There’s nothing like being part of a bike club or having a bike buddy to share your most adventurous and scenic routes with. Not only is it safer, it’s also way more enjoyable to cap off a ride with a cold beer. But on the days people bail, there just might be someone else just as interesting–-if not more–that you can hit the trails with… Your beloved dog.
Want to train your furry friend to be a part of your cycling life?
Read on further for the best tips to safely and confidently bike with your dog.
Before we get to the fun part, here are some extra precautions you can take to ensure your pooch is traildog ready:
- Consult with your vet. Check if your dog is physically conditioned for the trails. Some vets may suggest waiting until they are at least a year and a half old. Their breed, weight, age, breathing or health status could be a factor in this type of strenuous activity. Not all breeds are equipped to bike!
- Check with your dog.
How’s their temperament? Are they aggressive towards other dogs? If so, it
could be good to start training them how to behave around other dogs and
properly walk alongside you. Get this right and biking with your dog could be the next step.
Once you’ve got these in the bag, it’s time to see how you can turn your pooch into a certified traildog.
10 Best Safety Tips to Go Biking With Your Dog
1. Make it fun.
What better way to condition your dog for the trails than to have
them enjoy it? Start with grassy fields or parks, nothing intense just yet.
Bring some treats for positive reinforcement so they can associate your bike
with all things good and fun. Get your dog used to the sounds and movement of
your bike. Be patient as it can take days or weeks for them to feel confident
and comfortable next to it.
2. Let them follow behind you.
We all know how some dogs get way too excited for walks. If your pooch tends to pull on its leash while walking, teach them to walk properly next to you before adding your bike to the mix. Train them to follow safety commands such as “stop”, “wait”, or “slow down”. These will definitely be life-saving for when you’re both out for a ride.
Here are other safety tips to get them used to following as you bike:
- Build their stamina slowly by capping your time at 5-10 minutes on their first week for rides and gradually increase from there.
- Avoid hard surfaces like streets which can be hard on your dog’s joints.
3. Put a tracker on your dog.
Make sure your dog is microchipped and has a tag with your current phone number or contact info. Putting a bear bell on your dog can also help when they’re temporarily out of your sight. (When they’re either behind or way ahead of you as you bike.)
For added safety, a GPS collar could also help though some require cell coverage for it to work well.
4. Bring a collapsible dog bowl and dog water bottle.
As your dog builds stamina to go on longer rides, consider bringing a collapsible dog bowl in case you need to feed it while you both rest. You’ll also want to bring a dog water bottle or portable water dispenser for dogs to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat.
Watch out for temps that exceed 80 degrees or lower temps that might be dangerous for your dog’s breed. For warmer days, hit the trail early in the morning or in the evening with your dog.
5. Dress them up for safety.
Your dog needs to be just as visible as you and your bike. Put a reflective jacket or vest with lights on your dog for utmost safety especially during evening rides.
6. Respect the trail.
Part of making your adventure sustainable means being anambassador for traildogs before, after, and during your ride. Even if your pooch is friendly, you’ll want to make other riders and hikers feel safe.
Don’t let your dog run around unsupervised and always have a poop bag ready for when they need to do their business. Since they’re excited, they’ll probably do this within the first few minutes of getting to the trail.
7. Choose less trafficked trail networks or times of the day.
Find a trail that allows dogs to be off their leash and avoid
packed trails during their peak times. The best way to ensure a peaceful ride
with your dog is to stay clear from other bikers or hikers. Go early in the
morning or in the evening when it’s least likely to be swamped.
Remember the doggy treats? Bring lots of them to keep your pooch
interested and focused on you and your bike over potential distractions.
Lastly, show your dog some love when it does well!
8. Be first-aid ready.
Depending on the trails in your area, you’ll also want to protect
your dog from dangerous animals, ticks, and critters. Add a couple of
dog-specific items on your first-aid kit such as self-adherent wraps that can stick
on your dog’s fur. In case of paw problems, pack a dog booty too.
Post-ride, do a full-body check to see if they have any ticks (if
your location is prone to them). Check their paws especially after rides on
9. Work up to the more technical trails.
Just as you would not take a beginner on a double black, remember
to play it safe while training your traildog. We’ve all seen the viral videos
of dogs scrubbing dirt jumps, but this could lead to unwanted visits to the
Safety for the fast and the furry
Biking with your dog makes your ride all the more worthwhile. Make
sure they’re equipped for anything on and off the trail with Pet Insurance. Click
here to inquire about coverage for your dog at Bicycle Broker! We have flexible
plans to fit your traildog’s lifestyle.