Dog & Bike – how to?

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ejwme
Participant
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I think it’s come up here before, but I don’t recall reading anything geared towards how-to. We just adopted a 4 yr old mutt (pincer/beagle?) from the shelter with the sweetest temperament imaginable. She’s being very patient with us and letting us figure out how to be proper care takers. We’re signed up for training classes, though it’s us that needs it not her.

She’s pretty good on a lead, but there’s a Squirrel Factor that is tricky (think “Up” – it’s hilarious). I guess what I’m looking for is ideas for how to train her to jog along with me on my bike. She barely gets up to a trot with my husband jogging on foot, so I’m thinking she might enjoy a quicker pace. She’s not much of a puller (squirrel exception we’re working on), but she’s a weaver. Anybody have any experience that might help?

The only training I have is with cats, which is basically figuring out what they’ll do consistently and taking credit for it. This is way different.


Marko82
Participant
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What’s her name? This is very important because some names can be yelled at a higher pitch than others ;-)


myddrin
Participant
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I’d be interested in this too. I have a going-on 7 year old Flat Coated Retriever mix that would LOVE to run along side me.

I know there are devices out there that attach to your bike, and I researched them a year or so back. Then again, I saw someone on the Jail Trail who just had his leash in his hand…

The only reason that he hasn’t is his disturbing strength. When I was at my heaviest (350lbs), this 45 lb dog could yank me off my feet.


Tabby
Participant
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I’m sure there are articles and videos you could google.

I got my dog to jog with me and I just hold the leash with my hand. It’s important to note though, that I don’t wrap it around my hand or anything. If he were to pull away, I’d drop the leash. He’s 60# so he can easily pull me over, but most of the time he doesn’t.

We just ride around the neighborhood alleys and on trails.

I trained him to run on the left side. When he was first learning, I would walk the bike and him. If he tried to go further ahead than the front wheel or cross in front of the wheel I would stop and simultaneously make a scold sound. Ditto for if he tried to pull in another direction or something.

Now, I do kind of regret not training him for the right side of the bike because that would put him towards the edge of the trail and me more in the middle and would just be a bit better for traffic flow. He doesn’t like being on the drivetrain side, and when we’ve tried it my shifting gears spooks him.


Tabby
Participant
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one other issue I thought of. he gets so excited about going for a bike ride that when I get on the bike he wants to start running right away and has almost pulled me over by starting to run before I’ve gotten going. This is disturbing and really important to master the starting and stopping, not just the going.

When we start I ask him to ‘wait’, then ‘okay’ and ‘easy’, then another ‘okay’ to get up to speed. I tell him ‘good’ as we’re going so that he knows the speed is right. When we’re slowing it’s ‘easy’ again. And when we stop it’s ‘stop’.


Lyle
Participant
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I think it’s a bad idea. But you might talk to the dog training people about it. I usually just answer questions about how to avoid dogs…


reddan
Keymaster
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When we start I ask him to ‘wait’, then ‘okay’ and ‘easy’, then another ‘okay’ to get up to speed. I tell him ‘good’ as we’re going so that he knows the speed is right. When we’re slowing it’s ‘easy’ again. And when we stop it’s ‘stop’.

Sounds almost like how a tandem team interacts…


ejwme
Participant
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Her name, we believe (well, she and I know and the hubby will come around) is now Daisy. It used to be Dae-Dae, which was dumb-dumb. The nickname for both is the same, so it should be a good transition. She’s a crazy strong 55#.

Tabby – I never though of that, either walking her with the bike or that side would matter – it totally makes sense.

I have a friend who bikes with his schnauser, but he says he never trained her, “she just insisted on coming with me and it worked.” I’m not betting on luck like that, I like Tabby’s plan :)

Thank you!


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20070805181230/http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=669&category=features

Solid article.

If you can’t get control of her I’d really really suggest taking her on trails only. You’ll end up on the pavement at some point or she’ll end up in front of a car. I can’t imagine riding with a dog on pavement and I’ve done it.

As for off road just take them with you. Dogs are pretty natural at it. They’ll run off a few times but they’ll come back. And you’ll buzz them a few times with your tire and they’ll learn a valuable lesson.

And the obvious dog owner stuff like make sure they can sit, stay, come. Left and right are handy to teach them too. And bring a ton of treats so they learn to like it early on.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I think I read somewhere that “Dae Dae” is Vietnamese for “will dodge in front of your bike and put you in the hospital.”


Mick
Participant
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Saw a guy on the panther hollow trail, moving at about 10mph in the upwards, northerly direction, riding his skateboared pulled by a husky.


Mick
Participant
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Sounds almost like how a tandem team interacts…

They do it doggie style:

He sits up and begs, then she rolls over and plays dead.


KBrooks
Participant
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Chris beat me to the post.

