Biking/Cycling with Your Dog

I’ve seen people biking with their dogs.  Many just hold the leash and hang on as they pedal.  This is just an accident waiting to happen …aka dog veering off after a squirrel and YOU taking a header into the nearest bush.    Various people have come up with safer ways of engaging in this activity with their dogs.  WIth pros and cons to each.  Note: I have not used any of these as my tendency is to bike too fast and too inconsistently to be safe with any dog.  :)  But for a person who is able to bike at a slower pace consistently, these are a great way to exercise your dog.

You MUST work at your dog’s pace.  You aim for your dog to be at a steady trot, but be prepared if your dog is tired to slow down to a walk.   Depending on your dogs condition you may need to build up your distance slowly.   In time you should be able to take your mid to larger sized dog out for a 3-5 m

There is the springer – This one tends to work best with older, street model bikes.  And the harness it comes with is not supposed to be great and therefore one might wish to purchase something that suits your individual dog better.

And the Walky Dog -  Doesn’t come with a harness.   Attaches to the bike seat post which puts it up higher, also means that depending on how high you put your seat you may be able to run more than one dog (just have them running on different sides of the bike).

And the last one is BikerDog -  Comes with a harness which is reported to be better than the one with the Springer.    It’s not as well known.   Some people are concerned that the dog might be able to fall behind too much thereby making it harder to monitor it’s condition while being exercised.

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37 thoughts on “Biking/Cycling with Your Dog

    • But then again, aren’t you risking more by not having a leash while biking with your dog? Even the most well trained dogs can be distracted for only a moment, but that moment is long enough to get them hit by a car or have a fatal accident.

    • hi had boxers all my life and truth is take some wearing out. my age is 55 just started again with young boxer brought food and got a harness free so tried with dog on bike wow what a thrill takes me miles never crosses wheel he is just nature trekker best fun i have ever had with dog

  1. Good article!

    Cynthia – If it is done with the right equipment, in the right area (ie. not a main road) and at the dogs pace, it is totally safe and enjoyable for both the dog and human.

  2. thank you Phil. Glad you stopped by. :) and thanks also for your comments to Cynthia that biking can be safe with your dog, it’s all a matter in how one does it. :)

  3. I have just started walking my Dalmatian while riding my bike. He is an absolute nightmare on the leash when i walk him, until I get onto my bike. Then he transforms into an angel who just wants to trot alongside me! He never tries to cross my path or anything like that.

    The products mentioned here all sound pretty good, but I live in the UK and none seem to be available here.

  4. I’ve tried biking with my dog and he loves it. I am hesitant and only do it in quiet areas where there are few people and cars. I also know when I can and can’t trust my dog, and the best ways to control him. I would not try it right away with a new dog. One problem though is he doesn’t know when he’s reached his limits, so I have to be very aware and go at a slow pace. He is the kind of dog that will run and run until he is almost sick.

  5. I bike with my dogs all the time. I do the hang on and go method. I find it actually way more dangerous to have the dog connected to the bike for both dog and human. My dogs are very well trained when it comes to the bike and even then we’ve had some nasty falls when the dogs were connected to the bike. Never once while the dog was being held like it usually would if you were walking it.

    That’s just my personal experience though.

  6. I tried biking with one of my dogs because she needs more exercise than I can give her while walking. At first I held onto the leash while riding but soon realized that doing so was asking for real trouble. So I hooked her leash to the seatpost of the bike. I use a relatively short leash (approx. 4 ft) so that she cannot easily get in front of the bike … she has to stay to the side. I make her run along on the right side so that she will be away from traffic. This particular dog, Zoe, is a brindle pit-bull / shepherd / lab?? mix. She loves to run and pull. I got a harness for her so that she would not pull so hard on her collar.

    Since Zoe runs to my right, left turns are not a problem …. she just follows me around the corner. Right turns require a bit more practice. I let her know we are about to turn, then slow down a bit, and using my right leg, I push out on her leash. That gives her the clue to stay to the right. We did this at low speed at first. Now I still take care, but she has learned how to handle right-hand turns.

