Have you ever seen a cyclist holding a leash? Most of the time, it looks like they have total control of the situation and that both rider and pet are the epitome of good health. Most likely, this didn’t just happen overnight. For bike riding with dogs to be successful and safe, practice and preparation are required.
Before you put the cart before the horse, it may be a good idea to have your dog examined. Aging or senior dogs may not be a good fit for running alongside your bike, and small dogs are equally intolerant of intense exertion. Similarly, short-muzzled dogs, like pugs and bulldogs, can suffer from illness or injury while running.
Lastly, be sure to microchip your pet before setting out.
A Look at Behavior
Bike riding with dogs is much easier (and more fun) once leash training is complete. If your dog has mastered this crucial step – and has a firm grasp on basic obedience – your dream of cycling off into the sunset together may be realized sooner than you think. Check into leashes that are designed specifically for bike riding with dogs; it may make this endeavor less challenging.
A Strange Contraption
If your dog is already fully accustomed to the sight, sound, and smell of your bicycle, introducing them to the idea of bike riding is a breeze. Otherwise, we recommend the following prior to gearing up:
- Attach your dog to their leash.
- Approach the parked bike.
- Reward them if they don’t appear bothered by the bike’s proximity.
- If they’re perturbed, walk away slowly, and reassure your dog using a positive tone.
- Fear of the bike must be dealt with slowly and calmly; creating consistent, non-threatening experiences for your dog is key to helping them overcome their fear.
- Never force your dog to accept the bike or scold them if they don’t adhere to the plan.
- Be patient.
It’s All Good
Even if your dog seems to accept the bike, you should still take it slow when familiarizing them with the bike’s movement and sounds.
- Take a walk while pushing the bike and holding the leash. Reward your dog with treats and praise if they walk with you and pay attention to commands.
- Once your dog seems comfortable with this, mount the bike and ride slowly. If your dog starts to pull you in another direction or doesn’t like walking alongside the bike, go back to walking together with the bike.
- Aim for short rides (about 10-15 minutes). Rest, and then walk home together.
Tips for Bike Riding With Dogs
Consider the following tips and tricks for bike riding with dogs:
- Avoid sharp turns.
- Don’t ride any faster than your dog can comfortably walk/jog (let your dog set the pace).
- Take frequent breaks in the shade for rest, potty breaks, and water.
- Always check paw pads for wear and tear.
- Try to exercise in the early morning or evening hours to avoid sun and heat exposure (not to mention scorching asphalt/concrete).
Bike riding with dogs is a wonderful pastime, but don’t worry if it’s not for your dog. There are other ways to spend outdoor time together, such as a basket or bike trailer. Contact us for more ideas.
Have fun, and stay safe!
The post With These Safety Tips, Bike Riding With Dogs Can be Great! appeared first on West Park Animal Hospital Blog.