If you have a dog you may know it's hard to get them enough exercise sometimes. Even when you are walking them, they may need a healthier dose of exercise in the form of jogging or running.
If you don't feel like jogging or running with your dog then you might want to try cycling with them! It may seem scary at first as you don't want to injure your dog, your bike or yourself. With proper training you can be riding around with your dog in no time!
The first step is to walk your dog with your bike on a few separate occasions. You will wan to do this until your dog has grown accustomed to your bike and is no longer afraid of it.
Next you have to get your dog sensitized to a bike passing by while it listens to your commands. Get a friend to ride a bike in a park. Bring your dog about 50 feet from the bike path. The goal is to get your dog to focus on your commands and not the bike while it passes. If your dog listens to your commands give it a treat and move closer to the path. Keep moving closer until the dog ignores your commands and pays attention to the bike, at this point move back out again until your dog is listening to you again.
The ultimate goal here is to get your dog to get as close to a passing bike as possible while still listening to your commands. This step takes patience and time, but it is a crucial step in getting your dog to ride with you.
Now the last step before attempting to ride with your dog is to make sure you are giving appropriate commands and your dog knows those commands. I recommend (1) sit, (2) slow, (3) left, and (4) right. Mastering these commands will ensure your dog knows what to do when cycling with you. Practice these commands while walking with the bike and the dog.
Here are 5 tips for when you do decided to try cycling with your dog:
1. Use a dog leash/harness made for cycling.
There are many products out there made specifically for cycling with dogs. Gamsby-Kesling and BikerDog both have products for this purpose. I prefer the leases that allow your dog to run behind you. What ever you do choose, the most important factor is that your dog is comfortable and secure.
2. Start with short rides and low speeds.
The most preferable pace for your dog is a trot, where the dog can gently jog along and it's either pulling away or struggling to keep up.
3. Dog Carriers
An option to riding with your dog is a dog carrier. These can be great tools to ride with your dog, but they won't be getting the exercise. If you are going to use a carrier make sure your dog is well trained and comfortable in the carrier before ever riding with it.
4. Beware of weather conditions.
If it's too hot or too cold your dog won't fare well. You need to make sure that your dogs sensitive paw pads aren't hurt, or that your dog isn't getting overheated due to poor weather conditions.
5. Positive encouragement and feedback helps!
Make sure you are enthusiastic and give your dog encouragement when they are riding with you!