Tips for Biking with Your Dog
It's always so fun to go on adventures with your dog. And your dog loves taking journeys outdoors with you too! One of the many fun activities you can do together is bicycle riding. If you're wondering how to ride a bike with your dog, it's not that hard. Just take the time to train your dog to be ready for the big ride so that it can be an enjoyable experience for you both.
Let a Smaller Dog Ride on a Basket Attached to Your Bike
Of course, you first want to make sure your dog can safely tag along on your bike ride. Some dogs are just too small, and it would be too much of a strain. Those dogs can ride with you instead of run. Some baskets and backpacks are designed to attach to your bike so you can take your precious pup with you.
The Travel Bike Basket comes with a front bicycle mount and even has an optional rear bike mount you can get separately. It comes with a mesh pocket for storing treats and water bottles. It comes in two sizes: one for a dog up to 10 pounds and one for a dog up to 20 pounds. For extra comfort, consider getting a Travel Bike Basket Hood to go with it. This has mesh windows on all four sides for circulation, but it still protects your dog from the elements.
There's also a Travel Bike Backpack if that's more your style. It includes a front mount, and there's a rear mount you can buy separately. After you've reached your destination, you can remove it from your bike and carry it like a backpack—this one's better for smaller dogs, like teacup sizes.
Test Your Dog on a Walk First and Then Short Runs
If your dog is in good health for a run (check with your veterinarian), keep a few tips in mind. First, a dog should be socialized and calm if she's going to run next to you while you bike. Make sure she's mastered walking and running with you on foot. You don't want her unexpectedly darting away while you're pedaling.
Next, train your dog to be leashed next to your parked bike.1 Then start gently moving your bike slowly while your dog walks beside it. Use lots of rewards and praise to make it a positive experience while slowly increasing the speed.
Slowly Add Time and Don't Go Too Fast
Once you've mastered this stage, start with short trips until you better understand your dog's stamina and limits. Slowly add five or ten minutes at a time; keep in mind the time required to bike back home too.
Watch him for signs of fatigue, and don't push him. Remember not to go too fast, even once you've got a good momentum going. If you get into a workout zone, it might be easy to forget that he has to run to keep up with you. So always keep his needs in mind while biking.
Get the Right Equipment
Don't skimp on making sure you have the right equipment for biking with your dog.2 This can include a leash designed to attach to your bike so your dog doesn't get too close to your wheels. You also want a reflective harness since a traditional neck-fitted leash isn't good to use when biking. Using a traditional leash and neck collar is dangerous because the leash can get caught in the wheel's spokes. With a traditional neck collar and leash, your dog can also pull in a different direction, causing you to fall. Leashes and attachments made specifically for biking provide more protection for both of you.
Bring plenty of water, along with some snacks. A portable water or food dish might come in handy. And watch the weather closely. Don't take your dog out when it's too hot, or her paws might burn on the hot ground, or she could become overheated. If it's cold or rainy, you might need cold-weather or rain gear. It's always best to be prepared.
Learning to bike with your dog can be so much fun. With the right training, the two of you can have a lot of exciting adventures together. Just take the preparation slow. It will be worth the wait to do everything right.
1. Stregowski, Jenna. "How to Train Your Dog to Run Next to a Bicycle." The Spruce Pets, 1 August 2019, https://www.thesprucepets.com/cycling-with-dogs-1117836.
2. PetMD Editorial. "Tips for Safely Biking with Your Dog." PetMD.com, 7 June 2011, https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_biking_with_your_dog_safely.