Biking with a dog. Is it a good idea? Most dogs really love walking time; it lets them bond with their human friends, meets other dogs, and get rid of the negative energy that lack of exercising causes to them. But biking is a little different, not all dogs like go biking with their friends, or let’s say that not all dogs feel safe, or got the suitable training to accept the idea of biking.
Talking much? Okay. Let me explain with more details.
Putting dogs and bikes together is not the easiest mission in the world. Dogs are super active; they want to go smell this flower, play with that kid, taste that -whatever thrown in the ground-, and say hi to those dogs in the bark.
If he/she did that while you are walking him, won’t be a big deal. But, if this happens while you are on a bike, it is a big deal!
Therefore, before you decide to go biking with your dog; you really need to make sure that you trained him/her well because any mistake here can cause some serious problem for both of you.
First things first!
Not all dogs are meant for biking.
Biking is a great sport for human; it helps them lose weight, avoid heart problems, and many other health issues that are caused by fast food, and overweight issue.
But for dogs, biking with a dog is a different situation; not all dogs are meant for running and advanced training. For instance, dogs with short muzzles, some small dogs, and, of course, senior dogs; that needs a different kind of exercising more suitable to their age, and health condition.
Therefore, you need to know what your dog is capable of, what he likes to do for exercise, and, of course, what he is afraid of; maybe your fog is anxious about bikes, you need to know that, too.
What if your dog is one of those dogs, and you still want to go biking with your dog? Well, there is a solution to everything. All you need is to buy your dog a basket, a suitable basket for your dog’s size, or a trailer and enjoy your time biking with your dog.
But, note that you need to introduce your dog to the basket, or the trailer you got him/her first, so he/she don’t freak out once you start moving.
Remember, this is new for him/her. And dogs, like any other creature, needs time to get used to new things; especially those that move.
So, once you get your dog’s new basket; let him/her sniff around it, touch it, play with it, so he/she can feel safe around it. Then put your dog in the basket or the trailer you got him/her, and move around holding it with your hands.
By doing that your dog will be familiar with the movement, and will look at him/her self and know that it is safe.
Now, you can put the basket or the trailer in the bike, and start moving slowly; step-by-step tell your dog is comfortable, then start moving.
It’s biking with a dog time – Only three steps to go!!
So, I believe that you did all the checks, and found out that your dog is ready for biking.
Congratulations! Now, we can start talking about how to introduce and train your dog, then go biking with a dog.
Introduce your dog to the bike.
Don’t worry, it may take days or weeks, but you are getting there.
So, like any other new thing, you need to let your dog get used to it first. Therefore, let your dog play with the bicycle, get familiar with it, and let him/her see you around it; touching it and sitting on it.
Then, start moving the bike; If he freaked out, stop, let him/her know that it’s safe. Then, try again and slowly move the bike around your dog; if he/she seems comfortable with the idea of the moving bike, that’s great.
Now, let’s start a new thing. We need your dog to be familiar with the idea of biking and be comfortable to go biking with you.
So, prepare your dog’s leash, that you are going to use it in this experience; preferably not a very loose leash, or a very hard one, you need to choose this one wisely.
Then move the bike and the dog with the leash, beside you slowly. Get your dog used to the bike’s sound, how he/she feels when he/she is walking beside the bike.
So far, so good?
Now, attach your dog’s leash to the bike and keep walking beside him/her; slowly and quietly. Observe how your dog reacts when you speed up a little bit if he/she understands this well, now you can ride the bike.
BABY STEPS to biking with a dog!
Don’t run with the bike once you ride it, remember, baby steps tell your dog understands the whole process. If so, you can walk with your bike for a very short distance; then stop, repeat.
Choose your road.
Before we move to the next part of the article, you need to know that choosing the right road is a very essential part of the whole process and a very important factor for its success.
So, never start training your dog biking in a street that is full of cars, or other distraction factors; You need your dog to be fully alerted with what you are showing him/her.
Therefore, you need to choose a quiet place, with no traffic and no loud voices. Moreover, choose a straight road, so your dog doesn’t need to take sharp turns; at least till he/she understands the whole process, and get comfortable to it.
How far you can go when you go biking with a dog?
It depends on how your dog reacts, so if after a couple of miles your dog started to panting heavily; you need to slow down. Your dog is the one who is going to show you if this is so hard, fair, or you can go for more couple of miles; it’s all about him/her, so listen carefully.
This video I found very educational, so you may need to take look at it, it is really a good one.
So, now let me tell you about one of my favorite tips and tricks for training.
We talked before about how to train a dog to walk on a leash, and one of the most important things that we discussed is that you shouldn’t force your dog to do anything.
