Running next to the bike can be a welcome change from walks for the dog. When cycling with a dog, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
A dog that is to accompany its people on bike rides must be healthy and in excellent condition. The dog should also be enthusiastic about going on two-wheeler excursions – athletically built and spirited animals in particular like this. For very bulky, short of breath, heavy, and rather sluggish animals, bike tours are more torture than joy. If the four-legged friend turns around as soon as his two-legged friends get on the bike, you should not force the animal to run with you; maybe it’s in pain or it’s just not fun. The dog has little time to sniff out the route extensively on bike rides or for time-consuming encounters with fellow dogs. Likewise, it is not possible for the caregiver to play with the dog while cycling, as they might do on a walk.
Ambitious racing cyclists or bikers are better off leaving their dogs at home when touring. On-bike trips with a dog, the distance and speed have to be adapted to the four-legged friend. When choosing a route, the soil conditions, as well as the traffic and topographical conditions, must also be taken into account.
The Dog – a Long-Distance Runner
A well-trained dog can easily cycle 15 kilometers or more several times a week. No dog is able to accompany its family on the 20-kilometer cycle tour without targeted training from one day to the next. Running training should not be started until skeletal growth is complete.
The running training is built up over several weeks; at first only on short routes, which are gradually lengthened. The pace is always to be determined by the four-legged friend. The bike can be driven just fast enough for the dog to keep up with it at a regular, calm trot. This gait is the least tiring for the animal. Small dogs can be taken on the rides in a basket attached to the handlebars. Larger dogs can also be easily transported in the trailer on extended bike tours. However, you have to practice both.
It is most dog-friendly to choose the bike route in such a way that the dog can run freely as much as possible. It runs preferably on field and forest paths instead of asphalt roads. If the dog lingers on the side of the path to sniff or to do his business, the owner should wait for his four-legged friend. There are always situations where the dog must be leashed for safety reasons, such as when the route goes through the forest and the dog is a hunter. Or on paths where there are many walkers, cyclists, horseback riders, or joggers.
Practice Creates Masters
A normal long lead can be used for leading the bike, not a pull-out lead. Walking on a leash next to the cyclist should be practiced in a targeted manner: the dog is always led on the right side and a new command should be introduced, for example, “right!”. When crossing or riding short distances on busy roads, the rider should get off the bike. For young, adult dogs with a pronounced urge to exercise, around on the bike is a good way to end the day tired and happy. Once the dog has warmed up, a short sprint is possible; such “races” with the cycling two-legged friend are particularly fun for the dog.