Biking with your Dog 101
Biking with your Dog 101
It’s officially springtime again! At Off-leash K9, we think this is the perfect time to tune up the bike and get out for warmer weather expeditions with your pup. And biking with them? Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, it’s always helpful to review the basics.
Vet-Approved Cycling Options
The first step towards getting on the pavement with your pup is to determine that they’re healthy enough to keep up with you while you bike. Young puppies and older dogs, or those with healthy issues like arthritis, are not ideal candidates for run-along bike rides. Ultimately, it is best practice to consult with your vet to make sure your dog is ready for running next to your bike. And even when you get the OK, always keep both your health and theirs in mind, staying aware of signs of overheating and exhaustion.
Is something keeping your dog from running alongside you? Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean they completely out of commission! Dog trailers and baskets are both great options for a canine companion to hang out in while you peddle. Just make sure both are comfortable, stable, well-ventilated, and harness-friendly (like a seatbelt!).
If your vet signs off on your pup’s health, it’s time for step two: picking out the proper equipment. Do not hold your dog with a traditional leash and collar while you ride – it is dangerous for both you and your pet. For the safest experience, PetMD (a veterinarian-reviewed site) recommends the following tools:
- A specially designed, flexible leash with a metal stick that attaches to your bike, keeping your dog away from the wheels and spokes where tangling (and crashing) is a liability. Here’s an option to check out.
- A harness, not collar, with reflectors, ensuring your dog is safely attached to the leash by his whole body, not his neck, and can be seen by those around you.
- A small dog first aid kit for any nicks and cuts (you might already have one that you take with you on hikes!).
- A transportable water dish for hydration and extra water for your pup.
- Booties to protect their paws.
- Extra reflective tape, leashes, and lights for safety, as needed.
Biking Compatibility and Training
Now that you’re stocked up with equipment, it’s time to assess you and your dog’s compatibility for coordinated exercise. It is crucial that they are attentive to you and consistently obey your commands for a smooth and safe biking experience. Ultimately, this means that the most important tool in your toolbox (outside of those listed above) is a healthy, commanding relationship with your pup.
If you’re not quite ready to try biking together on your own yet, call Off-leash K9 Training! While not included in the standard program, Off-leash K9 has taught individual dogs how to run alongside a bike at the client’s request – see how it works for yourself by checking out this video of our friend Ike!
Handsome fella “Ike” came to us with a fun request, to learn how to run/walk next to a bike! We think this Alaskan Malamute has picked it up really well 🤗
Posted by Off-Leash K9 Training – Colorado on Thursday, April 18, 2019
Even if you don’t opt into this specific training request, our standard training helps make sure you can keep your dog safe while out on the bike path. Use your commands while cycling (“heel,” for example, is a good one here). If your dog is in tune with you, their safety and attentiveness will keep you both safe and in-sync.
Remember: Baby Steps
The final tip we have to offer? Slow and steady always wins! Take baby steps as you need. Whether it’s getting your pup used to her harness or getting them used to running alongside you before you even take the bike out, it’s crucial that you are comfortable and in-tune with each other. Take time to practice. When you start off biking with your dog, take short trips on flat, smooth surfaces to make sure you and pup have the basics down. Don’t be afraid to peddle slow to get the hang of it (baby steps!) before ramping up to full, heart-racing trips.
And there you have it! Get out there and enjoy the spring with your best companion. And for training, tips, or refreshers to keep you and your dog in tune, contact Off-leash K9 today!