My partner and I have since taught our dogs to run along a bike while on leash, for times and places when they need to be leashed, but they’re still not perfect at it, probably because we don’t do it enough. Training the dog to respond to commands and not relying on your leash-pulling would be ideal.

Obviously, some dogs will take to it more easily than others, but it always comes down to how much time and patience you have to train.


ejwme
Participant
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Thank you Chris for that article, published proof that I’m not the only crazy person (key in negotiations with husband). I’m not so keen on the off-the-leash idea, though it seems like it could be more fun for her, it could also get out of control fast. The leash, I’m hoping, will be used more to inspire confident comfort in strangers rather than actually be of use to the two of us in terms of communicating or pulling. If we can’t accomplish that, we won’t be trying this outside our suburban plan. Fun and safe are the main goals, it’s not worth it to me if we can’t accomplish both. (So no worries, we won’t be terrorizing trail users with human-canine antics).

She does know her commands, favorites appear to be “sit” and “paw”, which she does spontaneously without us asking and very, very often. She’s still teaching us what words she knows, but her previous owners very clearly loved her and trained her well. I hope we can continue the trend.

Thanks everybody for thoughts and help. I really appreciate it!


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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@ejwme I routinely ride with one if not two dogs off leash. I would only do it in Frick (another thread entirely).

I’d feel comfortable with my shepherd on a leash but with sight hounds you really can’t do that. Once they acquire a target they are locked in.


miasme
Participant
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I’ve now composed two possible replies to this thread.

I guess I want to meter my response. Truth be told, I’ve been bitten by dogs while riding, most recently was last week. If you don’t have control of your pet it or others could be hurt. the recent owner consoled me ‘oh she won’t bite”, less than a minute before it bit my left ankle. I was riding home past Schenley pond with a coworker trailing me. To avoid argument I will say I was quite patient and tried to make light ofthe situation before it even got close and after. To the point that my coworker was shocked at my calm reaction, knowing I’ve been bitten before.

Take stock of your pet. If it attacks someone or gets under someone else’s wheel, what will it/you do? Is what you want to do legal where you are? (off leash in a city park?…)

Apparently I look like a deer or some sort of chew toy when riding.


ejwme
Participant
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miasme – your story is exactly why letting her off leash is a scary thought to me, though she’s got the meekest and mildest temperament imagineable I wouldn’t bet her life on it. I’ve had pets off-leash attacked by wild animals and almost killed (ok, so it was a cat vs. ground hog, but still) and that’s ignoring the stranger-danger situation, so while others might be ok with that situation for themselves, I’m not for us personally.

Over the weekend we’ve started taking her “running”… at my fastest I can’t get her to break a fast walk, hubby got her up to a slow trot while he was sprinting. She needs to really run herself, we’re just not fast enough to keep up and she absolutely will NOT fetch (she doesn’t understand why she would want to go that far away from us).

I’m beginning to think that rollerblading (where I’d kill myself) or biking may be the only way we can keep her as active as she needs to be. For time’s sake, at least 6 days a week these would be taking place in our suburban plan. Parks would be special, since we don’t have any near us. Off leash… risk/return doesn’t fit our comfort levels.

Thanks again for all the advice and concerns, I really appreciate it!


myddrin
Participant
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@miasme

“Take stock of your pet.”

This +1,000. I’ve been around dogs most of my life (my family used to raise seeing eye dogs), and this is simply the best advise.

Always be aware of your pet, and know its body language, behavior and habits. Even the best trained dog can get scared, excited or flustered and act out of character.

My dog is far from perfect, but most people think he’s a dream… its just that I monitor him fairly constantly and when I see he is ready to misbehave and run a quiet interception. :)


bikeygirl
Participant
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@miasme “…Apparently I look like a deer or some sort of chew toy when riding…”

That sucks….. sorry to hear that -didn’t know :(

Gotta say, ever since I’ve heard stories of people being attacked on their bike while riding by wayward dogs, everytime I pass one -even on a leash or if is a tiny dog- it freaks me out a little :/


Tabby
Participant
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ejwme- you mentioned rollerblading. that I can also attest to, and it isn’t pretty. I tried that only once, and it wasn’t with the same dog I talk about above. Anyway, long story short it involved me walking home in my socks carrying the roller blades because the dog and I were not able to get in sync and he was winning by a long shot.


ejwme
Participant
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yeah, on tv they make rollerblading with a dog look so easy… but I don’t know how to stop when it’s just me (I grew up on roller skates – stopper in front feels more natural). figure I’ll go slow no matter what, but thanks for the warning!


ieverhart
Participant
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I forgot to post this until now when I was going through some photos. I ran into this dog surfing on the back of a platform trailer at Fifth Avenue and Neville Street on my way down to the Reverse Keg Ride in November 2009. I don’t know that it’s useful beyond this one cyclist and this one dog, but it was really cool to see coming down the street, and I’m so glad I had my camera ready:


pinky
Participant
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If you try it, I would also suggest training her an emergency recall command that means, “stop everything right this second and come here no matter what.”

