How to Mountain Bike with a Dog – Introduction
By Jeffery Kuck
In this lonely world, having a better partner for a leisurely ride than your preferred pooch could be a challenge!
If you’re planning to experience cycling with a dog, know that dogs are always passionate regardless of the length of that ride, the speed, or the destination. However, as healthy as mountain bike rides can make both of you stay fit, the activity can also be greatly harmful and damaging to your dog if some appropriate steps are neglected.
If you are reading this article because you want to do it the right way and possibly avoid mistakes, then you would find this handy.
Can Dogs Be Introduced to Mountain Biking?
Generally, mountain biking is for dogs regardless of the breed. However, experts suggest that before you and your puppy can go on a pedaling mission, you must let a vet carry out a thorough check on their health to prevent disastrous rides.
Many cyclists have suggested different ideologies that worked for them in introducing their puppies to running or riding with them. These ideas played out fine due to time dedicated to their dogs coupled with consistency.
If you have been feeling uneasy about training your dog and you’re determined to retry, follow the lists below, and you’ll be sure to help almost any pup get on the leash-less ride.
- Introduce a bike: Dogs new to mountain biking need to acknowledge that they would be dealing with bikes, not only the bike owners. In doing that, adequate training words or actions must be told and revealed to the dog consistently. For instance, the dog must be told to always stay near the rider, at the back of the wheel, and not at the front.
- Start with on-leash: When a dog is being trained for adventure purposes, to avoid any complications, it must start with on-leash even after it has been introduced to a bike. This will put it under control and gradually instill in it a sense of regarding his owner as the boss.
- Keep sessions short, and practice more: Dogs are like human beings—they get frustrated and act weird when they tend to overthink. Sessions should be straightforward when you’re just getting started to train your dog to keep up on a trail ride. A few commands in a session are enough; however, each session can be repeated to solidify its knowledge. Two to three sessions can be satisfactorily done in a day.
- Find a safe and legal spot: Another superb way to make a dog fit for mountain biking is to get a safe locality. It should be ideal for a naïve dog in early training and for innocent strangers who may be afraid of dogs. However, if you want the dog trained off-leash, although it’s generally allowed, it should be carefully done in a place separated from major roads or hazards.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Dog Breed
Picking the right dog breed might not always look like a walk in the park, especially if you’re looking to get a dog that satisfies your desires on trails and your lifestyle. However, you stand to be better informed with the listed considerations below.
- Honesty: Realistically, you need to be sincere about the hours per day or per week you want to dedicate to your dog. Dog breeds with excellent performance tend to be genuinely bred to train all day. Similarly, if the dedicated hours chosen to train your dog per day don’t agree with the actual hours being utilized, it would still have no impact.
- Home size: Your family size has a great impact on your dog’s training. While some dog breeds can perfectly grow in a noisy family area, others would not be able to cope. Hence, knowing this before getting your dog helps.
- Temperament and trainability: How interested, experienced and patient are you in putting time into training? Dogs are wired differently from human beings, and raising them wouldn’t be the same— some might be easier to train, and some prove difficult.
5 Best Trail Dog Breeds for Mountain Biking
Of the numerous trail dog breeds you might have come across, here are the best to serve your needs and offer your excellent results.
- Border Collie: Collie is a British breed of herding dog, and she ranks high on the list of best trail dog breeds for mountain biking. The reason is not unconnected to her limitless strength and vitality, intelligence and trainability, endurance, and working drive, all of which sets her apart from others.
- Vizsla: Another dog breed that’s perfect for pedaling activity is Vizsla, and he hails from Hungary. Viszla is a smooth-coated hunting dog of notable bearing and appearance. He is strong, built, and blessed with an outstanding nose and great trainability.
- Labrador: Labrador or Retriever is a British dog breed, and he’s specifically popular in the Western World because he’s widely kept as a guide or assistance dog. Labrador is lighthearted, faithful, and compliant.
- Australian Cattle Dog: Cattle Dog was originally trained in Australia, and he’s very protective of his owners because of their strong bonds. ACD is nicknamed Red Heeler or Blue Heeler, and he’s convenient to train, intelligent and vigorous.
- Spaniels: Spaniel is the last on the list of the best dog breeds for mountain biking. He was developed from the English Water Spaniel, and it has been extinct for half part of the 20th The good thing about Spaniel dog is that he’s always up for anything; always smiling!
How to Mountain Bike With a Dog
Below are some of the proven ways to mountain bike with a dog:
- Be patient enough until they’re mature: Immature dogs are not suitable for full rides yet, even when they have the strength. According to research, at least 14 months is the appropriate time for a dog to go on any length. However, a mile or less ride with a young dog isn’t discouraged if carefully done on soft paths.
- Don’t feed them before the ride: It usually takes dogs about 12 hours for their food to be processed and be converted into energy. Therefore, it’s not palatable for a dog scheduled for a big ride with you to be fed that same day. Likewise, after the ride, it is not advisable feed your dog immediately for about 30-40 minutes. Instead, be sure they have been fed a day before.
- Take note of Overheating: This is probably the most vital key point when riding together with your four-legged friend. Dogs, unlike humans, can’t sweat and cool noticeably. However, the rider is expected to stop riding when a dog starts acting strangely, such as walking unsteadily or not obeying commands. Failure to observe this has led to deaths or injury for many dogs.
- Let them warm up: This is relatable to humans. Having dogs warm up before a lengthy and vigorous activity is reasonable to keep them in good shape. This may include jogging or light walking.
The thrilling thing about mountain biking with a dog is that you won’t have to ride on the trails alone. Now that you have been informed on how to choose the right partner, I trust the precautions provided in this article will guide you to ride and lead safely!
Image: Unsplash/ Himiway Bikes and Anthony Fomin
Jeffery Kuck is a contributor at I Can Cycling, a blog about all sorts of cycling and lifestyle-related topics. Jeffery is passionate about the cycling lifestyle and wants to help the community to get an expert guide from his writings.