Tips, Tricks, and Safety when Biking with Dogs
August 26, 2022
Dogs, for many of us, are considered members of the family. So it’s no surprise that we want to share some of our passions, interests, and hobbies, with our furry family members when we can! Including, cycling.
It’s become increasingly common to see a rider with their dog on a bicycle nowadays. That’s why on this National Dog Day, we’re going to review some general tips and safety guidelines everyone should become familiar with when deciding to go biking with their dog!
Accessories: How to Bike With Your Dog
There are several ways you can share your hobby with your furry friend. Rather than spending countless time scrolling through your phone, searching “how to ride a bike with dogs” or “is it safe for a dog on the bike,” we’ve compiled all that information and more into one designated space for you. Let’s jump in!
Bike Baskets for Dogs
The simplest and most common way to go biking with your dog is to secure them in a bike basket, whether a front basket or rear basket. A front basket will typically attach to your bike’s handlebars while a rear basket secures to a rear bike rack. In some cases, a bike basket can even attach to the Seatpost downtube when using a durable mount!
Using a basket to share biking with your dog is generally best for smaller breeds, ensuring they fit within the basket's weight limits and size dimensions. Moreso, locating a basket that is specifically designed for dogs to ride in, meaning it features safety straps to prevent them from accidentally falling or jumping out throughout your ride.
Bike Trailers for Dogs
Bike trailers, similar to trailers designed for toddlers and small children, are an excellent choice for medium to large dogs. Small dog breeds too if you prefer to pull them along behind you! While bike trailers for toddlers or small children can be modified to work for dogs, you can also look for a bike trailer specifically designed for dogs, like the Burley Tail Wagon Trailer. Most dog trailers easily attach to most bikes, making them a safe, reliable, and easy way for your furry friend to tag along with you! Especially if your dog is older in age or health and can’t keep up with a moving bike. Or, you live in an area that’s crowded or busy with people and traffic or in a particularly hot climate (paw safety!). Pulling them behind you in a dog trailer is a great way for them to still get out and explore with you while keeping them protected physically, as well as from the elements and crowds.
Bike Leashes for Dogs
For larger dogs with particularly higher activity levels, biking with them running alongside you can also be another great way to ride a bike with your dog! Whether that’s on your favorite trail or simply biking around the neighborhood. However, before giving this a try, it’s imperative to check with your veterinarian if your dog is in the right physical health and condition to do this safely. Once given clearance, it’s safest to use a bicycle leash that attaches directly to your bike. Otherwise, biking with your dog using a traditional leash may be a safety hazard, whether they unintentionally lean into your wheels or get the leash tangled. Having peace of mind that your dog leash is attached directly to your bike will ensure you’re not distracted by holding a leash, and can instead focus on steering ahead!
The Basics: Training, Temperament, and Tips
When you’re just beginning to experiment with bike riding with your dog, it’s important to ease into this new activity with your furry friend. This means getting them acclimated to whichever method listed above fits with their health, lifestyle, and abilities. From there, the following are some helpful tips and tricks to ease you into sharing your passion for riding a bike with your dog.
- Bike Baskets for Dogs. Before going on a bike ride and even prior to installing a front or rear basket onto your bike, get your dog familiar with the basket! Introduce them to this new accessory slowly, whether that’s lifting them into the basket or allowing them to jump in on their own time. Once in, secure them and give treats and praises before lifting them out. The key, then, is to practice and repeat this same process while the basket is attached to your bike: lift them in, secure, treat, and praise, then lift them out. Once they get comfortable, start to increase the amount of time your dog stays in the basket, continuing to praise and treat them for excellent behavior. After confirming that they’re fully secured and strapped in, gently roll away on your bike while stopping to still praise and treat them along the way!
- Bike Trailers for Dogs. The key to bike riding with your dog using a trailer is familiarity. With the trailer detached from your bike, encourage them to hop in and praise and treat them when they do! Then, encourage your dog to jump out of the trailer, still praising and treating again. Repeat these steps until your dog becomes comfortable hopping in and out of your bike trailer. Once they’ve accomplished this, attach their harness to the trailer straps and manually move the trailer. Start with just a few inches, praising and treating along the way, until you work your way up to a few feet. Once your dog is comfortable, start with shorter bike rides, regularly stopping along the way to check on and reward your furry friend!
- Bike Leashes for Dogs. When starting biking with your dog using an attached bike leash, begin slow, for short distances, at slow speeds. If you haven’t caught on by now, it’s imperative to start slow! After you’ve mounted the leash securely to your bike, attach your dog’s harness to the bike leash, treating and praising them before the next steps. Slowly roll your bike forward, and as your dog starts to walk alongside your bike, praise them with a treat. Slowly build your way up to riding down the street, or around the block, then pushing further. Along the way, stop to praise and treat your dog as they acclimate to walking alongside your bike. In addition to making sure your veterinarian signs off on your dog’s health before taking off on your bike ventures, ensure that the temperature of any concrete you’ll be riding on is safe for their paws.
We hope this article was insightful in helping you uncover the do’s and don’t of biking with dogs, and has equipped you with a starting point for determining how to ride a bike with your dog! Whether that’s fitting them in a dog-safe bike basket, carrying them in a dog trailer, or having them gallop alongside you with a bike-specific leash. Each of these options, when safely practiced, will allow you to share your favorite hobby with your dog! With that, we wish you and your furry friend happy and safe bike riding!