How to mountain bike with a dog? There are certain steps to follow when training your dog to mountain bike.
You have to start slowly and use certain equipment. These equipment include a dog leash, harness, and many other things.
The steps to teach your dog how to mountain bike with you includes acquainting your dog with the bicycle, teach your dog biking cues, and let your dog run near the bicycle.
What is mountain biking with a dog?
Mountain biking with a dog is a form of exercise in which your dog follows you while you are riding a bike.
It is a sport where your dog probably will enjoy because of the freedom that they get from being with you while running all the way that you go.
Things you will need before letting your dog follow you in mountain biking
However, before you can let your dog run along by you by their side, there are certain things that you need to take into consideration.
You have to first check with your dog if they are in top health through going to the vet for a checkup.
Also, you have to make sure that your dog doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions.
The other thing that you should check is the age of your dog. If they are too old, this exercise will tire them easily.
While if they are young, this will have more energy to run around and follow you while mountain biking.
The other thing that you have to take into consideration is the weight of your dog.
If they are overweight, you will need to start with an exercise that isn’t strenuous like walking so your dog doesn’t get really tired.
Dogs who aren’t overweight can learn how to tag along while you are mountain biking.
Equipment that you will need
A bicycle dog leash
You will need a bicycle dog leash that attaches to your bike and keeps your dog away from the bicycle’s wheels.
It is important when first training your dog that you do so; they will become accustomed to tag along while you are riding the bicycle.
A dog harness
You will also need a dog harness which you don’t attach it to the collar because it can be dangerous.
Instead, you got to attach the lead to a fitted body harness where it won’t cause it to be easily broken.
You can also get a collar that has lights in it or you can use a light that attaches to the collar.
This will make it easier for your dog to see clearly in the dark and will make it easier for you to find your dog.
A dog first aid kit
You can also get a dog first aid kit so you can treat your dog if they are injured while running or walking.
It is important to always take care of your dog so they are always healthy.
An extra dog leash
You can also get an extra dog leash so you can use it whenever your dog isn’t attached to the bike.
This is mainly used while you are walking alongside with your dog.
Water and a bowel
You have to make sure that you have enough water for both you and your dog.
The advantage of having a bowel is that you can put in it water for your dog to drink in it.
Dog boots are can protect your dog’s feet from harsh and hot weather conditions.
Your dog’s paw can also suffer from cold weather and make their paws cold.
Waterproof rain gear
This waterproof rain gear will help protect your dog from harsh conditions such as rain falling.
So your dog won’t suffer from a cold.
Cold weather gear
This gear will keep your dog warm when the weather is cold.
Steps on how to mountain bike with a dog
Step one: Acquaint your dog with the bike
Introduce the bicycle to your dog. To do so, let your dog sniff and become acquainted with the bicycle.
Then, slowly while dragging the bicycle begin walking your dog with a leash and give them treats for walking without pulling the leash.
It will take several sessions for your dog to get comfortable while walking near the bicycle.
it is important that you don’t rush your dog and give them space and time to get used to the bicycle.
When your dog is comfortable with a bicycle, you can begin riding the bicycle along with your dog.
Step two: Teach your dog biking cues
After your dog is completely comfortable with running along your side, you can start teaching your dog cues for used for biking.
Some of these cues include cues for slowing down, bringing their attention to you when you want to ask them something, and making turns.
To make it easier, you could teach your dog these cues while walking them. This is before you actually take them along mountain biking.
Always teach your dog cues through simple words so they don’t. An example, you could use simple words such as “this way” for them to take a turn.
You could also teach them the cue “watch” where the cue is mainly for looking at you when you want to ask them something.
To make training effective, you must always reward your dog with treats so they can easily pick up the cues.
Step three: Let your dog get used to running alongside your bicycle
Use paths that are soft and grassy. Make sure that the paths are don’t have any obstacles so your dog can run easily without any trouble.
First, you have to walk your dog for a short period of time for the first week or two.
As they get used to it, you can increase the speed until your dog will run for short amounts.
Gradually, after their ten minutes of walking, let your dog run while always observing them.
Observe them for signs of tiredness such as panting excessively, losing coordination, drooling heavily, and slowing down.
If they show any of these signs, let them take a rest immediately and provide them with water.
Remember during the break to always provide give your dog lots of praise for doing a good job.
Step four: Practice bicycle leash safety
Never attach a dog leash to your bicycle frame or hold the leash while you are running with your dog.
You got to connect your dog to a leash that is attached to your bicycle baton. By doing so, your dog will not fall down or pull the leash away.
It is important to not walk away from the bicycle while your dog is connected to the leash.
The reason is that the bicycle could fall on your dog if they run or try to pull away from the leash; the action may hurt your dog.
Ultimately, it can traumatize your dog causing them to not want to be around bicycles.
Tips on how to mountain bike with your dog
Wait until your dog is old enough
It is important to wait until your dog is 14 months of age before taking them out for mountain biking.
Any age below this will definitely cause them problems such as lifelong health conditions like the destruction of joints and bones.
However, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have any form of exercise.
Puppies, in their early ages, can benefit from short walks that are under a mile on soft ground.
Don’t feed your dog just before the ride
It is important that you don’t feed your dog on the day of the ride.
