Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How to Teach Your Dog to Run next to Your Bicycle

Taking your dog with you on bicycle rides is a lot of fun and can be a great way to provide exercise for both of you.

Before you start the exercise, decide on what side of the bicycle you want your dog to run. I like Apollo on the right side of the bicycle. This way he is out of traffic when I ride down the road. A lot of people like the dog on the left side of the bicycle, because this is the side they walk their dogs in a heel position. Either side is fine, just remain consistent.
Choose an area that is safe to practice. It is best to have no traffic and little distractions. I started in our driveway and at a nearby park. 

Here are 3 easy steps to get your dog used to running next to your bicycle.

1. Walk between your dog and the bicycle:

Start by walking your dog on a loose leash next to you and push your bicycle at the same time. This helps the dog get used to being near the bicycle, while you provide him with the comfort and security. Walk slowly at first, in a straight line. As the dog gets used to this, make turns and increase speed.

2. Walk the dog next to the bicycle:

The next step is to walk the dog next to the bicycle, with you on the opposite side. This teaches the dog to be comfortable right next to the bike. Make sure he walks calmly and on a loose leash. Keep the leash short, so the dog stays to the side of the bicycle. You do not want your dog to get in front of or behind the bike. Control the length of the leash to ensure that he stays on the side.
To teach your dog to keep an eye on the bike and turn with you, start weaving back and forth while walking and eventually start making turns with the bike. Make sure he is comfortable with turning both ways before you proceed to the next step.

3. Ride your bicycle with the dog next to you:

Now get onto the bike and ride at a slow speed with the dog right next to you. Again, ensure that the dog remains to the side of the bike and does not get in front or behind it. The leash must be loose, do not allow your dog to pull, as this is both dangerous to you and him. A strong pulling dog can cause you to fall off the bicycle and pulling on the leash can damage your dog's airways. 
Ride slowly at first and make weaving patterns and turns in the controlled area. Give your dog time to get accustomed to running next to the bicycle before you take him out into areas with traffic or distractions. Running next to the bike is a great way to provide exercise, but start out slowly. Keep your training sessions short and make sure you have water for your dog.

Don't take your dog into heavy traffic until you have conditioned him properly.

 Continue to practice in areas that are away from traffic until you are comfortable your dog is properly trained. 
Any size dog can enjoy running next to the bike for exercise, but if you like biking and go on long rides, you may consider having a dog trailer or a basket, depending on your dog's size. This will give you the opportunity to have your dog with you on long bike rides. 
Thank you for stopping by, until next time: Keep Your Paws on the Road! 

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