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  1. #1
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    Trail riding with a dog

    Two things:

    First. Seems in this area, where most mountain bike trails are in state parks, the subject of mtb'ing with dogs can be a heated one. I believe Michigan state parks require dogs be on a 6' leash, so some riders get bent out of shape if a dog is not on a leash, and others simply don't like dogs being on the trail. I presume mountain biking with a dog on a leash is pretty difficult and dangerous, but must say myself I have never tried. What do you think? Dogs, no dogs, or dogs only on leashes?

    Second. I have a dog - Golden Retriever/Australian Shepherd mix. She has a good amount of energy, and I would love to have her run along side me on the trail without a leash (as long as BF is cool with that idea :-). From those who have experience, how did you train your dog to run along side you as you bike? Was it difficult? When did you know it was the right time to take off the leash?
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  2. #2
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I've ridden on trails with the those who insist on riding with their dogs. One in particular brought his AKC certified german shephard. The dog did what dogs do when suddenly placed in a fast moving, outdoor envirionment. The dog became confused, it ran after guys on mountain bikes, causing at least one wreck (maybe more). The owner then said the saying that drives roadies nuts, "Oh, he's freindly, he doesn't bite" as he's trying to bite another bikers leg. Then it caught site of some wild deer, and gave chase. Last I saw, the owner was trying to get a group together to find his dog. I'm pretty sure he never found it as a german shephard was found dead not far from the trail in less than a week after he lost the dog.
    If you want to ride with your dog in a wide open area where you are just about the only rider, have at it, but be aware, your pet will do what nature intends for it to do and it may decide to chase wild animals and become lost. If you are riding an area with a lot of bikes, it's a bad idea. Reverse the situation and ask yourself how you would feel if someone's dog causes you to wreck. If you think your pet will not stray, try riding a MUP with it on a leash and see if you're right. If your pet shows it will stay by your side, then I'd say go for it.
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  3. #3
    Frozen in carbonite Grimlock's Avatar
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    I ride alone with the dog all the time. I put a bear-bell on her collar and she'll keep up behind me for about an hour.

    When I ride with people I know, she's totally fine and generally stays behind and out of the way.

    When I come up on other people on the trail, I'll yield the way and she'll stay off the trail, sniffing and peeing in the forest. Once it's clear, we head off again. It helps that she loves people too. She gets along great with hikers and all my riding partners.

    If you have any doubt, hike the trail you're thinking about riding to see how the dog will react.

    As a last piece of information, search for the huge thread on this topic from six months ago.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    I ride with my dog often...although not while mountain biking. I hang the leash over the bars without making a hard connection to allow a little slack and go at the pace that the dog is comfortable with. I trained him by stopping the ride if he behaved in a way that I did not like, once he is in a calm state the ride begins again. My dog loves to go with me on the bike but it is mainly arround the neighborhood and to the grocery store. I just hook his leash to my locked bike and he waits for me, he is a really well behaved dog. I say give it a try and have fun.

  5. #5
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    I had a blue heeler that I rode with on occasion, he was good for around 10 miles. The first mile he would heard the bike by nipping on the tires. I miss the sound of teeth buzzing on the knobbies.
    I only pedal uphill.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    1. keep it on a leash or don't bring it on the trail. And that goes for both cyclists and hikers. If they're public trails, then no one should have to be approached by your loose dog, no matter how nice you think it is. And when your loose dog and another loose dog get into a fight... yeah.

    2. if you're going to bring it, clean the poop off the trail. No one likes stepping in, or rolling through, your dog's poop.


    I've seen how blind dog owners can be to the fact that their precious pet is not welcome in my personal space. Try to think beyond just yourself.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    1. keep it on a leash or don't bring it on the trail. And that goes for both cyclists and hikers. If they're public trails, then no one should have to be approached by your loose dog, no matter how nice you think it is. And when your loose dog and another loose dog get into a fight... yeah.

    2. if you're going to bring it, clean the poop off the trail. No one likes stepping in, or rolling through, your dog's poop.


    I've seen how blind dog owners can be to the fact that their precious pet is not welcome in my personal space. Try to think beyond just yourself.
    Perhaps you should as well.

  8. #8
    Senior Member canflyboy's Avatar
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    I've got a Black Lab that rides with me all the time. I live in Essex, County Ontario, about an hour from Ann Arbor.