    I weigh about 200 pounds and Zoe weighs about 50 pounds. So she has to go the way I want to go even if she sees a squirrel or cat or another dog. We ride around my neighborhood on quiet streets most of the time, but lately I have been taking her to the drugstore on errands and that way we can get 4 or 5 miles of good exercise.

    I have another dog, Mo, who is just about the same size. She has no desire to pull, but she does enjoy running along. She is rather timid so we are just starting to cruise the neighborhood together.

  7. I recently started doing this with two of my dogs that have more energy than I could ever muster for one walk. I was walking all three together when we lived in the country. We could walk for over an hour and never run into anyone but we moved and live ina very populated area. I can’t walk each one for that long so for the two that love running, I harness them up, one at a time and attatch them to my bike with a bungee cord type leash. Jasmine behaves perfectly. She never tries to cross over, she stays away from the wheels, she follows my directions and totally ignores other dogs while she runs. However, Bear is a wild card. He pulls me so fast then stops on a dime. He tends to drift to the left side of the road regardless of the fact that he is right beside my wheel. I think I will have to find a shorter leash for him to see if helps control him any.

  8. I’d recommend doing some ground work training with Bear first. Teaching him a good heel command. Adding the bike slowly as he understands what a good heel on a bike means.

  9. I would never decide to ride with my dogs. I have 2 labs and they have a mind of their own. The are constantly distracted by anything in the road that interests them. They want to sniff everything in their path and no amount of work I do gets them to do otherwise, and I’m sure that I am not the only dog owner that has troubles like these with their dogs.

  10. biggest trick is training the ground work first.

    teach them that they need to listen to you first, sniff second. Needing to figure out how to get them to realize that you are indeed more important than following their own noses.

  11. The Test is to really know and trust yourself and dog.

    I have been working with my German Shepherd to run beside of me while I ride my bike. At first I will be honest with you, it was tough because she was pulling me it was hard to control her. After a couple of runs, she did slow down and listened to my command as I held the leash in my left hand and drove the bike with my right hand. German Shepherds are natural working dogs and she absolutely loved it.

    The key is to properly work your dog so he/she knows leash control. If you do not do this, you will end up hurting yourself or the dog. Remember, you must control the pace, if not, an accident will be waiting to happen.

  12. I have some more information and some videos of the WalkyDog up close and in use for those of you that are interested. Thank you agilitynut for stressing the importance of working at your dogs own pace. This can be a great activity when the right care is taken. My Dog Parker and I enjoy the WalkyDog everyday – see Parker in the videos below.

    Here is the url: http://walkydog.thedogoutdoors.com

    More WalkyDog in action videos:

    http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/wavitu.html

  13. I have just bought a new bike specifically for running my Dobermann. My old bike is now sadly deceased. Lexx the Dobe loves running as do most dogs and we just used to use a lead. Today though I ordered a walky dog thingamyjig to see if they’re any good.

    To those whos say things like “I’d never consider riding with my dogs as they are not easily controllabe” etc. really should be looking toward themselves as to why their dog’s aren’t controllable. EVERY DOG IN THE WORLD independent of breed can be trained to be a good stable dog. Cycling with a dog should be no different to walking with a dog – a well trained dog will not chase squirrels whilst on the lead, will not stop dead whilst walking at heal and will sniff and pee when you let him, not as and when he wants. Seriously it seems there are a lot of people out there who can’t be bothered to train their dogs to a decent standard – if after 2 years my Dobe (A real hard headed dog) still lurched at other dogs and squirrels whilst under my control I’d be pretty (expletive) off with myself.

    Cycling with a dog is fun, gives them great exercise and if controlled properly there’s no reason for either dog or handler to come to any harm.

  14. If you can’t control your dog when you are walking without a bike you won’t be able to control it when you are on. Train your dog, it’s that simple. First, you, the human, have to learn how to walk train and walk a dog, then you have to teach it properly and work with it. If your dog pulls and/or doesn’t obey your commands then it is your fault and you need work with it in order to change its behavior. You can’t expect your dog to behave properly if you just let it do its thing, don’t work with it or train its body and mind, and let it think it is the boss.

  15. And check this out– http://www.dogpoweredscooter.com.

    Agree with the above comments. We’re not the world’s greatest trainers, but we’ve gotten our rescue mutt to at least walk (and scoot) like a gentleman. Train a little first, and you and your dog will be a lot happier.

  16. Hi all…

    Check out this group to talk about riding with your dog…
    we want people to talk about their experiences and give others suggestions on the best places to ride with their dogs…

    with a bike leash it’s safe and tons of fun!

    Saba

  17. I do this for a living..i bike people’s dogs so when they come back they are tried and ready to relax at home. this is great for high energy dogs. i Have done up to 4 dogs at a time. two dogs on each side. i like the harness if you going to have the dog pull you and burn energy quickly, but its harder to get control over your dog if he sees a bird or any other animal. the choke chain, prong collar or my favorite the limited choke chain are great to use because you can correct your dog. while biking you dog should be focus on what he is doing and if he gets distracted you can correct it. dog learn quickly with the bike people have a harder time to learn to focus on their own dog people traffic animals, etc. Once you get that down everyone will be looking at you with amazement. i love doing this and i notice you build a great bond with the dog you are biking. if you worried start at not so busy streets and work your way up. i live by ny city so you can guess its pretty busy so dogs get use to it easyly. have fun and any questions you can contact me at andrea_batista@msn.

  18. I’ve been running my 6 month old red heeler with a bike since we first got him (started him off very slowly walking beside the bike and gradually got faster).

    I do the hang on method. I attach him to a harness, wind the leash around my hand a few times and take off. I like the control I have over him with this method, though it’s not something I’d recommend to other people. It took some practice for me to be able to hold him and the steering wheel at the same time, but I’m an experienced cyclist, and it gets easier and easier everytime as my dog learns more about the bike and what I want from him.

    He sets the pace at all times. If he feels like galloping, I let him. Sometimes he’ll pull me along, and seems to really enjoy this (he knows the “whoa!” command, and more importantly – I check my brakes daily to make sure they are in good working order). Most of the time, he’s content to trot along beside my back wheel at about 7 mph.

    I haven’t tried any of the products mentioned, but am very curious about them. I think I’d miss being able to give my dog some extra leash and let him charge ahead of me a bit when the spirit moves him (it’s a sort of racing game we like to play. He loves it and will bark at me in joy with every stride he takes), as well as pulling the leash in when there are a lot of distractions and I want to control him more. What are y’all’s thoughts on this?

  19. it all depends on your control and your dog. IF your dog suddenly takes off after a critter do you have the ability to stop him AND control your bike at the same time. (and never say never because Dogs can be …unpredictable at times).

    Most people can’t. So using something to help, helps!

  20. I think biking is a fun activity not only for you, but also one that can be done with your dog. Whether you have an athletic dog who’s able to keep up with the pace of a bike or a smaller pet who just wants an outing, riding in a bicycle basket, biking together is an excellent bonding experience for an owner and his (or her) best friend.

  21. I have been cycling with my dog for 5 years ~ you have to feel comfortable and your dog has trust you. I would like to go further than at present and recently bought a childs’ trailer, but find it too big and not really suitable for my dog when he is tired. Has anyone any suggestions on a specific bike trailer for a medium sized dog ~ or for that matter any other suggestions for long cycle rides when my dog gets tired ~ besides the obvious of stopping an having a rest!!

  22. Barbara,
    I use a dog trailer for my dog. I use the large size but they also make a medium. It’s the Solvit Trackr trailer. It’s a sturdy trailer. The wheels do not come trued though. I figured it wasn’t a big deal since there were no brakes on the trailer but the spokes were soon so loose that they were making sounds with each turn of the wheel. So I went ahead and tightened all the spokes and trued them as much as I could and everything is good now. There are a few little cargo pockets and two zippered, screened doors with screened sides so there is a lot of ventilation. They also have d rings inside to connect a leash to so they can’t jump out. It’s a nice trailer.

  23. We don’t just have our house on our bikes, we also have our two dogs, Jack and Paco, along for the ride. That’s 60kg of furry luggage and another 50-60kg of non-furry luggage between the two of us.

    We have been on the road since July 2008. So far we have clocked over 17,000 kms & visited 18 countries in Europe.

