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Biking with your bully

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:30 am
by Red
I love it, it is a great excercise for the dogs.All the dogs here are trained to the bike workout, it is easy to teach them and fun, especially when they are charging a hill at full speed and you pray nothing crosses your way!
Which here means squirrels and jack rabbits.One of the requirements to enjoy full speed biking is to be nuts cause there is always the risk of falling.Yup, sooner or later it might happen.
If anyone is interested I'd like to share how we enjoy it.
Before you start biking you must make sure that dog's body is to be able to be stressed, knees , joints,hips and heart have to be in good condition.You can always trot your dogs a little and do a light workout but mine like to push it, especially two of them, so I have to make sure I am not harming them in any way.

Below is a pic of my equipment and Jack my foster will be the model :) :

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-good and comfy harness, I use one from CD Pit's.
-solid and heavy duty hardware such as climbing hooks, strong leash and attachment.
-protections
-well, yeah...bike and dog! The bikes has to have good brakes, especially the one you use more, depending what side you hold the leash on.
I also take along a cell phone since I am mostly alone and out in the middle of nowhere and something to defend my dog from loose dogs.If you encounter a loose dog, stop and get off the bike.Your dog moving might encourage the chase.I don't want to be on the bike if my dog is attacked.I get him off my belt and hold the leash and reach for what I carry if the dog has less than friendly intentions.

What I am wearing is a skijoring belt, what is used by mushers in snow sports, with bugee cord and quick release hook.I wear it because I do not want my dogs to ever leave me if we have an accident.The dog is attached to me, if I fall he/she can't go anywhere.My dogs will go after a rabbit that just gotten between their legs or, worse, I don't want anything to happen when I am on a road with traffic.They know a stop command but I don't expect them to totally ignore a small animal, if they get loose.
On top of the belt the dog is attached to a leash with climbing locking hook.While I have both hand on the bike's bar on trails I do keep the leash in traffic for control since cars are passing by.
The leash is short, a little longer than a traffic lead.There are springers to use, a friend gave me one but no way I trust it to hold my dogs.I prefer to have a solid hold of the leash.

-protections for yourself.Falling at full speed isn't nice.I had one single accident in 4 years that I've been biking with dogs.A squirrel came out from under a bush, ran right under Ice's legs and moved to the right, in front of the bike.I keep the dog on the left so Ice slammed her body into the front tire and crossed my way a little.My fault because I had a new leash on and did not make sure it was exactly the lenght of what I used before.I got quite some road rashes and little rocks stuck in my butt cheek and left leg.Not pleasant.
So elbows protections and knee protections are a good idea.I don't always wear the knee protections but I should.

Where the dog has to stay:

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On my left side or slighlty behind (still on the left), not on heel but close enough.I want the dog to keep some distance cause I might move quickly sideways to avoid a rock or hole and I don't want to slam into the dog.The dog's head can never pass my front tire.If there is a dog or a small animal on my right the tire is what stop the dog from crossing my way.I use the tire to move the head away, when the dog is at the beginning of training, or gently push the dog's body with my foot.They know to move away when the tire turns their way.I also teach a "left" command to make short turns.

Teach a dog to move along with the bike...
I start mine with flat collar or harness, depending on the dog.For those who have some basic commands and generally stay near me I start with the harness.Those who needs a bit more directions are started with a flat collar.No choke chains, prongs, haltis. If the dog is drivey don't be surprise if he charges the tire.Tigger put a whole trough two of them, as soon as we started to move.Also some dogs get very excited so they redirect on the tire, it takes some time to teach them that you need both tires to go anywhere! They need to learn to control themselves.Some treadmill time or a walk to tire them up a bit is a good idea.Also not moving till the dog chill out works as well.If you have a "Tigger" be prepared to vocalization , bucking and "dig" to move.
With the flat collar on I guide the dog to follow the bike.First on a straight line, then I change direction and encourage the dog to follow, with voice or even treats.Most dogs will pull away, not knowing what to do.It is fine, pull gently and praise when they stay in the right position.Biking is a way to release energy so I am not asking full obedience but safety.No potty time when on a bike, no sniffing or drag back.When the dog start catching up and show excitement I introduce a command to move forward and pull.I use "hike".I do let the dogs pull, on command.30 minutes at full speed pulling me and the bike is certainly useful.They also learn "easy" to slow down and a stop command.
If your dog is afraid of the bike put a leash on and walk him, holding the bike next to you.Circle around him closer and closer and praise a good response.