Rather, you have to feed them the night before. This is very important because dogs take about 12 hours to digest and get energy from the food.
If they do run after they just have eaten, it can cause them ulcers in their stomach because the food isn’t digested.
So what if they are hungry after the ride? If they are, you can give them food after 30 to 40 minutes from the ride.
Let your dog warm-up
Give your dog a warm-up before tagging along in mountain biking.
This happens through walking your dog and letting them jog lightly.
Ride in a controlled environment
If it is their first ride, use a controlled environment so your dog can walk and run around the bicycle without obstacles hindering them.
Be alone with your dog
The second tip, if it is your dog’s first ride, is that you have to let your dog walk or run while you two are alone without any company so your dog gets used to it.
Also, keep distractions to the minimum so your dog doesn’t get distracted while you communicate with them.
Let your dog follow directions
Ask your dog where you want them to be while you are riding the bicycle.
Always make sure that they are behind you so they don’t get injured and are at the same pace as you.
If it happens that they are in front of you, then use a corrective command that tells them to get behind you.
Expose your dog to other people on bicycles
Because mostly you may ride in groups of people on bicycles, you have to get your dog to understand that when they are running they must not run after others on bicycles.
Instead, they got to run near you without running in front of you.
But how do you achieve this, you could easily achieve this by riding the bicycle while your dog is on a leash and correcting them along the way.
Keep your dog hydrated
While your dog is running or walking, they will definitely need to stay hydrated.
You can let them stay hydrated by giving them water whenever they are thirsty.
So make sure to have bottles of water and bowel to put in it their water.
Take your dog to places that are not crowded
Never take your dog out in a trail that is so crowded. Your dog will not know how to freely run and walk.
They may get injured while running around. In addition, both you and your dog will not enjoy the ride.
Know the signs of overheating
Dogs get overheated in a way that is different from us, human beings.
They often curl up their tongue, drool a lot or don’t at all, have glazed eyes, and may walk unsteadily.
However, what happens if your dog becomes overheated? What should you do? This brings us to the next tip.
Cool your dog down
You have to stop every 15 to 20 minutes to monitor your dog for overheating symptoms.
If your dog happens to be overheated, you have to act immediately. There is no time to take them to the vet.
You have to force your dog to drink water. Don’t give them ice-cold water or bathe them in ice-cold water. This will ultimately lead them to a shock.
When to start mountain biking with your dog off-leash?
Before taking your dog mountain biking while off-leash, you have to make sure that your dog has all the obedience commands.
If your dog doesn’t listen to obedience commands, they will quickly annoy other bicycle riders by stepping in front of them.
Always keep your dog close to you so they won’t head in front of you and you can ride your bicycle comfortably.
Once your dog becomes comfortable with this, you can let them off-leash.
When your dog is off-leash, you have to make sure that they are in close proximity toward the bicycle but are not too close.
Also, your dog must be able to respond to a command that you ask them when they are to close to the bicycle so that they would move away a bit.
Dos and don’ts when mountain biking with your dog
Train your dog to obey commands
You have to train your dog to obey commands so they will be able to listen to you while mountain biking.
It’s important for them to obey your commands so they won’t wander off alone and get lost.
Don’t take your dog for a ride while temperatures are high
You have to not take your dog out while temperatures are high either really hot or really cold.
The best type of weather to take out your dog is when the temperatures are cool.
Keep your dog hydrated always
By keeping your dog hydrated, you ensure that they will be healthy and won’t collapse.
So you have to bring with you water and bowel so they can drink from it.
Since your dog will be in the wood most of the time. It is important that you give them a collar with tags in case they get lost so you can easily find them.
Don’t ride in crowded trails
Don’t let your dog ride in crowded trails as there could be potential conflicts occurring.
For example, people may be afraid of dogs so they wouldn’t want them near them. Another example is a conflict may happen between the dog and another pet.
Don’t ride too far
It is important to know your dog’s limit when running. So that you don’t overstrain them.
There are some breeds who are better suited for long distances. However, you have to be careful while your dog is running regardless of the breed.
Clean up your dog’s poop
You also have to clean up your dog’s poop along the way. This ensures that the trail is kept clean for other riders to continue their ride.
Mistakes to avoid when mountain biking with a dog
1.) Not being prepared with the necessary equipment
The first mistake is that you aren’t prepared with the equipment needed for mountain biking.
Make sure that you have all the equipment needed such as a bowl for water, food, dog leash, and many other things.
2.) Not planning your route
You’ve got to know the route that you are going to walk in so you don’t get lost.
It’s important to know the route so you can continue the trip smoothly.
3.) Not letting your dog wear dog boots
You’ve got to always let your dog wear dog boots while you and your dog are mountain biking.
Your dog may have their paws worn out and it may bleed if they aren’t wearing boots.
Mountain biking with a dog is a real adventure because you enjoy your time with them.
It requires that you are equipped with everything that is needed for the ride. Start slow and don’t rush your dog.
It is important to use positive reinforcement to teach your dog how to mountain bike with you.
Always take care of your dog’s safety by making sure that the leash is connected properly to the bicycle, keep your dog hydrated, and never overexercise your dog.