3 Steps for Bicycling with Your Dog

iStock_000020151647_LargeBicycling with your dog is a great way for both of you to get some exercise, but it’s not the sort of thing you want to try to do without training. Even if you don’t plan on riding regularly with your pup, training them to be comfortable around bicycles is still beneficial since it could prevent them from wanting to attack passing cyclists.

The best case scenario would be exposing your pup to plenty of bicycles early on in his life so that they become innocuous, but that isn’t always the way it happens. Teaching an old dog new tricks is not impossible, contrary to the old adage, but it does take some work.

Training a Dog to Run with a Bike

  • Step One – Start by walking your dog alongside your bike for a few days. After they get used to walking beside you walking the bicycle, then it’s time for step two.
  • Step Two – Go to a park with some wide open area, preferably not crowded, and ask a friend to ride a bike around in circles a short distance away. Move as close as you can to the bike before your dog loses focus on you and turns to the bicycle. Call your dog by name, and reward him when he returns his focus to you. Slowly move closer and closer to the circling bicycle, training your pup to maintain focus on you even in close proximity to the bicycle. This is not done overnight and will require a few sessions.
  • Step Three – Start riding with your dog. Start slow and in quiet areas so that you can start teaching your dog four essential commands; stop, slow, left, right. Be aware of the risks involved if you decide to take your dog off the leash. If he causes an accident or otherwise hurts someone, you may be liable for violating any leash laws.

Make sure to get them the right equipment – there are harnesses specially designed for biking with dogs – and always provide positive feedback when your pup is doing well. It takes some time to get your four-legged friend prepared, but you couldn’t ask for a better riding partner once they’re ready.