Today, I don’t want to repeat myself, but I really need to make it clear on why we can’t force our dogs on doing anything, and how we can make them obey our orders using the positive reinforcement instead of the negative reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most successful and effective training methods of all time; simply, all you have to do is praise your dog for listening to you, and don’t punish him for what he didn’t do.
does this mean to let your dog’s bad behavior? Absolutely no. What I mean is you need to make your dog feel good about himself/herself and want to behave so you can be happy with him/her and gives him/her the treats he/she love.
What about bad behavior? You need to ignore it for now, and gradually your dog will start to understand that you don’t like this kind of behavior because you don’t give him/her a treat for, but you like the good behavior and you give a treat for; that will lead to a positive change in your dog’s behavior.
Negative reinforcement is, most probably, the worst thing you can do to your dog; because it will not lead to a positive change in your dog’s behavior, it will only lead to a frightened dog that doesn’t understand what you are punishing him/her for.
Moreover, you will gradually lose the bond between you and your dog, and this is something you will not get back easily.
What is negative reinforcement? It is punishing your dog for bad behavior. Some dog owners punish their dogs by hitting them on the head, shouting at them, or taking away their favorite toys.
How can you use positive reinforcement in teaching dog biking?
Well, it is something new for your dog, so you need to be patient. Teach your dog all that he/she needs to know about biking with treats.
Repeat the order, and once your dog fully understands it; give him/her treat. Don’t force your dog to learn a specific order fast, let him/her understands what you want him/her to do, then he/she will follow your rules; then you can give your four-legged friend the treat he/she aims.
Remember, negative reinforcement will not make the learning process faster, or easier; it will only give your dog a bad experience and will affect badly on your relationship with him/her.
Prepare your dog’s favorite treats, and start teaching him/her about bicycles, and once your dog is ready, start riding your bike.
But, before that, let me show you how to maintain your dog’s health for this experience.
Dog’s well-being comes first!
The first thing you should pay extra attention to is the weather. Dogs paws are so sensitive to the heat, hot pavement can and will burn your dog’s paws.
We have seen it a lot, dog’s paw burnt down because of how hot was the pavement they walked on. Dog’s paw skin is very fragile, so if you decided to go with your dog biking; make sure you avoid biking when the temperatures spike.
You need to choose wisely the time of biking with your dog; it should be during the cooler part of the day, and not for long-distance. And, before you start preparing your dog for biking, you need to put your hand against the pavement for, at least, 7 seconds; if you felt discomfort, so it is not the right time for biking with your dog, or even walking.
Asphalt can get extremely hot in summer, and can easily cause nasty burns to your dog’s paws; those burns hurt a lot.
So, how can you protect your dog’s paws from burning?
Bike with your dog when it’s cool.
Obviously, this is the fastest and the easiest way to avoid any paw’s burning during summer; don’t walk your dog when it’s hot outside. The best time for your dog’s walks or biking with him/her; is in the early morning before the asphalt absorbs any heat, or the early evening when the sun is down, and the asphalt started to get more cooling.
Strengthen your dog’s paws.
Walking your dog has numerous benefits for his mental, and physical health, but one of its most beneficial outcomes of walking your dog is strengthening his/her paw.
However, and as I mentioned before, you need to choose the perfect timing for walking your dog; you can’t let him/her walk on hot asphalt, so you need to walk your dog while the asphalt is cool.
Try dog shoes.
If you tried everything, and you want to take extra care of your dog’s paw. Or, you run short of time, and you need to go out with your dog, now. I believe that these dog shoescould be a perfect solution; to protect your dog’s paws from the asphalt’s heat, and avoid any unpleasant injuries to the paw’s skin.
What is amazing about these dog shoes is that it made of high-quality breathable materials, strong, and really flexible to adjust to fit all dog’s breeds, sizes, and ages.
But, first, you need to make sure that your dog likes his/her new shoes, because you can’t force him/her to wear them, and expect that he/she will enjoy the walking/biking time. Therefore, you need to get your dog used to the dog shoes first.
Check your dog’s paws.
Well, it should be a daily task, not just before or after walking your dog; You need to make sure that your dog’s paw is healthy and clean, you need to check on him to see if there are any signs for burns or cuts.
Not to mention that you need to check on your dog’s nails, too. And that is the next point that we will be talking about, now; to see how long nails affects your dog’s well-being, and how it affects your dog’s walking, and biking time.
How long nails affects dog’s walking and biking time?
Well, dog’s nails are a very influential part of the dog’s paw. So, if there is something wrong with the dog’s nails, or it causes your dog any kind of pain; he/she will not feel comfortable walking on them.
