May 20, 2024


Updated on April 29, 2024 at 7:40 a.m.

The first weeks of spring are the ideal time to train your four-legged friend to be your cycling companion. Then, when the weather improves, I’ll be fit enough to do longer laps. That’s how it is done.

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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.

1. Check if your dog is an option

Animals on the go: 8 tips for cycling with your dog
Short-nosed dog breeds like pugs should not walk next to bicycles.

© dpa / Christine Klose

Manuela Blum, a dog trainer from Birkenfeld in Rhineland-Palatinate, says dogs must 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 your dog is fully grown and healthy, it should be in good condition as it will need to trot and occasionally canter all the time. Regular walks are not enough training. Dogs that are already jogging will do much better, but even then you can only slowly increase the amount of cycling they do.

By the way, the dog’s small size does not pose an obstacle, but the distance must be short. Alternatively, a human can attach a trailer or basket to the bike so a tired dog can lie down and rest during the tour.

2. Accustom your dog to the bike slowly

Blum, the dog trainer, said some dogs are afraid of motorcycles and need to be slowly acclimated 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, eventually sitting down and launching very slowly.

3. Gradually increase your training

Dog trainer Blum recommends that beginner dogs first drive for a kilometer, then pause and drive 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.

4. 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 doesn’t want to run anymore, it’s also a “clear sign” that he’s feeling overwhelmed.

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He also recommends seeing your veterinarian before you start training to avoid circulatory or joint problems while cycling. Overweight animals must first lose weight. Otherwise, it will put too much stress on your joints as a cycling partner.

5. Check your feet after driving

Veterinarian Steidl advises: After a trip, 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, such as through the woods or along grassy fields. Experts do not believe that dog shoes protect paws. “Running together creates overload,” he says.

6. Maintain a moderate pace

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 speeds 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 calm pace. If you want to drive further, faster, or in a generally sporty way, you should ditch your four-legged companion.

7. Practice careful recall.

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.

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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 gradually and practiced while walking the dog.

8. Do not wrap the leash around the handlebars.

If you must keep your dog on a leash while 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 shocked if something twitches. (dpa/mak)

Dogs bring movement into the house. A long-term Australian study investigated how the acquisition, ownership, and loss of animals affected children’s physical activity.

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