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Cycling isn’t usually a social event and one of the main reasons to jump on the saddle is to maintain a healthy lifestyle but, fitness aside, we can most likely all benefit from a little company when pushing those pedals. Like many pet owners, we often think about how to involve our pets in everything we do. We’re all guilty of making sure our furry friends are feeling the love and regularly cycling with your dog holds a ton of positives.
Your dogs’ fitness is pretty important. They not only need regular walks but sometimes increasing their aerobic exercise is important for their health. Sometimes this can be forgotten as not everyone enjoys physical activities such as a morning run. You may have seen the occasional jogger running alongside their dog, but cycling with your dog is a whole different story.
It’s important to nail down the basics before you throw your 4-legged friends in front of your bike. As you can imagine, dogs aren’t born knowing how to run alongside your bike. So, before you start off, here are some quick pointers to keep in mind in order for you and your pup to become work out buddies.
Start out slow
If it’s your first time riding alongside your dog, it’s advised to take it steady. This new, enjoyable experience is about building up an understanding of your new partnership. Your pooch needs to get used to running next to you and vice versa. Building up your speed over time will prevent accidents and help make the whole experience much more enjoyable.
Ride at a pace that your dog can keep up with
Your little friend isn’t a superhero. While it may be easy for you to increase your speed, your dog will certainly struggle. A slow pace is all that’s needed throughout the whole ride!
Keep water on hand
Going on a long job makes you build up a thirst and your tail-wagger is no different. When starting out, a brief drink break shouldn’t be missed.
Always remember safety
Pop on a helmet. If the worst was to happen to you when riding then you need to consider what would happen with your new workout partner. You could be more prone to mishaps on your first time out.
Keep to an easy route
Perhaps riding over rocky terrains with hills isn’t the best idea. Remember, you’re riding for your dog and not so much for your fitness, to begin with. Stick to the flat ground that makes it easy for both of you and then look at increasing the difficulty over time.
Bring out your inner cyclist
Before you can start, it’s important to pick the right type of bike if you don’t already have one. A good place to start is to determine what type of bike you need.
Will you be riding on a smooth surface, freshly cut grass, gravel, rugged paths, or all of the above? If the answer is yes, then your best bet is to opt for something flexible such as a hybrid bike.
If forests, streams, rocks, and branches will be your choice of terrain, you may be better suited to a mountain bike. Surprisingly enough, you can still have a smooth ride with a mountain bike but it is all about ensuring you have the best bike tires should you take to the flatter surfaces.
Gearing up your doggy
Bike? Check. Dog? That’s the easy part.
It’s imperative to guarantee your dog’s safety. Investing in a reflective collar with ID tags and a reflective vest for good visibility is highly recommended.
If you’ve got these bits, then you’re halfway there. But, there is a final bit of equipment you need to get your hands on before your ride is as safe as possible.
Both holding a lead while riding and tying it to the seat is unsafe for your dog and could result in terrible consequences.
Fortunately, there are bike attachments created that can make the ride with your canine companion much safer. Bike leashes such as WalkyDog and BikerDog are awesome for cycling regularly with your dog.
With the semantics handled, you’re now ready to take to the great outdoors while riding with your best friend.
What are the benefits of riding with your dog?
Benefit 1: It’s a challenge
As humans, we’re not the only ones that love a challenge. While your pal may get excited for ‘walks’ every day, you can add much more variety to their exercise regime by adding cycling into the mix.
Benefit 2: Cycling with your dog is fun
There is nothing more enjoyable than change. Keeping things interesting for your dog can encourage good behavior. Your doggie loves to feel like he is doing a good job and earns great pleasure from praise. Remember to tell him how much of a good dog he is being on the ride!
Benefit 3: Exploration
You cover more ground on a bike and you can go further than ever before in the same time frame you normally go on a walk. Spice things up by planning your route. Regular stops are recommended to allow your furry friend to discover new areas. Remember to build up distance over time and don’t jump into a 10-mile ride straight away!
Benefit 4: Motivation
Not only is it a great exercise for your dog but bringing a friend makes for an interesting change. Adding variety to your own fitness routine will keep you more engaged. If you’re bored of riding on your own, having someone to talk to will take the edge off maintaining exercise when you have lost the vision.
Benefit 5: Release your dogs’ energy
Your dog is pushing their limits and exerting far more energy in order to keep up. If you have a hyperactive canine then making the most of exercise time will help them sleep when they get home. A win-win for everyone involved!
Benefit 6: Better Exercise
When your dog runs it helps them to maintain a healthy weight, increases muscle tone, and develops a strong cardiovascular system, protecting them from any obesity-related problems. While regular walks are always great, nothing beats a good run.
Benefit 7: Increase your bond
The human/canine bond tells stories that make your heart melt. It is measured by interaction, dependability, and emotion. Many of us consider our fur babies as part of the family, so going for a ride with your puppy gives him a feeling of being wanted and safe.
Benefit 8: Less destruction
When your four-pawed buddy is bored, you tend to find that items around the house become, well… a little worse for wear. Boredom causes dogs to become depressed, anxious, and destructive. With all the activities available for your dog, there’s no reason to let them get bored. Mixing up your daily routine will ensure there are less chewed up pillows and more snoozing in the day.
Feeling geared up and ready to go? It’s easy to get started! Simply pull out your bike, get your dog leashed up, and head for the trails. There’s very little downside to riding with your dog and with all the benefits, you might be wondering why you haven’t started sooner.
About the Author: Alex Bristol, is a cycling expert (& Frenchie owner) at Pedallers. She focuses on reviewing bike accessories and general cycling. She searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it’s recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.