How to Teach Your Dog To Accompany You On Bike Rides!
Dog Trainer Brandon McMillan teaches a yellow lab how to run with a bicycle.
For active families, having a dog that can accompany them on their many outdoor adventures is a must! Sawyer, an 8-month-old yellow labrador retriever, belongs to a family who loves to go on bike rides. In order to include Sawyer in the fun, the pup’s owners have asked dog training expert Brandon McMillan to teach their dog to run alongside their bicycle. Watch Brandon’s step-by-step process below!
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The dogs that do the best running alongside the bikes are generally from larger, athletic breeds and have a lot of energy. But as Brandon McMillan says: “Not every dog likes running next to a bike. Some dogs love it. Others can’t stand it.” Luckily for Sawyer’s family, the young yellow lab seems to take to the activity right away. If your dog also loves to get his daily exercise in while you ride your bike, the key is to prioritize safety during training and riding.
First, make sure your dog is healthy enough to run with your bike. If you have a senior dog, they may have arthritis or sore joints that will hurt them. If you have a puppy, keep in mind that their endurance will be lower and puppies’ joints don’t actually fuse until they are around 8 months old. Therefore, your puppy probably shouldn’t be trained to run with a bike until they are at least 8 months old, just like Sawyer. And no matter your dog’s age, you’ll need to keep their endurance and athletic ability in mind. Lastly, consider the heat of the sidewalk, cement, or pavement before you start riding. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can’t hold the back of your hand on the pavement for at least 5 seconds without pain, it’s too hot to walk or ride with your dog.
Once you’ve determined that running with the bike is right for your dog, use Brandon McMillan’s method to introduce your dog to the bike slowly and to develop positive associations with it. Start by letting your dog become comfortable around a still bike, before slowly introducing him to slow movements and turns. And as you saw, Brandon McMillan also keeps pet safety in mind by tethering Sawyer to the bicycle with a dog bike connector. The bike connector is specifically made to safely attach dogs to bikes and keeps your pup at a safe distance so they won’t be accidentally hit by the wheels.
If your dog just isn’t built to run alongside your bike or doesn’t seem to enjoy it, don’t despair. There are other ways for your dog to safely join you on your rides. For example, you can invest in a doggie trailer to pull him along or place little dogs in a bike basket.
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