When you think about the activities that you can do with your dog, your list might look like this: walk, run, play fetch. With such a short list, you probably cycle through these pretty quickly. Why not shake things up a bit and introduce your dog to something new? Spring is a wonderful time to ride your bike and the best part is that your dog can come with you. It's the perfect way to bond and reconnect with your pooch and enjoy that fresh spring air together.
Can Any Dog Bike?
It makes sense that a healthy dog that's used to walking, running, or hiking is a great candidate for a bike mate. But what if your dog is small and doesn't need much exercise? Don't worry! There are a few different ways that will allow your dog to join you so you don't have to leave that wagging tail and adorable little face behind.
- Bike Leash - For an active, healthy dog, a bike leash is your answer. Bike leashes hook on the side of a bike and attach to your dog's padded harness so she's running right along side of you. It's designed to control your dog in case she pulls in a different direction and ensures the safety of both dog and rider. NEVER bring your dog on a regular leash that will leave you with just one hand on the handle bars and the other holding your dog's leash. This can be extremely dangerous. Bike leashes were designed to free your hands so you can drive the bike properly.
- Riders & Baskets - For your small dog that doesn't really need much exercise, you can still bond with them on a bicycling trip by using a pet rider or a basket. Baskets attached to the front handle bars and have a harness or strap that keeps your furry passenger hooked safely and secured. Riders also work the same way, although these can be attached to the front or back of a bike and also include a safety harness.
Once you've determined the best way to bring your dog along, it's time to get her acclimated to being with the bike. Show her how you are attaching the leash to your bicycle or set her in the rider to get her used to it. For the initial few outings, just walk your bike. When she starts to become comfortable, hop on the bike and go slowly at first. Plan on just going around the block the first time, followed by one or two more blocks as she adjusts to this new activity. This is also a good time to make sure that your dog is properly secured to the bike so there aren't any mishaps.
If the biking is going well and she's not afraid or stressed out, you can then begin lengthening your bike trips and moving along at a more appropriate pace.
There are some things to keep in mind when you have your dog with you on the bike so that you both have a safe and enjoyable experience.
1. Whenever possible, use bike trails or roads that are less busy. If this isn't a nearby option, use a bike rack and drive the two of you to a nearby park or trail.
2. Avoid extraordinary heat. In the warm summer months, reserve biking outings for early mornings or early evenings before it is getting dark.
3. Bring a small pack of necessary items, including water, treats, a cell phone, and your vet's number just in case of an emergency. Make sure that your dog has all of his tags and other identification.
Just you and your dog on the open road with the wind at your backs and the sunshine on your faces is a healthy and fun way to bond with your dog. Dogs are always overjoyed to be going anywhere with their humans, so finding new ways to spend time together (like biking) is bound to bring the two of you even closer together. Show your best friend just how much you love her and hop on that bike!