Biking With Dog: How to Train Your Dog for Canine Cycling

Did you know that the average dog can run at speeds of 30 mph? That is more than 3 times the speed of the average human being, running at 8 mph! And, just in case you are curious about which dog breeds are the fastest and slowest, read our blog post here.

If you are not able to keep up with your dog’s pace, why not try a bike ride with your canine friend? With your dog running alongside or pulling your bike in the fresh air and soaring speed; what more could you ask for? 

Biking with your dog provides benefits for both of you. However, you should never simply strap a dog bike leash to your bike and expect your dog to know what to do! 

Your dog must be fully trained and well-socialized before attempting to go on a bike ride. If your dog pulls the bike leash when walking through the neighborhood, they are not yet ready for biking!

When training your dog for a bike trip, you should consider

  • Size and breed. All breeds have their strengths and limitations and all owners should be realistic about this. 
  • Age. Puppies’ bodies are not ready for intense, long-distance running, and neither are senior dogs. 
  • Behavioral training and socialization. These are key for the safety of both you and your dog before bike training. Make sure your dog obeys your commands and can walk with a loose leash before you can safely enjoy biking.
  • Slow pace. Let your dog get used to your wheels and don’t go too fast, too soon.
  • Best equipment. Neewa has a multitude of dog gear on offer such as bike leashes to ride bikes with your dog. 

Benefits of Biking With Your Dog

Your healthy dog needs fresh air and exercise just as much as you do! Why limit your dog’s experiences to a mere walk when they love to run? Strengthen your natural bond and introduce your dog to biking! What benefits can you expect when biking with YOUR dog?

Energy Release

If your dog is a working breed, it will have plenty of extra energy. You may find that your normal walk routine just isn’t enough for them to dispel their intense stamina. Buy a dog bike leash and see biking is the perfect outlet they need to channel their energy!

Canine Health Benefits

Biking can help improve the health of your canine. High-intensity running can increase their cardiovascular health, and help their muscles and joints. You may also find that your pooch has a much happier mood and fewer destructive behaviors once they have released their dynamic energy.

Your Own Health Benefits

Biking is also amazing for your own physical and mental health. Contributing to your own cardiovascular health and keeping you fit, the endorphins released will lift your spirit and your mood. It should go without saying, that for your safety you need to wear a helmet while biking, and especially while biking with your dog!

Develop Biking Skills

What if you haven’t ridden a bike for several years? Biking with dogs does not have to be an extreme sport, especially at the beginning. Once ready to start biking, cycle at a slow pace so that you can both get used to it. 

You may want to begin with your dog in a basket or crate at first so they get used to the motion of the bike. As you both gain experience, attach your dog to the correct leash and increase your speed gradually. Running alongside your bike, or pulling your bike, at their pace is the best rule to ride by.

Your bond will strengthen as you embark on this new exercise regimen together! Once you feel confident, you could join a dog biking club or dog biking competitions! 

Turn Biking With Dogs Into a Hobby

For dogs who have considerable biking experience, why not give bikejoring a try? Bikejoring imitates dog sled mushing, but your high-energy dog pulls your bike instead of a sled! 

Suitable for larger dog breeds, bikejoring involves using bikejoring lines and attachments to secure your dog to your bike. When using the correct equipment, bikejoring could become you and your dog’s favorite activity!

Perfect Fit Harness - Biking with dog

Perfect Fit Harness | Neewa

How to Train Dogs for Biking

Training for biking with dogs is vital. If your dog pulls away from the leash or runs in front of your bike, you both could get injured. 

Obedience training is pivotal to bike training. Your dog should be able to walk calmly on a leash next to your side. On the bike, it’s critical that you know your dog won’t pull you down if they see a bunny, squirrel, or another dog and run after them. When biking with dogs off the leash, recall techniques should be excellent. 

Remember that bike wheels are larger than most dogs and so they will need to feel safe! Some degree of cautiousness is good, however, so your dog knows not to run in front of the wheels. 

As a starting point, you need to make sure that:

  • Your dog understands important verbal commands and obeys them.
  • Your dog is socialized around other dogs, reducing uncontrollable excitement.
  • Your dog is socialized around people and is not scared by groups of people.

Once you have the basics covered, follow these tips to train your dog for biking: 

  1. Introduce your dog to your bike. They may be nervous at first and not understand what the bike is!
  2. Treats. Give your canine friend their favorite treats and reassure them appropriately. 
  3. Equipment. Visit Neewa for all the equipment you need.
  4. Walking pace. Try walking with your bike and your dog at the same time.
  5. Slow cycling. Begin to cycle slowly and assess your dog’s reaction and obedience.
  6. Build the pace. When ready, ride faster but watch your dog’s reactions cautiously.
  7. Ride regularly. Your dog will easily get used to biking if you do it regularly.
  8. Increase speed. Eventually, you may have to try and keep up with your dog’s speed! 

Training Larger Dogs for Biking

The central focus when training your dog for biking is to use the correct equipment. A dog harness is the foundation of this equipment to keep your dog safe and secure. Choosing a suitable dog harness provides support for the body while ensuring you have full control. 

Large dogs such as Siberian Huskies, Boxers, Border Collies, and Labrador Retrievers are powerful animals. You will need to ensure that all equipment you use fits securely and is comfortable for high-energy dogs. 

Neewa offers a range of harnesses for XL-sized dogs so you can find the perfect equipment for your canine friend! Biking with dogs has never been so easy!

If your large dog is older or overweight, you should prepare breaks for them when biking. If they are panting heavily or drooling excessively they could be overheating. Running alongside your bike can be such strenuous exercise for many dogs that you could choose to use a dog seat or basket for your pooch. 