Therefore, you need to make sure that you frequently cut your dog’s nails. Cutting your dog’s nails is a necessary routine to maintain a healthy life for your dog, and to prevent any kind of pain he/she may face it later on.
When you should cut your dog’s nails?
If you heard your dog’s nails clicking on the floor while walking, it is defiantly a sign that your dog’s nails are long and you need to cut it down. Or, you can trim your dog’s nails once a week, or 15 days, to keep them short and clean.
Another noticeable sign for long nails you can’t ignore is that your dog’s walk will be weird, and he/she will start licking and biting his/her nails; that’s is a sign, too.
How to cut your dog’s nails?
Cutting your dog’s nails can be a hard thing to do sometimes, I’ve been there. However, with the time you get used to all the tips and tricks, and it becomes easier.
So, all you need to do is:
1- Calm your dog down.
2- Touch your dog’s nails with the tool you are using for trimming.
3- Start Trimming your dog’s nails gently.
4- Stay away from the quick.
5- Give your Dog’s a treat.
For more information about the trimming process, you can always check the ‘How to trim your dog’s nails’ article, and if you are worried of hurting your dog’s quick; here’s another article about the quick and how to avoid cutting it, especially if your dog’s nails are black.
Moreover, with the right tools, you can easily trim your dog’s nails, and enjoy a great trimming experience for both of you.
Choosing the right trimming tools for your dog’s nails depends on what you, and your dog prefer. So, if you have a strong hand that can easily hold a dog’s nail clipper, and your dog feels more comfortable with silence tools. Then, nail clipper is the one for you.
And, in my opinion, I believe that clipper is a good choice. The c
But if you don’t like the nail clipper scissor, and you prefer using a trimming tool that can easily shorten your dog’s nails without being afraid of cutting the quick. I believe then the grinder is the tool you are looking for.
Keep your dog hydrated when you go biking with a dog
Drinking water is a very important part of your daily tasks for your dog. Dogs need to drink a lot of water to maintain a healthy life and to avoid any unpleasant events in their health. In fact, this rule applies
You need to make sure that your dog gets enough water, with a well-balanced meal, every single time. The main reason why drinking water is important for dogs is that water is responsible for carrying the important nutrition to the whole body, and also water is responsible for very important organs like kidney, liver, …etc, that needs water or it will shut down causing death.
Another important function of water is maintaining a suitable body temperature, that helps your dog cool down; and that’s why your dog drinks a lot of water while playing, exercising, and in summer when the temperature is high.
How much water does dog need every day?
Well, as a rule of thumb, the minimum amount of water that dogs need every day is one ounce per one pound of body weight. However, dogs that exercise will defiantly need more water; therefore, it is extremely important to have with you enough water, for you and your dog, while biking.
Once you see your dog’s energy started to fade, or his mouth appears sticky or dry; give him/her water immediately. And it is better to not wait for those symptoms to appear; ask your dog if he/she needs water every short period of biking, don’t wait to finish.
And if you are wondering how will you give your dog water without his/her bowl; I believe you will find this portable dog bottle very handy, and easy to use.
Now, and after you read this article, I believe that you have enough information to start biking with your dog, and both of you can enjoy a healthy life, and also spend some quality time together.
Still, you have to know that not all dogs are the same, so what applies for your dog whether how fast he/she learned, how easy he/she follows the rules, or even how long he/she can walk; might not apply for your dog. Ana that’s is perfectly fine.
Every dog is impressive just the way he/she is. You will find the strongest dog, the smartest dog, the sweetest dog, and the funniest dog; but all of them are not the same, each dog has his/her own characteristics that only his/her owner understands.
Therefore, understand your dog’s characteristics, know his/her strong and week points, and love your dog the way he/she is.
TO SUM THINGS UP CHECKLIST!
- Know if your doggie is capable of running, or applies to the go biking with a dog; size, weight, and readiness guide.
- Introduce your dog to the bike before attaching his/her leash to it. (✔)
- Take baby steps in training your dog, don’t rush the process of learning. (✔)
- Use positive reinforcement; like treats. (✔)
- Slow down, don’t ever go biking with a dog and start running with the bike. (✔)
- Don’t forget to keep your dog hydrated. (✔)
- Check on your dog several times while biking with a dog; check if he/she is having a trouble breathing, want a rest, the leash is so tight. (✔)
- Stay away of summer hot days. (✔)
- Always, ask the vet if there is something you need to take care of. (✔)
- Get all of the supplies needed for biking with a dog. (✔)
- Make sure that both of you are having fun. (✔)
- Now, you are ready! (✔)
Now, why don’t you tell us more about your dog and your first dog biking experience? I bet there are a lot of funny stories, and a lot to learn as well.
Can’t wait to hear all of your stories!