A tired dog is a good dog. Exercise is one of the best ways to ensure you’ve got yourself a tired dog. However, there are a lot of dogs that can be hard to tire out with a simple game of fetch, jog around the block, or even swim in the local lake. So let’s take Fido for a bike ride!
I bike my dog about 10 miles a day and his behavior has drastically improved. We have no more crazy “run around the house” spells, no more whining, and no more getting into trouble when he is left alone in the house.
The first thing you will want to do when teaching your dog to run alongside a bike is desensitize your dog to the bike. Introduce your dog to the bike by walking him around it, showing him how the handle bars, wheels, and pedals move and any noises the bike may make. Give him lots of praise and plenty of treats during this stage. Really give him some time to get used to the idea of a bike.
After your pup is completely comfortable standing, sitting and laying alongside a bicycle. The next step is to walk your dog and your bike at the same time. With lots of praise and treats, your dog will learn that walking alongside a bike is no big deal.
The third step will be your first ride with your dog! Hold the leash in your left hand, right hand on the handle bars ready to use the brakes. Have treats in your left hand as well, keeping your dog’s attention on your hand and not on bolting ahead. Take a few slow pedals forward, then stop and praise your dog. Repeat this process several times increasing the distance you travel each time. Soon you and your dog will be biking miles each day!
For me, it took about a month of on and off attempts with the bike and my dog. I began training when my pup Zeke was six months old, however, after a few failed attempts and a little frustration, I decided to wait until Zeke was a bit older to try again. At about a year old, we tried again, with a Gentle Leader, and Zeke did wonderful! Now, we bike about five miles every morning. I find that Zeke loves the opportunity to run and I love that he is fairly calm for the rest of the day.
Some personal pointers:
- Gentle Leaders or other head collars work well to keep your dog from pulling and taking control of the ride.
- Once you’ve mastered the training aspect of biking alongside your dog, be sure to slowly work up to longer distances. Remember this will be a workout for him, so don’t push him too hard too quickly.
- Be sure not to start biking your dog too young. Ask your vet what he recommend as far as how much running your puppy should be doing while he is still growing and developing.
- Watch your dog’s paws! Running on pavement can be rough on a dog’s feet. Watch for articles reviews on paw pad protection coming soon!