Bicycling with your buddy

Last year, I was desperately searching for a way to exercise my overly hyper mutt. Her energy was just impossible for me to keep up with. I walked her daily and tried jogging. She refused to play fetch and didn’t play well with other dogs. I couldn’t afford a treadmill, nor could I fit a big lug of machinery like that in my little apartment. It simply drove me crazy and I was stressed beyond what I could handle, not to mention feeling bad for her having to deal with all that negative energy! I really thought I had tried everything but I still knew the fact that she was bubbling with liveliness had at least something to do with her bad behavior. As you may have read in my previous post 5 Great Reasons…, I love walking my dogs for the fact that I get some pretty good exercise, too. You can imagine my delight when I found out about this amazing bike device that allows me to safely and effectively bike a mutt until his tongue is side-hangin’ and he’s ready for a nap and I’m still feeling ready to go.

I picked this one up at The Urban Pet in Los Angeles. I called around for hours and it was pretty hard to find a store that had it – most seemed to be sold online.

The bike features a stable, metal base that is bolted onto your bike under your seat.

The arm is separate and safely clips into the secured base. It includes a spring, allowing flexibility within the bike ride should your dog lunge or try to stray (and this one has been tested and is very effective in springing your mutt back from the lunge without knocking you off balance on your bike).

There is also a short leash included. This may or may not be too long for you. If it’s too long, try to loop it through the dog harness or collar; DO NOT secure the leash to the end of a choke chain as the force from your bike is too dangerous and may seriously choke your pup! Maybe a harness is good to try for the first few rides (I went straight for the chain for this short and sweet sample ride).

Look at the fun!

My dog took to the bicycle method almost immediately. As a warning, yours may not. In fact yours may even be terrified of the bike in motion without being forced to jog or run along side it. Just the sight of a moving bike can drive some dogs bonkers! In order to prevent this, I suggest you introduce your dog and the bike slowly to warm your pup up to the idea of biking.

1) Introduce your bike at a stand still. Let your little buddy smell and check out the bike in a stationary position before any motion is introduced. When he smells it and shows positive interest, give him a treat to reinforce the behavior.

Checkin' it all out.

2) Walk with your bike before you ride it. A common fixation may occur for some dogs when they see wheels in speedy motion. Before you take off racing down the hill, allow your pup to watch the bike moving slowly. Walk the bike around them and let them know that its a tool for you – it is not prey, it is not a playmate, it is not something they can attack, and there is no need for them to fear it. Again, reward good behavior with lots of love and maybe a delicious treat.

3) Finally, pick up the pace. If your dog has proven comfortable with the bike so far, you may just be in the clear. Just to make sure, let your dog sit for you and start riding at a slow pace. If he’s still sitting, reward him. Continue to make him sit and ride the bike at a comfortable pace. Is he still sitting? If so, you guys did it! Now invite him to enjoy the ride with you on your new handy dogcycle!

All sussed out.