Cruisin’ With Your Canine
Hi, my name’s Pip. I’m a new canine arrival at Second Chance and just had the most fabulous experience. Spring is in the air, the pathways are opening up, and I joined our trainer on a bike ride this past week! So I think more dogs should get this experience, here is why…
For high energy dogs whose people are short on time, or for pups not yet trustworthy off leash, it’s an ideal way to get dogs some vigorous exercise. Many reactive dogs are too busy concentrating on their pace and position to notice triggers when biking.
And it’s fun! It’s hard to not smile when your grinning dog looks up at you, clearly enjoying himself as he trots alongside you on your bike. It’s one of the few circumstances where humans can actually keep up with dogs at their preferred speed, and most dogs seem tickled about it.
The first step is to be sure a dog is comfortable with the bike itself. Begin by just taking him for a walk with you pushing the bike. If a dog skitters away in terror, or is really excited and jumps and/or bites at the tires, he will need extra acclimation before you get on the bike.
Next, proceed to the slow ride (preferably with a cruiser bike for more stability) using a 6 foot leash and a no-pull front clip harness. Pick a quiet place with few distractions to start. Prevent your dog from crossing dangerously in front or back of the bike by not allowing too much slack in the leash, adjusting its length as needed during your ride and as your dog becomes more proficient and trustworthy.
Of course, give your dog a lot of praise when they are getting it right! Contact us for more help if you’d like our trainer to guide you through the process.
For those who are unsure about holding the leash, there are several different bike attachments to which you can connect your dog to the bike and keep your hands free. We’ve heard good things about the Springer, k9 Cruiser, and Bike Tow Leash.
As always, be sure your dog is physically up to the task, start with very short rides and work your way up to longer ones. The risk of disaster rises with speed; the ideal pace is a trotting dog. Warning: in warm weather, a dog will heat up fast, as will pavement (warm asphalt and recently dust-guarded, dry, and gravelly roads can blister a dog’s pads quickly, so keep a close eye on your pup’s feet). Bring lots of water, don’t overdo it, and watch your dog for signs of overheating.
Unlike trotting along a cruiser bike on flatter ground, mountain biking is not recommended on leash or for dogs not yet physically mature. Not sure? Check with your vet to see what’s best for your pup to ensure many happy biking years ahead.
For pups not physically able - no need to leave them out! They can still enjoy the wind in their fur once trained to ride in a trailer behind you and your bike.
See you out there on the pathway I will be the joyous, sweet-natured biking sable girl with the mile-wide smile looking for my new forever person…
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.