If you have good balance you won't mave major problems guiding the dog and stay on the bike.It helps to do some exercises like make figures with the dog walking.Circles, eights, whatever.If you can do that it is much easier with some speed.

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Trying to balance of the frigging bike while Jack walks!

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Trails are best cause sand and dirt are easier on knees and joints.I bike on roads too but if that is all you bike on remember that paws will get torn a bit.Especially at the beginning, till the pads get tougher.Always check the dog's paws.My Tigger came home a couple of time with half pad torn off cause she is insane for the bike and won't stop.I saw a trail of blood and realized what happened.Now I check often if I am on asphalt.
Mostly, we are on trails, safer and more fun.

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Especially since we have nice places where to go here, with nobody to bother us.

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Always bring water for the dog.Usually I take two bottles with me on a back pack, especially in the summer.Today hubby came along so he carried the water.

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Pay attention not to push the dog too much.Jack lets me know when he gets tired but Tigger will keep pulling the bike till she collapses.If you have a dog like that slow down, trot, and make the dog catch his breath.Start with short sessions.Don't rely on the dog to show you he is tired, Tigger doesn't and would kill herself if I don't stop her.When you get home walk the dog a little, give some water (a little at a time) and check the paws.
Tigger is a "digger" so her front paws always need care.I use a product used on sled dogs and I apply it twice a week and after the workout.
If it is warm enough I spray the dog with the water hose, to cool he down.
With a cooperative dog like Jack it is a breeze!I swear he is well, he just rolls on his back when I have to do these things.

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Having a talk with Jack, before we start

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Of course, some cuddling time for being a good boy and not killing mommy! lol

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Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:24 am
by rgyoung777
Hey, cool! Thanks for taking the time to post all of that. :thumbsup:

I think I'll make it a sticky!

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:30 am
by concreterose
Very nice! :thumbsup:

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:09 pm
by pblove
Excellent, thank you! :thumbsup:

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:22 pm
by Sean W.
Nice. :)

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:20 pm
by biznutz
:)

Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:32 am
by Bustersmama
VERY useful information and great photographs as well.


Of course, some cuddling time for being a good boy and not killing mommy!


Awe, Mommy sounds so good. (opposed to foster mom)

Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:35 am
by jaygirl
Good information, thanks.

Lucky dog and lucky you that live in such a mild climate.

Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:38 am
by NatX
I had no idea you were writing a post on biking with your dog. I just submitted a post on general exercise available for pet owners. So hopefully that will make it as a sticky as well.

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:50 pm
by Scooch&Beau
Awesome post! Now if I could only afford a bike :crybaby:

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:32 pm
by malibufishnsurf
I do that with the dog but I ride a skateboard, and have a surfboard under the other arm!

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:21 am
by ickysticky74
Thanks for the Info
I have seen that they sell things that you can attach to your bike. Have you used one before?

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:20 pm
by da kang3
thanks a lot for the info, i have been thinking of buying a bike to start biking with my boy. and now i have a place to study on how to and not to do it :thumbsup: thanks

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:21 am
by Red
I have seen that they sell things that you can attach to your bike. Have you used one before?


That would be the Springer or some other products.I tried one but I do not trust it for my dogs.I prefer to have them attached directly to me and also be able to grab the leash when needed.Folks use it and have no problem, I just don't see myself relying on it.

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:58 pm
by heather
Do you think that works better than the product they sell for this, like the springer?

Thanks for sharing that!!