretch and warm your muscles. You can gently manipulate your dog’s legs and body to stretch, or do some controlled tricks such as bow and spin.
Fill up, but not too much: You and your dog should be fully hydrated before you take your dog for a bike ride. This goes for some energy for fuel. But, please don’t scarf down a big meal before your ride then take off—that won’t be good for either one of you, and can cause bloat in your dog.
Proper equipment is essential: This point will be a bit of a trial and error, depending on your dog’s needs and the way you bike with your dog. Dog boots may be a great option for some dogs to help the wear and tear on a dog’s pads. That said, they can also be cumbersome and actually cause tripping. I highly recommend taking it easy if you start to see any dog pad injuries. Remember, my first concern is my dog’s safety.
Harnesses vs. collars: You are probably aware that I promote walking a dog on a harness to help prevent any neck or spine injury. But it is important to read the dog bike attachment’s manual to ensure you choose the proper collar or harness for your bike ride. When choosing a dog harness for biking, you need to make sure your dog has full range of motion. You do not want to use a dog harness that limits your dog’s natural gait.
Introducing your dog to running with a bike: I feel this step is very important, and for some dogs it may actually take some time and practice. It really depends on the dog’s confidence and focus on how long this step may actually take. The last thing you want to do is attach your dog to your bike and have him panic or see a squirrel and then both of you are on the ground. Go through each step below at your dog’s pace. When he seems comfortable, go to the next step.
- Attach your dog bike attachment to your bike.
- Introduce your dog to your bike. Hold your bike and allow your dog to sniff and investigate.
- Move your bike back and forth and allow your dog to check it out. Be careful not to run him over!
- Attach your dog to the bike attachment and walk your bike. When your dog is ready, it’s time to go for your maiden voyage.
- Take your first slow dog bike ride. Make sure it’s a pace your dog can do comfortably. Talk with your dog and encourage him to be in position. Maybe bike only a few minutes at a time. This depends on your dog’s activity and comfort level.
Voila! You now have a biking companion. As with any dog exercise, please make sure you bring plenty of water, don’t bike on hot pavement, and check your dog’s pads after each trip. If your dog does not seem too interested in biking, that’s okay! It’s not for every dog, so look for another fun dog activity. Now, go play!
Do you bike with your dog? Tell me in the comments.
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