    To accommodate our big dog Jack (45 kg) we have a Cycletote trailer for him (http://www.cycletote.com/doggy_tote.html). Our smaller dog Paco rides on the back of my Surly Big Dummy longtail bike. The dogs often walk up the steep hills, attached to our bikes for safety.

    To see more about cycling/traveling/camping with dogs check out our site:

    http://cyclinggypsies.wordpress.com/

  24. I bike with my husky daily. He’s an obedient dog, but has a LOT of energy, and merely walking doesn’t provide an outlet to burn it.

    I’ve only ever held on to the leash with my right hand, and the handlebars with my left. Jet (dog) had to learn to avoid obstacles to the left, so the leash wouldn’t get tangled on things, but that only took a couple mistakes. If we’re moving fast enough, he doesn’t stop to sniff anything. Sometimes, he will stop during a full-blown charge to pee or poop though, but my arm is strong enough to pull him a little as I slow down, making sure I don’t get yanked off the bike. So both human and dog need strong muscles for this!

    He runs at top speed for as long as he can, and then exhausts himself and we trot home. I suppose maybe if I controlled his speed (which I do sometimes) we could run for longer distances, but it’s more or less perfect to me. We (ideally) make multiple trips per day instead of one long one, giving me time to get work and research done.

    Finally, I ALWAYS bike on the sidewalk. I live in Los Angeles, and drivers simply do not pay attention (EVER) to the line on stop signs, backing out of driveways, there are few bike lanes, etc. I suppose I’m risking a ticket but a cop would have to be a real assh*le to give me one. As well behaved as Jet is, he’s potentially unpredictable and if the leash got tangled in the spokes or something we’d take a tumble into traffic. I also have to bike on the grass to avoid people/dogs on the sidewalk but it’s rarely a problem. I suppose this is potentially the most dangerous part.

    I really don’t think you need any fancy products or leashes or harnesses. Find a long, level trail or street with minimal traffic or obstacles and let your dog run wild. After you know the speeds he/she is capable of, it’s easier to know what to expect from them. A dog that is a hassle on walks (pulling in every direction, not heeling etc.) may be much easier to handle at high speeds. Oftentimes they just need a suitable outlet for all that energy (just read the ingredients in their food!).

    • Hello, just stumbled on this blog and comments, so forgive the late arrival :)

      Have adopted a rescued Husky, who took extremely well to our first biking session (1.5 mi, slow trot around the ‘hood).

      I was reading up on the breed… and in North Carolina as well as LA, we don’t exactly have a tundra for the pups to run on.

      Anyways, my question was regarding her paws- have you had to take any special precautions besides the obvious of monitoring condition, toenails, etc?

      Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!!

  25. I just ordered Walky dog but, just holding a leash is not as dangerous as everyone is reporting. My 80 pound pit likes to pull towards dogs and cats. And to be 100% honest holding a leash has not caused me major problems.

  26. Hi…..are good ideas the boot for dogs who run besides a bike in the hwy?…or their paws are ok without boots?

    and for how long a dog can kep runing?.
    Thanks
    Gerardo

  27. depends on your dog as to how far they can run. A dog able to run should be moving at a nice speed without lagging. You’ll need to build up their endurance if they haven’t done it before.

    Also depends on your dog if they need boots or not. Keep an eye on their pads. If you think they’ll need pad, get non-cloth ones. There are good ones out there, just search for them. :)

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  29. I bike with up to 4 dogs at once, a Doberman Pknscher, German Pinscher and 2 Miniature Pinscher fosters. To be safe I ride an adult trike, have the leashes secured to my waist and have all dogs basic obed trained. I used to bike my showdogs 20 yrs ago but find the trike is better. I can’t be pulled over. The Dobe and German Pins often wear backpacks. I go up to 30 mins/3 miles. The dogs love it.

  30. My dog was excellent on the bike and we enjoyed many rides together. I held onto her leash and the handle bar and she trotted beside me happily. However, it is the off leash dogs in the neighbourhood who give us trouble. They run after my dog and try to sniff her butt. One day a border collie came out of an orchard and attacked her hind end. She turned to defend herself and I went flying over the handle bars and crashed onto my shoulder on the pavement and heard a crack. Needless to say I have never taken my dog bike riding again.

  31. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would
    cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% certain.
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