Maybe you are a cyclist who also likes puppies. You are probably a dog lover who wants to learn to ride a bike. Is it possible to combine the two and ride a bike with your dog?
Cycling with your dog implies either your dog is in a bike trailer or pet basket, or your dog is running alongside your bike. For certain humans and dogs, the latter may be an excellent form of exercise. Stick with the bike trailer or basket for smaller dogs or canines who are averse to exercise. In any case, it is critical to do things correctly.
In this article, we will concentrate on the most common family pet, a dog, for clarity. Due to their difficulty to travel great distances at once and/or be transported securely by bicycle, cats and other sorts of pets will be briefly examined.
Types of Dogs
When cycling, dogs generally fall under two categories:
- Basket/ Trailer Dogs, and
- Running Dogs
Some dogs were not designed to run. Short-muzzled dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, as well as senior dogs, exercise-intolerant dogs, and some small dogs, are simply not built for running. They can overheat, become exhausted, become ill, or become injured. You should get a bike trailer or a pet basket if you still want to bring your dog along on your bike ride. Make sure you get a trailer or basket that is big enough for your dog to move around in but small enough for it not to fall out.
Use positive reinforcement to introduce your dog to the basket or trailer. Make sure that the first few rides are gentle and slow. Also, make sure the basket or trailer is securely attached to your bike.
If you decide to start letting your dog run alongside your bicycle, be sure it is a safe pastime for him. Keep in mind that your dog will need to run the entire time while you are riding your bike.
Even if your dog looks to be in good condition, you should get her examined by a veterinarian before beginning a new exercise regimen, such as jogging—which is exactly what this is. You will want to make sure your dog is not too old or too young for long exercises, and that she does not have any underlying health issues that may be exacerbated by vigorous activity. If your dog is overweight, jogging is not the greatest way to start a new exercise program. Before graduating to longer, more rigorous activities, such as running alongside a bike, you should start your dog on a daily walking program.
How to Choose Safe Dog Biking Gear
You may purchase the required materials to keep your dog safe once your dog has been certified for activity. The following items are necessary when riding with a dog:
- A bicycle dog leash that connects to your bike and keeps your dog from getting into the wheels (as opposed to holding the lead up by the handlebars)
- A reflective dog harness
- Reflective tape (instead of purchasing a reflective harness, reflective tape may be used to your dog’s present harness)
- Blinking lights for your dog and bike (you may buy a collar with lights built-in or use a light that clips into your dog’s collar)
- A tiny first-aid kit for dogs
- When your dog is not linked to the bike, you will need an extra leash.
- Bottles of water for you and your dog
- Dog boots (hiking-grade footwear that protects your dog’s feet from sharp objects and slick, hot, or cold surfaces)
- Rain gear that is both reflective and waterproof. Learn more about "Tips On Cycling In The Rain" .
- In case of adverse weather, put on your cold-weather gear.
How to Begin Biking With a Dog in a Safe Manner
If your dog has never been around a bike before, begin by allowing her to examine it when it is stationary. Then, gently begin walking the bike with your dog on a leash alongside you, rewarding her with goodies as she keeps up with you.
Do not expect your dog to feel comfortable strolling near the bike after only a few practice sessions. You may climb on and start riding after your dog is comfortable walking near the bicycle.
If you have determined that jogging is the perfect activity for your dog, the next step is to teach him how to ride a bike. Some dogs will be okay when riding on a moving bicycle, while others may be terrified.
It might take days or weeks for your dog to walk beside you as you ride your bike. Begin with your dog on a leash and a parked bike. If the dog appears to be scared, step away from the bicycle and praise it until it no longer shows symptoms of anxiety. You will need to gradually get him closer to the bike while avoiding a frightening reaction.
You can start moving the bike gently once your dog is comfortable with it. Gradually increase your speed until your dog can walk alongside you on a leash while you ride your bike. Reward the dog for being calm and keeping its attention on you. Then, start riding the bike slowly while holding your dog’s leash.
Begin with a slow to moderate pace for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your dog’s reaction to the increased exercise. Every few days, lengthen the ride by 5 to 10 minutes. If your dog is slowing down on its own or begins to limp, it is time to take a break. After that, take a break and walk home. Increase your pace as your dog can tolerate it.
Bicycle Leash Safety
Use a bike leash assembly instead of a standard leash. Holding a standard leash and connecting a regular leash straight to your bicycle’s frame is unsafe.
You may lose your balance and tumble if your dog pulls you in a different direction, even if it is only a little. The leash can become tangled in the bicycle spokes.
Most bike baton attachments for biking with dogs have a spring system that absorbs pulling impulses to protect both the dog and the rider. The baton assembly includes a unique leash.
If you must stop, do not walk away from your bike while your dog remains connected. If the bike falls on your dog, he may be injured, or he may become panicked and try to flee the clattering, falling bike, dragging it after him. This sort of event might make your dog fearful of being near bikes in the future.
Teach Your Dog Cycling Cues
After you and your dog have gotten comfortable with your practice “runs,” you can start teaching your dog the bike cues. Cues for slowing down, turning, halting, and returning your dog’s attention to you when she is distracted by anything are among them.
These “learn-as-you-go” cues should be given to your dog while you’re walking him, then transferred to bicycling after he learns them.
Choose simple phrases for each cue and reinforce your dog’s behavior with goodies. You can simply say, this way, in an enthusiastic voice and whistle before making a turn to train your dog to change directions, then reward her with a treat when she falls in line alongside you.
Do not forget to provide lots of cold, fresh water for your dog while you are out jogging. If you do not have any water with you, run in a public location where both humans and dogs may drink. High speeds and abrupt bends should be avoided. Maintaining a reasonable speed that allows your dog to trot or jog is beneficial for him.
Leave your dog at home on hot days. Consider taking your dog for a walk early in the morning before the heat of the day sets in. Seek medical help right away if your dog displays indications of heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Also, do not ride your dog on hot asphalt. It is too hot for your dog’s paws if the ground is too hot for you to touch.
When riding with your dog, you should follow the same fundamental principles as when walking with him: pick up after him, keep him under control, respect others, and pay attention. When running alongside your bike, it is equally vital to have your dog on a leash. To make things simpler for both of you, consider using a bike leash. When in doubt, opt for short, moderate rides until your dog’s stamina allows for long rides.
For other pets, using a bike basket will be the best option. Your best bet is to avoid putting animals above 25lbs in a basket. Cycle at moderate speeds to avoid frightening reactions and as usual, take hygiene equipment with you. This is to prevent any unforeseen accident.
Our canine companions will always be man’s best friends. We hope that this guide has shed some light on what is needed to make cycling a pleasurable experience for both you and your pooch.