Leash laws around the world have become extremely strict. There are several must have items you need to comply with those laws while still being able to go biking with dogs safely. In this guide we will cover the steps you must take before going on a bike ride with your dog.
Step 1: Get Proper Equipment
The first must have item is a bungee leash. The reason a bungee leash is so important is because when your dog is at the length limit the leash will stretch. Stretching allows you to maintain control of the bike even if your dog is pulling on the leash. The good news is, bungee leashes are very affordable. The Outdoor Master Bungee Leash is less than $15 on Amazon. (Check Current Price on Amazon Here).
Next you will need some way to provide your dog water. Collapsible dog water bowls are easy to store on your bike along with a little extra H2O. The bowls pictured below come with a carabiner so you can clip them directly to your dogs collar or harness while riding. (Check Current Price on Amazon Here).
Collars can put a lot of stress on your dogs neck while you’re learning to ride together. I recommend a harness with a clip in the front. When you connect the leash to the front of the harness your dog is less likely to lead and more likely to follow along side you.
Step 2: Train and Practice With Your Dog
There are skills you will need as a cyclists before you can begin training and practicing with your dog. First, you need to be able to ride with only one hand on the bike. This is especially true in the early stages of training. Never connect your dog’s leash to the bike itself. By maintaining the leash in one hand you can help guide your dog by pulling the leash in the direction you want your pup to go.
Train at a reasonable speed. Just because you can climb a steep grade at 20 m.p.h. doesn’t mean your dog can. Start out going on much slower rides than your used to. This will also make you less likely to get severely injured in an accident. Your dog needs to be full trained and able to complete specific routes without issues before you start increasing speed.
The same thing can be said for the distance of your ride. Build up your dogs endurance just like you would yours. Very few dogs can handle a 20 mile bike ride, and those that can have built up to that mark over long periods of time. They are also bred for that kind of activity. Huskies pull sleds for many miles and they make great riding partners, but they can also be harder to train. Most lap dogs don’t have big enough strides to ride long distances at even a moderate pace.
Step 3: Take a Familiar Path
Your dog will learn your route with visual markers, the same way many people find there way around town in a vehicle without using a map or knowing what street they are on. When you first moved to a new city or town it probably took you several weeks, maybe even months, before you could navigate without assistance. Your dog will need that same amount of time to get familiar with your path.
In conclusion, by following these three steps you will be able to safely go biking with your dog. After thousands of miles on both mountain bike trails and paved urban trails, we are at the point where my dog knows exactly where we are going and at what pace. Biking with dogs is great fun and great exercise for you and your pet. Give it a try today.
If you have any tips for biking with dogs, let us know in the comments section below. And, if you enjoyed these tips consider reading: