Cycling safely with a dog

cycling with a dog

Now that the hottest temperatures of the year are slowly over, you can take it easy again. The asphalt is no longer so hot, the ozone levels are dropping – just the right weather for cycling with a dog.

Basic education is vital

If your dog is supposed to run next to the bike in the future, it will only work if he has a certain basic training .

He should be able to walk nicely on a leash, allow himself to be controlled by you when meeting other dogs or cats and, if possible, come to you without a leash, sit down or stand still.

Remember: you cannot intervene as quickly when you are in the saddle. And falling can be dangerous for both of you.

Do not underestimate either of these and if you have a still untrained tomboy, it is better to keep your hands off the bike. Then practice walking on a leash and calling back before you get on your bike.

The first acquaintance with the bike

A bike that rattles and may still ring from time to time can seem pretty scary to some dogs. So start by getting your dog used to the bike. Just push it next to you while walking and let the bell ring.

Also show your dog that he has to watch the bike and not just cross the track in front of the bike. If you push your bike and the dog comes too close to the front tire, you can push it away with a little swing on the handlebars.

You don’t run over his paws, but you still show clearly that he has to be careful.

Start slowly

Don’t plan a bike tour right away, but climb the route very slowly. There are many new impressions and things that your dog has to learn – he has to process that first. A few hundred meters is enough on the first day.

Better practice briefly, but regularly.

  • If possible, start off the leash. Find a quiet spot with no traffic and drive off slowly.
  • Let your dog run next to you, stop after a few meters, give him a treat as a reward and start driving again.
  • If you feel your dog feels safe next to the bike, put him on a leash.
  • Let him run next to you and expressly praise him so that he has a positive connection to cycling.

If possible, leash your dog to a well-fitting harness on the bike. In the event of a fall, there is no tension on the neck.

And since your dog should learn that he is not allowed to stand still on his bike to sniff, etc., I can pull him on with a harness with a clear conscience.

Always make sure that you can let go of the leash immediately! If your dog does run to the side with a swing, the jolt over the handlebars has such a strong effect that you could fall if you cannot drop the leash.

So don’t grab the wrist strap, just put the leash in your hand and then grab the handlebars. In an emergency, you only have to loosen your hand a little from the handle and you release the leash.

They are attached to the rear and therefore most stable part of the bike. Jerky movements are cushioned with a metal spring and the dog cannot run in front of the bike from there.

Build condition

Once your dog has understood how he should behave on the bike, you can slowly build his – and maybe your – condition. Don’t overdo it and always remember that

  • a soft ground cushions the movement, but a hard asphalt puts stress on the joints in the long run
  • Puppies, young dogs up to approx. 15 months and old dogs should not walk on bicycles
  • different races are also sporty differently. Make sure your dog gets enough air: short-faced breeds we mops should not run long at the wheel and co.

Pay attention to your dog’s needs

If your dog is cycling in the forest without a leash, he can sniff, mark and set his own pace in between. However, if you have it on a leash while driving, you should first walk for a few minutes so that it can loosen.

In any case, it makes sense to take a short break in between, because the movement stimulates the digestion and it is uncomfortable for your dog if he has to walk next to you with a full bladder or full bowel.

You have to let your dog set the pace on a leash. An easy trot, not a race, is a comfortable pace for the dog.

If he runs freely, however, you can also do a very short sprint from time to time. You will be amazed how relaxed and enthusiastic your dog will overtake you when he is young and healthy.

Dogs love a short race – and most of the time they win too.

In traffic

No matter how well a dog hears: In traffic it should definitely walk on a leash next to the bike. The situation here is so confusing that the risk of an accident would simply be too great.

Let him walk on the right side. So he is on the side facing away from traffic. This also has the advantage that drivers see you first and keep their distance.

They could miss a small dog and then drive past you too closely. You can ride your dog on the bike path. However, if it is too narrow there, you are officially not allowed to go on the sidewalk, but have to use the road.

Especially in the dark, make sure that you and your dog are clearly visible. A flashing collar is not so easy to see for drivers from behind. An alternative is a thin vest in a warning color with reflectors.

And don’t be afraid to put a warning pennant on your luggage rack, as you might know from children’s bikes. The sooner drivers become aware of you, the safer you and your four-legged friend are on the road.

Warning: If your dog is walking on your right side, then the manhole covers are in the ground right there! So keep enough distance from the sidewalk that your dog cannot step into the grooves and injure himself.

Cycling with a dog: tips at a glance

✔ Start in small steps

✔ Never loop the leash around your hand

✔ Always pay attention to the condition of the dog

✔ Take pee breaks

✔ Be clearly visible

✔ Let the dog run to the right of the bike in traffic

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Image Source: Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

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