    When I'm on something like Rail Trails with the dog and I see an oncoming cyclist, I either leash him or just stop and have the dog sit beside me until the cyclist goes buy (he's a very well behaved dog and doesn't chase)

    When I hit the trails, he diligently follows me. Whenever we come upon a cyclist, I'll just momentarily stop, the dog sits by my side, I hold his collar (more for satisfying the cyclist than for the dog) and let the cyclist pass.

    Funny story with the Lab. The first time we went to a nearby MTB park, we went through and he had a blast following me. There are some sections where the single track zig-zags back and forth. The second time we came upon the zig zag sections, he'd stop at the beginning and watch me go back and forth. Then, when I was all done, he would just skip over the zig zags in a straight line saving himself all those extra steps.

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  9. #9
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    My dog would be pissed if I didn't bring her along on a ride, and would think I was an idiot if I tried riding with her on a leash.

  10. #10
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    Good question. I've ridden my dog on trails, a lot in the winter, seldom other times.

    I have a cocker spaniel and he's very good. He won't leave me, won't chase after deer, won't chase after other riders (except in front of my house!). He runs in front of me or behind me, I prefer behind me as he slows and gets confused if there are any forks or turns and I get close to him. Any other bikers, I pull over and hold him as a courtesy. Problems I've encountered, riders coming up from behind that I don't see, riders up front coming around turns and don't see the dog through the shrubs/trees, and then most of the time the trails are so narrow I can't pull over let alone pull over and hold the dog. I'm more likely to run him in the winter or weekdays when the trails are less crowded. never evenings or weekends.

    I think the cowbell is a great idea and I think I'll get one of those small bell strands and wrap the bell strand around his neck. If that doesn't work, then a cowbell it is.

  11. #11
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Did we not just have this thread a few weeks ago?
    just a n00b with an ego

  12. #12
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    I had a border collie and I took him on rides to teach him not to chase bicycles. It worked, he never chased bicycles and taught my next dog before he died. We were lucky to have access to a huge network of old logging roads (not the gravel kind) and he would go full on for 6 hours and want to play ball when we got home. What a nut! His only problem is that he wasn't afraid of bikes, of course, so he wouldn't get out of the way quickly but I knew most of the other riders that I rarely came across and they were so impressed with him, they just saw him as another small tree in the trail and went around him.
    Where I live now, after 12 years, I finally came across a dog that chased my bike. Dogs are mostly off-leash in our small town and the dogs are well socialized and don't realize that everywhere else dogs chase bikes. Out in the county is another story!
    If your dog is perfectly trained when you are walking in many different environments, then I would try him on empty trails to teach him and have friends bike by to test him. Because so many dog owners are terrible when it comes to training, you must be aware and overly considerate to other people. If you train your dog for that specific activity, most people will love him and be amazed but if he doesn't respond really, really well to that activity then don't force it on others on the trails.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    The people around here that ride with dogs have been doing it since the dogs were a pup. In fact we even have a muddy paws race, MTB time trail for bikes and dogs.
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by samburger View Post
    Did we not just have this thread a few weeks ago?
    Different dog!

  15. #15
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Most of the times I've encountered mountain bikers with their dogs, the dogs were well-behaved and it was fine. A couple of times though, the dog was poorly trained and had no qualms about darting in front of bikes or chasing. I haven't been bitten or knocked over yet, knock on wood. I guess the issue is that everyone thinks their dog is well-behaved and would *never* do anything bad, but clearly, since it happens, that's not the case. It's the exception rather than the rule though, so I can't complain too much.

    For the record, I care about dog poop a lot less than the huge piles of horse sh*t that take up the entire trail.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    The trail is in the wild. I've never ridden with any of my dogs. I have gone hiking with them and rememeber one time when I was hikeing a fire road and people coming the other direction warned my about coyotes.

    Now my pair were a joined at the hip mismatch of an oversized Belgian Sheepdog and a smallish Presa Canario. Menaing they were both 105 lbs and were in no danger. I was in danger of having to chase dogs and coyotes miles through the brush.

    On my very first mountian bike ride I almost ran over a rattlesnake. I have come across them several times riding. I would not want to try to control a dog while on hte bike when suddenly confronted with such.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Dogs/bikes do not mix.
    Would you ride your bike in a doggie park?

