Just like humans, exercise is essential for dogs. Physical activity doesn’t only allow your dog to burn some energy and stay in shape but also improves its mental health.
While taking your dog out for a walk can be an excellent way to get some exercise for both of you, it could be better for large canines to accompany you on a bike ride. These athletic dogs have high energy levels and need more extensive exercise.
Since their legs can run faster than ours, a bicycle can be the best solution. In this article, we will share how biking with your dog can be fun and safe for both you and your pet.
Safety Should Be Your Top Priority
Just as with any type of activity that you would engage in with your pet, safety should always be your first priority.
Before anything else, make sure that the physical capacities of your dog will allow it to enjoy running with you on bike rides. Small dogs, overweight dogs, or those with medical issues such as arthritis, orthopedic injuries, heart or lung issues, and breathing difficulties are not suitable for this type of activity. This is better for larger, more athletic dog breeds.
As the dog owner, always think about your pup’s health and energy level. If you’re uncertain, consult your trusted veterinarian before doing this activity.
During our first few bike rides, monitor your dog closely and stop if something seems off. Be mindful of signs such as trouble breathing, limping, overheating, or slowing of pace. Also, take a moment to stop for water breaks.
If you’re riding in places with foliage, breakaway collars are recommended to avoid accidents. Further, choose ride paths that you’re familiar with and are wide enough to accommodate your bike, your dog, and other people.
Get the Right Gear and Equipment
When riding a bike with your dog, make sure to wear proper safety gear such as a helmet.
There are also other products that are specially designed for dogs to accompany their owners on bike rides. There are special harnesses and bungee leashes for this purpose, as holding a regular leash while biking with your dog can end up in a disaster.
Additionally, you can purchase bike attachments that will prevent your leash from getting caught in your bike’s wheels and provide some shock absorption in case your dog suddenly changes direction.
Train Your Dog Gradually
Though dogs generally love running with their owners on a bike, they need to be trained first. The most suitable dogs for this activity are those that are already leash trained and can behave properly while walking or jogging.
You’ll know your dog needs some leash training when it stops, cuts in front of you, or runs ahead when you take it out on walks. So before you attempt to take your dog out for a run while you’re biking, ensure it has leash walking skills first.
Once your dog has been successfully leash trained, you can introduce a bike. It’s pretty normal if your dog is scared of it, especially of its spinning wheels at first. So just take it slow and gradually ease your dog into the activity.
You can start by letting it close to your bike at rest. Allow your dog to sniff it and become more comfortable with it. Next, walk your dog while you push your bike beside it.
A good way to reinforce good behavior is rewarding it with treats, petting it, or giving it verbal praises. If your dog becomes anxious or scared, give it a rest and do something fun for a while.
Taking Your Dog Out for A Bike Ride
Once your dog is comfortable enough with your bike, you can move on to taking short and slow bike rides with your dog. Pay close attention to its behavior and make sure that it’s enjoying the activity.
When you notice that it looks tired, frustrated, anxious, and is trying to pull away, stop and check your dog. Also, be extra careful when taking your dog out on hot days. Because pavement and asphalt can be too rough and too hot on such days, the surface can damage your dog’s paw pads.
It’s recommended to go on early morning runs with your dog during warmer seasons, or simply leave your dog at home. Aside from injured paws, you should also be mindful of signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion and take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice symptoms.
Furthermore, take note that running on hard surfaces for prolonged periods may adversely affect your dog’s joints. So don’t subject your dog to extensive concussive exercise, especially if it suffers from joint issues such as arthritis.
The Best Professional Dog Trainers
Equip your dog with essential skills such as leash training and obedience training to enjoy bike rides with it. Delaware K9 Academy has a team of professional dog trainers that can help you turn your pet into a well-behaved and happy dog.
Contact us today to learn more about our private classes, 2-week bootcamps, and puppy training!