What is your dog's bike style?
The growing popularity of pups participating with biking enthusiasts has evolved into a growing industry in recent years. A variety of smart and safe canine biking accessories, books, websites and even travel destinations are available for the potential barking buddy biker.
Barking bikers of all sizes can now safely join family members and friends on this adventure because of education on precautions to take including the importance of training, conditioning and proper equipment.
It is essential to have your dog thoroughly examined by a veterinarian to rule out any condition that could inhibit this new activity. Certain breeds and body structures are not recommended for biking on a leash or attachment next to the bike. This would be puppies and senior dogs, along with those 30 pounds and under, flat nose breeds, and dogs with short legs or long bodies. There are accessories like sturdy baskets and towing devices at bike shops and online for these canine types to safely participate.
A padded, well-fitting harness is clearly safer for the dog cruising next to the bike. Reflective and other attire add-ons are great safety choices to consider. Check out cooling vests/collars and pad protection also.
Leslie Johnson's book, "Bike With Your Dog: How To Stay Safe and Have Fun," is a great resource for educating yourself on this barking adventure.
Susan Sanubin, dog trainer and behavior consultant, penned an excellent article in 2009 for Whole Dog Journal about bike riding with your dog. The in-depth article, titled "Bike Riding With Your Dog," features information on getting started, suggested equipment for the cyclist and dog, initial training, starting to ride, where to ride and cycling for non-athletes.
For maximum enjoyment experts suggest to always be safety minded, use caution and never push it. It is critical to train, build confidence and stamina, always pedal at an easy pace and be prepared for distractions and potty breaks. Watch if the dog starts falling behind or body language indicates they are stressed.
Pounding the Paws
Paws on the pavement can be tough on a canine skeletal system. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can occur quickly. Select cooler days and well-lit evenings, and be mindful of the surface you are on. Avoid high-traffic areas. Bring a pet first aid kit, an extra leash and doggy waste bags. Make sure your dog has a properly fitting collar with current identification. Most importantly bring plenty of water for the both of you. Lots of really good treats too.
Before heading out, check the weather forecast.
Understand that our dogs will go to almost any extreme to please us. They look to us to be the leader of the pack, instigate, have higher expectations, and be indifferent. So, a paw of praise to you for being a smart and safe partner to a barking biker!
Happy trails and tails to all of you!
Owner, Hot Diggity Dog, Inc.