  18. #18
    Frozen in carbonite Grimlock's Avatar
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    Dogs on leashes and MTB trails don't work.
    Poorly trained dogs and other people or other dogs don't work.
    Well trained dogs off leash work.

    Dogs pooping on the trail is lame.
    Dogs pooping off the trail (in the woods) is normal. Where do the birds, wolves, squirrels, deer, rabbits and bears poop?

    For some additional reading: It's a time warp!
    Last edited by Grimlock; 12-30-10 at 05:32 PM.
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  19. #19
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    My mom brought this guy (Kobi) home last night. Came from a couple who was having to move back in to one of their parents' houses, & the mother is incredibly allergic to dog dander. He's two years old & supposedly well trained (sit, stay, speak, come, etc) so I'm going to take some time to get to know him & then try taking him on a run. If that goes well, I might try him out at the trails. He's a Sheltie mut I think? But very well-mannered & he follows me around the house fairly consistently at about 2ft diagonal behind me, so he should do pretty well. He could definitely use the exercise..this dog is pudgy.

    just a n00b with an ego

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by samburger View Post
    My mom brought this guy (Kobi) home last night. Came from a couple who was having to move back in to one of their parents' houses, & the mother is incredibly allergic to dog dander. He's two years old & supposedly well trained (sit, stay, speak, come, etc) so I'm going to take some time to get to know him & then try taking him on a run. If that goes well, I might try him out at the trails. He's a Sheltie mut I think? But very well-mannered & he follows me around the house fairly consistently at about 2ft diagonal behind me, so he should do pretty well. He could definitely use the exercise..this dog is pudgy.
    Congrats! Dogs are great, let us know about your experiences with him on the trail.
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  21. #21
    Firm Believer Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Thats your trail dog right there
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    Last edited by Johnny Law; 12-31-10 at 11:35 AM.
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  22. #22
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Would you ride your bike in a doggie park?
    In the right conditions, hell yes I would! Just like in the right conditions, I'd bring my dog out on the trail. Those conditions are listed by Grimlock.

    And very nice Johnny! But you gotta train a dog to be trail worthy
    just a n00b with an ego

  23. #23
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Ok, a few guys I know own dogs and don't bring them.

    Here is a quick list.

    1. It's against most bylaws. Only a jerk would mtb with the dog on a leash. No leash, violates the city or town bylaws.
    2. You can travel very far on a bicycle and the dog will try to keep up till it keeps over dead.
    3. Ticks.
    4. Burdocks.
    5. Poison Ivy.
    6. Other animals.
    7. Other people. This is a big one, most guys I know like dogs but, hate dealing with dogs running allover the trail or stopping dead in the middle of the trail or running across your line at the last second causing you to lock up and crash. They won't tell it to your face because you'd be offended, you just don't get invited again.


    If you love your dog, by caring for it properly, leave it at home and find the time to walk and exercise it under the right conditions.
    Last edited by electrik; 12-31-10 at 11:58 AM.

  24. #24
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    1. keep it on a leash or don't bring it on the trail. And that goes for both cyclists and hikers. If they're public trails, then no one should have to be approached by your loose dog, no matter how nice you think it is. And when your loose dog and another loose dog get into a fight... yeah.

    2. if you're going to bring it, clean the poop off the trail. No one likes stepping in, or rolling through, your dog's poop.


    I've seen how blind dog owners can be to the fact that their precious pet is not welcome in my personal space. Try to think beyond just yourself.
    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    Perhaps you should as well.
    Huh?

    Some people are afraid of dogs. Some people don't like dogs.

    I don't care if people want to keep dogs or take dogs out, or do whatever they want to with their dogs. Just don't assume I like dogs. Live and let live, share the path, etc - it means people giving over for each other. And I don't consider someone else's dog jumping up at me to represent giving over in the slightest.

  25. #25
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimlock View Post
    Well trained dogs off leash work.
    I still think this about covers it. A well trained dog won't:
    -stop dead in the trail
    -run zig-zag across the trail
    -poop on the trail
    -chase other people or dogs
    -get in anyones way any more than another rider would, which is inevitable with more than one person on a trail

    I guess when it comes down to it, location is the biggest factor. How many people will be at your local trail on any given day? Because for me, there will be half a dozen people on a very busy day. On a normal day, one or two people at most. If your trails are popular, it's probably best to leave the dog at home. If your trails are like mine, I see no problems at all.
    just a n00b with an ego

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