I’m Thinking of Biking with my Dog, So Now What? -Part 1 / Introduction

Do you have a dog that never seems to get worn out on your daily walks, no matter how long they are?  I ran into this issue with my Husky Sierra, and wanted to find a solution.  I had seen and read about biking your dog to help get their energy out, but was apprehensive at first because of the inherent dangers of traveling at high speed on a bike with a dog attached to you. But at some point I had to bite the bullet and just go for it.

After doing some research, I found there are basically two ways to attach your dog to the bike.  You can either have them run next to you in a fixed position, or have a 6-8ft leash attached to your bike letting the dog either pull or run next to you.  As you would expect with comparing any two products, there are going to be pros and cons to each.

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Side-by-side

  • The most popular device for hooking them up next to you is called the Walky Dog. If you dog doesn’t pull while on a walk, this might be a good option.  You have full control of your dog, they can’t get more than two feet away from the bike, and you always know where they are in relation to you, which as you’ll find out shortly, is a good thing.  The biggest disadvantage will present itself when you’re biking on the city sidewalks, and come across another person. There isn’t enough space for all three of you to occupy the same sidewalk space at the same time, so you end up shouting an awkward, “excuse me” or ringing a bike bell (which I recommend purchasing either way) and then get to watch the person turn around and have a panic attack as they see you and your dog barreling toward them at what seems like the speed of light.  Although it’s sometimes entertaining to watch, it’s probably not the best way to make friends in your neighborhood.

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Out in Front

  • The other option is to attach your dog to a longer leash or rope so they can run in front of you. This allows you to occupy a smaller section of the sidewalk and also makes it easier to get around other people, light poles, and other obstacles you may come across in an urban environment.  If your dog is a puller, like mine, there’s always the added benefit of them doing most of the work while you just cruise through the neighborhood with minimal effort.  The biggest disadvantage with this method, is the lack of direct control you have over your dog. This is where commands come in handy.

When thinking about how to convey they problems you’ll face when you don’t have full control, I Immediately thought of the movie “UP”. Dug the dog gives the humans all of the attention, that is, until a squirrel comes into sight, and then it’s all over.

Now, imagine being attached to a high speed two wheeled contraption when you run into Alvin from the chipmunks, you can probably see where this is going.

I bike my dog through a park that has plenty of squirrels running around during all hours of the day, so there’s really no way to avoid the distractions.  One of the two times that we wiped out on the bike was due to her blood lust for her arch enemy.  She saw it before I did, and immediately took off after it.  I was relatively new at biking with her at this point, we were cruising at about 15mph, and by they time I realized what was happening, she was chasing the squirrel around one one side of the tree, and I was on the other.

I did a tuck and roll off the bike to try and prevent her from getting the full force of my body weight as the leash ran out of slack.  It worked for the most part, as she was barely fazed by it. In fact, as I was flying through the air, I saw her briefly glance over at me, giving me a look like, “what the hell are you doing, humans can’t fly”, before quickly diverted her attention back to the all important squirrel.  I, on the other hand, rolled a few times on the sidewalk before finally coming to a rest. Sprawled out on the pavement, I preyed to the squirrel gods that I would be able to walk away from this with no broken bones.  Luckily, when I hobbled back to my feet, I still had all of my limbs in working order, but I was definitely bruised and sore for the next few days, lesson learned.

In the next post, which will be released in 2 weeks, will give you more details on what equipment you will need to get started.  Until then, get outdoors with your dog!

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