May 21, 2024

Birkenfeld/Nehlen. People are comfortable cycling and dogs are happy to run alongside. This is an idyllic excursion that many dog ​​owners desire. However, to achieve this, several requirements must be met. Although much can be achieved with training, some dogs may have physical limitations. Then cycling isn’t for you. A dog trainer and veterinarian will explain the important things.

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See if your dog is an option

Manuela Blum, a dog trainer from Birkenfeld in Rhineland-Palatinate, says dogs need to be fully grown and healthy for cycling. Short-nosed dog breeds such as pugs and bulldogs are not suitable for sports. These animals have difficulty breathing, often have musculoskeletal problems, and cycling puts undue stress on their bodies.

If the dog is fully grown and healthy, it needs to be in good condition as it will need to trot and occasionally canter all the time. Regular walks are not enough training. Dogs who are already jogging will do much better, but even then the number of cycling sessions can only be increased slowly. Dogs are small so they are not a problem, but distances should be kept short. Alternatively, you can attach a trailer or basket to your bike so your dog can lie down and rest during the tour.

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Blum, the dog trainer, said motorcycles can be scary for some dogs and need to be used to them. First, let the scary animal sniff and play next to the bike, then someone pushes the bike and the dog owner runs alongside his four-legged friend.

The owner puts the dog on his heel and walks next to the bicycle, gradually getting the dog used to it. If it works and the animal feels safe, it will switch to the other side on its own. The next step is to stand on the pedals and roll around a bit until you can finally sit down and start driving slowly.

Dog trainer Blum recommends driving beginner dogs one kilometer first, taking a break, and then driving again. Advanced training takes time, as your workload can increase by about 10% each week. Therefore, the first weeks of spring are the best time to start. As the weather improves, longer trips become possible. Important: If you ride your bike, be sure to bring water for your animals.

Be careful not to put too much stress on your dog

“Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to cycle in the heat, because it’s too stressful for them,” warns veterinarian Thomas Steidl from Nehlen, Baden-Württemberg. Veterinarians say if your dog no longer wants to keep running, this is also a “clear sign” that it’s exhausted. He recommends seeing your veterinarian before you start training to avoid circulatory or joint problems while cycling. Overweight animals must first lose weight. Otherwise, there will be too much stress on the joints.

Check your feet after riding

Veterinarian Steidl advises: After traveling, check your dog’s paws for any scratches or cracks. If you find anything, it could be a sign of overload or an unsuitable road surface, such as asphalt or gravel. Your next bike tour should be adjusted accordingly, such as by shortening the distance or walking on softer trails. Experts do not believe that dog shoes protect paws. “Running together creates overload,” he says.

The pace at which you ride your bike should be chosen so that your dog can ride with you for a longer period of time. According to dog trainer Blum, this equates to a speed of 8 to 12 kilometers per hour, depending on the dog.

“A healthy dog ​​can travel a distance of 5 to 10 kilometers,” she explains. From a cyclist’s perspective, these are just short laps at a slow pace. If you want to drive further, faster and sportier, it’s time to ditch your four-legged companion.

Practice your dog’s recall carefully

Bicycle tours are the most beautiful and relaxing for both people and animals if you allow your dog to run freely. Both reduce concentration, dogs can sniff, and bikes can drive a little faster. After all, your animal can always catch up again.

However, free-running dogs should always have access, even if a deer crosses the path or you see another dog nearby. “The recall really has to be perfect,” Blum explains. “This training is best done in small increments and practiced while walking the dog.”

If you must keep your dog on a leash when riding your bike, under no circumstances should you wrap your dog around your hands or handlebars. For safety reasons, we recommend installing a leash with a rubber insert or a holder with a shock absorber on your bike. Both of these reduce the risk of falling off the bike if your dog wants to go his own way or turns around.

Experts also stress that dogs should not wear a collar, but a well-fitting so-called Y-harness, which leaves the shoulders free. This means that he can walk well and his sensitive neck will not be affected by sudden movements. D.P.A.

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