Going by bike: a different way to exercise your dogs?
What do you do when you want to save your poor aching feet, but want your dogs to have a bit of a run on a Sunday morning? You go for a bike ride of course! We only do this periodically and always VERY carefully and slowly, but it is nice to cycle round the lake with the dogs from time to time.
We start by taking the dogs into the park that surrounds the lake, then off we go! Running five dogs with two bicycles is quite a challenge and you do need to keep your wits about you, but it can work.
Points to remember:
- Dogs do not run as fast as you can cycle, even a fit dog designed to run fast, like a collie. You must match your speed to them and pay attention to how tired they are getting
- Dogs tend to weave around, so you will need to keep an eye on where they are at all times. I have been ‘taken out’ by Busy cutting across my front wheel as she tore round the corner on one occasion.
- Be prepared to pick up poo. I managed to go over the handlebars on another ride, when jamming on the brakes because Aura was doing a poo.
- Wear a helmet!
- Make sure you take a bowl and some water if you think there may not be water on the walk.
- Look out around other people’s dogs. Dogs are not really that bike savvy, so you must be prepared to stop or change direction.
- In warmer weather, dogs can wear out their pads on hot paths. We had this happen to Sunny one summer a few years ago. She absolutely loves running with the bikes and tears along, so we have to be extra careful with her.
It’s a nice way to see a bit more of the countryside, without having to take too long. You will need to have a good level of general obedience before you go.
Basic commands you need
- Wait – absolutely essential. Stopping near roads, or if runners or cyclists are coming the other way
- Recall – your dogs must come to you, even if you are on a bike
- Here – I use this, rather than ‘heel’ to mean “be near me” while we manoeuvre round or across something.
- Mind – I use this to mean “get off the path so that someone can go past”
Of course I teach all these commands before we venture out with the bikes!
Anyway, the puppy had a lovely time and behaved herself really well. She didn’t seem to notice the bikes at all, although that meant that she didn’t seem aware that it might be harder for us to get out of her way 😉
If your dog has a ‘thing’ about bikes, as some dogs, (especially collies) do), you might find that taking them out with you riding a bike helps them to realise that they are not for chasing! Failing that, you will need to train them to focus on you while a bike goes past. This is the kind of thing I talk about in my Dog doc blog.
Finally of course, if you are going for a longer ride, you will need to stop for a drink along the way at eg The Caldecotte Arms 😉
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