Your larger dogs may enjoy using a cargo bike, utilizing three wheels to support heavier canines.

Training Smaller Dogs for Biking

Smaller breeds such as the Jack Russell, Pinchers, and Shih Tzu may find biking a difficult task. You must understand the limitations of smaller dogs, such as running at a much slower pace than the speed of larger dogs and having much shorter legs.

Short-nosed dogs, like the Shih Tzu, tend to struggle when breathing and so running for long periods will exacerbate this issue. It may be that a slow ride once around the block is perfect for their little legs and bodies.

Train your smaller dog in shorter bursts and make sure they always have access to freshwater. It is also best to avoid hotter weather for short-nosed dogs.

A smaller dog must have the correct size dog's harness, so look for harnesses for the smallest dogs at Neewa. A harness that is too big may allow a small dog to slip out of the equipment, causing injury.

You may find that smaller dogs cannot run alongside your bike for long periods. Their short legs may become tired and they will be more injury-prone. 

Taking a bike trailer with you on your bike journey may be a good idea to give your small dog rest in between runs. 

A dog bike trailer or bike baskets will give small healthy dogs a much-needed rest for longer rides! Simply attach a bike tow leash, or use a pet basket.

Biking With Dog

 Utility Harness | Neewa

Tips for Biking With Your Pup

Once you have decided to start biking with your dog, what factors do you need to consider?

Determine Your Dog’s Ability

Your dog’s ability will depend greatly on its breed and how fast your dog can run. A Shih Tzu, for example, has short legs and can only run a few miles per hour. In contrast, the Greyhound breed can run over 45 mph!

As well as breed, you should consider any health issues your dog has. For example, is your dog overweight, or do they have a weak limb? Is your dog taking any medication or on a special diet? It is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if you have questions about your dog’s ability to participate in strenuous exercise.

You may still be able to enjoy a bike ride with your dog regardless of your dog’s health status. However, you will have to adjust your expectations and perhaps take a bike trailer to give your furry friend a rest.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Trained Correctly

Training a dog is sometimes misunderstood. Good training is not only about instructing your dog to roll over or to sit! Training is about making sure that your dog understands you, listens to your voice, and obeys consistently.

Most people train their dog when it is a puppy, but it is never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks!

When training your dog, get down to their level and adopt an encouraging tone of voice. Give your dog a treat when a reward is deserved, as well as lots of rubs behind the ears! Many people are very successful with clicker training, and there are lots of videos on how to most effectively use this easy technique.

Have Patience and Train at Your Dog’s Pace

What if your dog doesn’t seem to want to bike with you? Well, then you need to respect your dog’s preferences and personality. 

You should never try to force a dog to go biking as resistance could be dangerous for you and your dog. 

If your dog pulls away when his leash is attached to your bike, you both may suffer an injury. 

Start slowly and train your dog at its own pace, using plenty of positive reinforcement and few distractions.

Protect Your Dog’s Paws

The best terrains that dogs love to run on include grass trails and dirt trails. If you have to use rough terrain, or you are biking on pavement, using dog booties on your dog’s paw pads can add a layer of protection. Remember that hot pavement can be extremely dangerous to the pads of your dog’s feet. According to data reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association, when the air temperature is 86 degrees, the asphalt temperature registers at 135 degrees. So, even though dog paw pads are tougher than human feet, try to ride or walk on the pavement when the temperatures are cooler to ensure the safety of your dog. 

Be Careful With the Weather

Above all, the safety of your dog is paramount, with the weather conditions being a significant factor to assess. 

Remember that the fur covering your dog will make your dog hotter than you, especially long hair breeds. Dog bike trailers can help to give your pet a rest!

Try to limit the amount of time your dog is in direct sunlight and try to ride in cooler climates. It is also important to remember to take lots of breaks for shade and carry lots of drinks to prevent heat exhaustion. Here are the signs that your dog may be experiencing heat stress, according to the American Kennel Club:

  • Seeking shade
  • Limiting movement or restlessness
  • Choosing to sit or lie down
  • Uncontrolled panting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin reddening
  • Excess saliva

The dangerous signs of heatstroke that require immediate veterinary attention are:

  • Confusion
  • Excessive drooling and thickening of saliva
  • Bright red or blue or purple gums
  • Dizziness
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Refusing to drink water
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure

You could also use sunscreen to give extra protection to your dog, especially if they have light skin or white fur, or are a hairless breed. It’s important to use specially formulated sunscreen made for dogs.

What Equipment Do You Need to Bike With Your Dog?

When biking with your dog, you will need:

  1. Water bottles. Several water bottles should be taken for both you and your dog.
  2. Tire repair kit. Be prepared for repairs, and also carry a spare tire.
  3. Cell phone for emergencies
  4. Money for food or emergencies
  5. Reflective equipment. A reflective harness or collar for your dog and reflective clothing for you
  6. Equipment. Appropriate harness and leash for your dog to attach to the seat post. Hands-free dog leashes are perfect for both biking and scootering with your dog.
  7. Snacks. Healthy treats and dog food keep you and your dog’s energy up. 
  8. Dog bike trailer. To give your dog's health a rest!

How to Know if Your Dog Is Ready for Biking?

As a dog owner, when your dog is ready for biking you will know! 

They will exude a bouncy, happy persona and enjoy biking with you. If your dog is not ready, they will appear worried or overly excited around the bike, or pull away in fear. 

You know your canine best friend better than anyone! Just make sure that you introduce riding a bike with your dog gently and consider your dog’s limitations.

At Neewa, we have all the sports gear that a dog lover will need! Whatever sport you want to try with your canine pal, we have the highest quality equipment on the market. 

Visit Neewa today for all of your dog sporting needs!