Summer is one of the best moments of the year to go for a ride, but you don’t want your dog to be staying home alone while you are having a good time outside in the sun! Therefore we encourage you to ride your bike along with your faithful companion, taking into account the advice which we are about to give you.
Did you know that cycling makes you burn 110 kcals in 20 minutes? For that reason, it is a very healthy activity which requires little effort, as it is up to you to decide on the pace and distance that you deem appropriate. The same goes for your dog, whose physical condition is to be taken into account before embarking on the ride!
The breed and age are the two main factors that you should keep in mind. Whereas some dogs are highly energetic and will love the ride, others not so much. Besides, burning calories also helps dogs to remain fit after a long winter.
Remember that in order to enjoy your doggy bike ride, you must avoid high temperatures. Thus, do not go for the ride at the hottest time of the day, or else your dog could suffer from a heatstroke. Also remember to bring water along with you to cool down your pooch.
What’s more, if your dog is one to pull the leash, there are various bike tow leashes available on the market that could come in handy for you. They consist in clip-on metal bars to be fastened onto the bike frame, easy to attach or remove to suit your needs.
Just begin at a normal speed, as if you were walking alongside your bike, so that your dog feels comfortable, and then little by little, start increasing the pace until you see that they are enjoying the ride! It is also important to teach your dog that when the front wheel makes a turn, your dog also has to turn. The aim is to “push aside” the dog so that they don’t get run over. That way, they will learn to follow the same direction as the front wheel.
Do be on the lookout for any danger that could turn up during the ride: watch out for traffic (whenever possible, we recommend rides in the countryside as they are less dangerous, healthier and gentler for our hairy friends’ paws) and for potential distractions for your dog, such as the spotting of another dog, cat or rabbit, which could turn out to be a hazard for you both.
What’s more, tow leashes can be risky to use for some large dogs as the leashes are welded and in case of a sharp pull, the welding could snap.
This is what happened to Troya, Gudog’s new member, a mixed German Shepherd who started using the tow leash as a pup. She was very good at it until she became an adult and reached 30 kilos which is when she became stronger and started to pull. The welding snapped when some hares and cats crossed the street in front of Troya whose instinct to “hunt” had her make a sharp pull.
Here, Troya is using a 1-meter-long chain attached to the bike frame and covered in a plastic tube (on sale at ironmongers’) so that the chain doesn’t get caught in the wheels.
Finally, if your pooch is not one for exercise, if they are a bit old, or simply because it’s just one of those days, you can always enjoy the ride with a doggy bicycle sidecar!
Give them time and trust and everything will run smoothly!