It’s always fun to find new activities that you can enjoy with your pooch, and this week I’ve found one! I enjoyed bike riding when I was younger, but I haven’t done it for quite some time. I’ve gotten older, and more out of shape! I keep meaning to go, but my bike sits in our landing untouched and collecting dust.
That is until this week, and I wasn’t the one to dust it off. Nathan decided earlier this week to go for a bike ride, and thought Jack might like to try jogging along with it. As it turns out, he really likes it, and he’s actually really good at it! He gets super excited and starts wiggling like crazy when he sees you take the bike out, and as an added bonus it gets a lot of exercise in a shorter amount of time.
I decided this morning that I would try my hand at biking with the dog and it was actually much easier, and way more fun than I expected! I had been afraid that Jack might pull me over but he trotted along happily pulling hardly at all. I just had to be mindful of paying close attention to him. Keeping my eye out for signs for when he may want to stop, or need to.
We also had to set up a system of communication and pacing, and I would reccomend you do the same if you want to try biking with your pooch. Normally I don’t let Jack do any “leading” while on walks with him, but when running along side the bike I let him set the pace as it is much more of a workout for him then for me. You don’t want your dog being dragged behind your bike, any more than you want him attempting to drag the bike. So I (or Nathan, rather) picked a pacing mark. We are trying to keep Jack’s nose in line with the front of the tire. If he slows down, we slow down or if he speeds up, we speed up. This system also makes it much easier to keep him from crossing in front of the bike.
On the communication side we use “Ready, okay” when we start biking and “wait” as a sign that we are soon going to be slowing down, like to cross a road. And when crossing the road we get off the bike and walk with him. This morning I started to incorporate “turning” to signify that we are turning, and I am considering teaching him “right” and “left”.
On the safety side of things, from my personal point of view, it is a good idea to stay away from main roads or anywhere with a lot of traffic. If you are biking on the road with your dog you cause an unnecessary hazard for motorists, and on the sidewalk you take up the entire thing. I took Jack down to a park down the road with nice large walkways to make it more convenient for everyone.
You can even buy special accessories to make the method safer for you and the pooch! I’m going to purchase a “walkie dog; a metal arm attached to the frame of your bike. It has a low center of gravity, making it harder for them to pull you off balance, while keeping them at a safer distance from your bike. They range from 55-145$ depending on your needs.
I’m really happy that Jack and I got out to try something new! And I think he is happy too! He’s enjoying a much deserved nap in front of the air conditioner right now, while I enjoy a well earned cup of coffee! Happy biking!