So if her normal recall command is “come”, and you use that in the yard/dog park/etc, an emergency recall command will be good for cases when things go wrong.

A friend of mine routinely rides with his Brittany Spaniel, Max. Like others, he holds the leash so he can let it go. Well friend hit a pothole and crashed, and Max got loose. Rather than risk any delay with some much confusion, friend let out his emergency recall word (which hilariously is “caribou”) and Max was at his side in a second.

I don’t think I could trust any of my three to play along. One is too old, one is afraid of bikes, and the last is too stubborn. But I have mountain biked with dogs and I do think it can work.

*Edited to fix a pile of typos.*


Lyle
Participant
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That’s also a good plan for child training.


Pierce
Participant
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@ejwme

Don’t give rollerbladers any ideas. With their side to side motion and certain death if they go over the edge of the pavement, they seem to take up the most amount of space possible on the trails and that’s without dogs trotting alongside them /end rollerblader rant

I would recommend getting a harness connected to a leash. Just seems like better control and less yanking on somebody’s neck.

I would also recommend brining water for Daisy if you’re going for any sort of distance (They make cool fold up water bowls that attach to water bottles)


myddrin
Participant
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Bike Times had a review in the last issue of the Bike Tow Leash, which they reviewed very highly.

T’ain’t cheap as my grandfather used to say… just a little over 120.

http://biketowleash.com

I have not tried it, but have been debating it. Looks like it attaches/removes easily enough, and the videos on the website make it seem super easy.


caitlin
Participant
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there is a whole article about this right now in the newest issue of Momentum!!

http://momentumplanet.com/articles/Issue-52-is-now-available/index.html

read it free right there!


ejwme
Participant
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Somehow I missed a lot of the above, maybe I was out on vacation… Thank you guys for all the info :D Also I do have a substantive update..

Using loosely held 6′ leash, she sticks so close to the bike that it drags all the time, but she loves “going for a bike ride” around the neighborhood. A few times I’ve dropped the leash, she just stops where I dropped it and looks at me like “come and get me please, this isn’t right.” (complete with plaintive paw action, stupidly cute) She’ll stay on either side, whichever one we start with, switching mid “ride” is tricky but she’ll do that too. She has well absorbed her “jogging” training and prefers to be on the sidewalk side contraflow, putting her traffic side in appropriate biking location, I’m working on that (it is, as with most issues, human error rather than canine error).

Did end up getting this product: http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/walkydog-dog-bike-leash.html for ~30-40$ on amazon.com, after ~200+ positive reviews. It arrived today, is very easy to figure out and adjust, we’ll install it and harness her up once my ankle is healed. In the mean time I may try to get my husband to try it so I can see it work, I’m losing patience with this stupid ankle.

Pierce – getting her to drink water is tricky, but putting a saddle bag w/ cooler full of ice and nalgene full of water and her “going to the park” water dish has solved that problem. Ice cubes make it fun, but her priority seems to always be rolling in goose poop.

Pinky – I’m sorely in need of attending training classes with her. She’s got most commands down pat, and while we’ve taught her a few new tricks, I like the emergency recall idea but haven’t a clue how to train her to it. Working on that, thank you for the idea!

Next project is getting her some blinkies for her collar and her very own dorky reflective safety vest (note to others, bike blinkies are half the price “dog blinkies” at the pet shop are, and they appear identical). Luckily she is very patient and tolerant with us, especially when it involves “going for a ride”.


ejwme
Participant
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just an update, preliminary runs with the walkydog is a total success. She really likes to go fast but I don’t bike fast enough to get her past a brisk trot (had no idea I was that slow). I found that starting off was rough, she was scared and I was shaky, but when I gave up “easing into it” and just charged ahead it took her less than half a second to sort out what was expected. Had I insisted we master baby steps, we’d have failed.

The “SQUIRREL!” factor is not an issue when she’s running, it looks like she’s not yet sorted out how to pay attention to much other than “run with the bike, run with the bike, run with the bike, run with the bike” though as we do more, she may find more mental room to get distracted.

Only one little incident – We gave plenty of room to a giant lunging beast of a Weimeraner (sp?) harnessed to an extendable leash, but she still got spooked and made it to the other side of the bike. She came back around and sorted herself out before I could stop and help her. I was more upset than her, typical.

First time I changed gears she got spooked, but the second time she didn’t care. The faster we go, the less afraid and spookable she is. She doesn’t seem to need audible commands for turns or stopping, ignores my feet and watches the front wheel I guess.

The neighborhood thinks it’s awesome. In a few weeks we’ll venture out to a park but for now are just toodling around the neighborhood. I may have one of my neighbors half convinced to get a bike and try it with her dog, we’ll see.

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