Cycling with a dog – tips on accessories and practice

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Cycling with a dog – tips on accessories and practice

The dog equipment for cycling must be optimally suited to individual needs. In general, a distinction must be made between two variants of cycling with a dog. The first variant is that the dog runs alongside the bike. With the other solution, the dog is instead transported so that he does not have to run himself. Below we explain different options for both options.

1. Guide dogs on the bike

If the dog is to be active himself and to run with the cyclist, special emphasis must be placed on the quality and safety of the equipment. First of all, it is not advisable to use a conventional collar. Collars with a pull stop can serve as an interim solution, but a chest harness would be much more comfortable for dogs because the cervical spine is relieved. What is important when choosing a harness and what you should always have with you on a bike trip with your dog, you can read in the free e-book “Cycling practice with dog”, which was created by the online bicycle dealer at fahrrad.de.

We also advise against using a conventional dog leash. It does not matter whether it is a tow line, a flexi line or a short lead line. Even well behaved dogs can suddenly startle while driving or be distracted by a wild animal and run away. Falls are inevitable, especially if the leash was negligently attached to the handlebars. Even when holding it in hand, there is usually not enough time to let go in time. Serious accidents can result in road traffic.

A much safer alternative is the so-called bicycle jumper. This is a special bracket that is attached to the rear of the bike. The dog is kept at a distance by means of a bar and is securely connected to the bike. Thanks to the installation position with a low center of gravity, the risk of falling is minimized. The dog must orientate itself at the pace of its owner while running and you have both hands free to steer. Around 50 euros should be invested in a good jumper in order to benefit from maximum security and stability. Jumpers are ideal for medium and large dogs. The individual size of the dog must be included in the purchase decision. While a jumper has the advantage that the risk of falling can be massively minimized and control over the dog can be increased, we do not want to hide the disadvantage: If you lose control of your bike and fall, your dog will not be able to get off the bike on its own . He is in danger because he could end up under the bike and be injured.

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You don’t want to fall back on a jumper but on a leash? Then you should at least opt ​​for a jogging leash and never attach it to the bike. This linen model is worn diagonally across the entire back. The leash cannot be let go in an emergency, but given the fact that a dog shouldn’t run around uncontrolled anyway, this is not a real disadvantage. Instead, you have both hands free to hold the handlebars reliably and smaller movements of the dog can be compensated for. If it gets rougher, it is easier for you to keep your balance compared to fastening the leash to the handlebars, to come to a stop in time and to control the dog. Another alternative is presented in the following video:

2. Transport dogs comfortably

If a dog suffers from physical complaints due to its age, there are alternatives to cycling in which the animal does not have to walk, but is transported as a passenger. The same goes for sick dogs who shouldn’t overexert themselves. The table provides information on suitable solutions including the corresponding advantages and disadvantages:

equipment

Explanation

advantages

disadvantage

Dog bike basket

(for small and medium-sized dogs)

Bicycle baskets for dogs can be mounted on the luggage rack or on the handlebars. There are different sizes, materials and mounting solutions.

  • with closed models, the dog cannot jump out
  • cheap purchase
  • available for every bike
  • hardly any intervention in the cycling of the cyclist
  • Textile products without a grid offer a high level of comfort for dogs
  • open models are not recommended as dogs can jump out and injure themselves and others
  • there is a risk of injury with grille variants
  • Depending on the dog’s weight, its movements while driving can be uncomfortable and lead to falls.
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Dog trailer

(for all dogs)

Bicycle accessories with which almost every bike can be retrofitted. Is mounted at the rear and pulled behind when driving.

  • Existing bikes can be made suitable for dogs
  • Dogs cannot jump out of closed models
  • Comfort
  • available for various dog sizes
  • Dog cannot intervene in the driving process = more safety!
  • Costs: Dog trailers cost at least around 100 euros
  • dogs can jump out of open models

Cargo bikes

(for all dogs)

A cargo bike is a bike with an integrated container for transporting loads. Depending on the construction, dogs can also be transported comfortably.

  • Dogs don’t have to run
  • good for weakened / old animals
  • ideal for long stretches to walk
  • Dogs cannot outline the bike as they can with leashes
  • Costs: such bikes are not available for less than 400 euros
  • When the cargo bikes are open, dogs can jump out of their own accord = high risk of accidents!

Regardless of which solution you choose, you only buy bicycle accessories that are GS and TÜV tested. Then you can be sure that stability and security are convincing.

Practice cycling with your dog

When looking at the possible transport and leadership options that you have in relation to cycling with a dog, one thing becomes clear: Without educational measures, each variant carries the risk of falls, accidents and injuries. Training is essential to minimize the risk. The most important rule for you as a cyclist is to get your dog used to cycling slowly. Only with patience and consistency can you familiarize the animal with the means of transport and prevent fears from developing. We have put together practical tips to make the project easier:

  • Health: Only fit and healthy dogs should walk next to the bike. In case of doubt, the veterinarian should be consulted to check the state of health.
  • Training: Dogs should only be confronted with cycling if they have mastered the basic rules of training and obey commands. Your dog should be on a leash and obey your every word. The relationship between humans and dogs must be characterized by trust.
  • Step by step: At the beginning, go for a walk with your dog as usual (on a leash!) And only push the bike next to you. Dogs can get used to the bike this way. After a few walks on the bike, your dog should get used to it. Now you can start practicing necessary commands like “stop” or “continue”. You can only start driving when you are sure that the animal will listen to your announcements in traffic. Practice short distances first and drive very slowly. You can slightly increase the pace continuously so that the dog can get used to it.
  • Speed: Remember that the dog has to take many steps to keep up with you when you pedal. Adjust your pace and watch out for your four-legged friend. If he’s panting too hard, you’re going too fast. Reduce your speed and take sufficient breaks to relax and drink.
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Conclusion

Cycling with your dog can be a great shared activity. Provided that you as the owner pay close attention to your four-legged friend and recognize the corresponding signals of excessive demands in good time. Good equipment, education and trust are the three basic factors for safe touring, both of which are fun.