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  1. #1
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    Training dog to run alongside bike

    Any advice on how to train my dog to run on the SIDE of the road as I ride ON the road? I've tried WALKING her on a main road without a leash and she runs to cars. We actually only ever use a leash when we take her to the vet, but I'm guessing I start by buying one of those long, retractable leashes and commanding and tugging her back if she steps on the pavement. My goal is to have her accompany me off-leash. Any further suggestions? Also, how many miles would you say is too far for a young adult Dalmatian in good shape? (About a third of the time she'd be walking, because I'd be going up hill. Interspersed with that would be running or trotting, as I ride on a level road or coast down a hill with some braking to match her top speed [if she seems to have energy for it]. She'd be running on dirt/grass with occasional gravel.) Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge!

  2. #2
    it's my road too, dangit sydney_b's Avatar
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    First, I think you may want to consider an obedience school where someone helps you train your dog. Along the road is not the place to have a dog take off after a rabbit, or run around the front or back of your bike. A dalmation is big enough to jerk you and your bike right into traffic or wipe you out on gravel.

    If you don't do the obedience class, first train your dog to walk along beside you in a specific location and heel on command. You might want to check out the clicker training pages, it works well (even for cats).

    http://www.inch.com/~dogs/clicker.html

    The good news is that dogs have so much fun getting out, that they train up pretty quick. It only took me a couple of days to have my brother-in-law's dog running by the bike on a leash. I kept the leash short enough that she couldn't run past the front tire or drop back behind the rear tire. I also kept a fast enough pace during training that she didn't have much time to screw around. But, she was a smaller dog and wasn't able to jerk me around. She is also responsive to collar pressure.

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    Castle Hill,NSW.Australia Dark Arrow's Avatar
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    This sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Mate run with your dog and ride with another human. I don't care how well trained a dog is there is always the chance one off situation which could cause you to get jerked off your bike or the dog to get tangled in your spokes or just a host of other really nasty scenarios.

    I'd also suggest keeping her leashed at all times when out in public. Just last week in front of my house a small lovely little pug was hit by a car when she dashed out in front of the car. The owner was wailing and screaming how her dog had never run like that before.

    Mate it only takes once. Your life could be all in the hands/paws of your dog.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascendor
    Any advice on how to train my dog to run on the SIDE of the road as I ride ON the road? I've tried WALKING her on a main road without a leash and she runs to cars. We actually only ever use a leash when we take her to the vet, but I'm guessing I start by buying one of those long, retractable leashes and commanding and tugging her back if she steps on the pavement. My goal is to have her accompany me off-leash. Any further suggestions? Also, how many miles would you say is too far for a young adult Dalmatian in good shape? (About a third of the time she'd be walking, because I'd be going up hill. Interspersed with that would be running or trotting, as I ride on a level road or coast down a hill with some braking to match her top speed [if she seems to have energy for it]. She'd be running on dirt/grass with occasional gravel.) Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge!
    Try this?

    http://www.springerusa.com/

    My folks had a dalmatian for 16.5 years, and while Kelly was an awesome dog, full of love and personality, she was also a little headstrong, and I would have never considered taking her on a ride. Once she got something into her head, disuading her often seemed to be next to impossible. This, combined with her really impressive strength, woud have made a bike/ride thing a bit much. Of course, dalmatians were bred to accompany horse drawn coaches, so maybe you have something.

    As for dog health- there used to be a guy in Boulder, CO who trained for ultra-marathons running on mountain roads and trails with his dalmatian- many runs of 20-30 miles at a pop. Our vet cautioned us against long runs with our lab before she was at least 1 yo, as too much stress on young joints hastens the onset of hip displasia. She has since turned into an incredible trail runner both with and without the bike- she works a swath of trail about 75 wide on either side of the main trail, checking things out and cutting back and forth. YMMV.

    Good luck!

    Steve

  5. #5
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    unsafe!

  6. #6
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    wouldn't you be afraid that she'd get hit by a car?

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    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    Believe it or not not everyone loves dogs, leave it at home or on a short leash, I have been chased or attacked 5 times this summer by dogs that wouldn't bite anyone, at least that is what the owners said. I now carry mace when riding the bike path. When your dog decides to run at an angle to your bike are you going to be able to stay upright?

  8. #8
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    if the dog is really well trained it can be safe.

    actually in Europe (Germany at least) there is even a term for it (basicallly the dog command "bike" in german - "rad").

    anyway, i haven't done it personally, but here are some of the points:
    1) opposite from the normal "heal" with the dog on the left of the trainer, the dog runs to the RIGHT of the bicycle so that the bike is on the traffic side and the dog on the outside, so shielded from cars.
    2) you have to be careful not to run the dog too hard/far. most dogs enjoy it so much that they don't "know" when it's too much and go until they collapse -- and on a bike you can easily ride many hours and many many miles
    3) most vets recommend not running with your dog until it is at least 1 yr old (as mentioned by someone above)
    4) in Germany you can by a "dog bike leash" that connects to the right side of the bike with an and a pivot

    i forgot the link, but there is a whole website (in german i think) about how to train the dog to stay on the side and to stop/react properly in a emergency stop. (i.e. when a car turns in front of you and you slam on the brakes)
    why drive when you can ride?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    My sister tried to take our Kitty for a ride in her bike basket

    Kitty was fine until we got to the limit of our property

    Then Kitty freaked and leapt out, and got tangled in the spokes momentarily, then ran home

  10. #10
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    I run my black lab (while I'm on my bike) about 5 blocks to a park. Where we take a break and she catches her breath. Then we ride back. It's not a busy road even during rush hour. But I'm taking a chance doing it. She is a smart dog and is aware of traffic, but sometimes there is too much stimuli for her to be safe.

    I was wondering if a dog could be trained to ride in the rickshaw pulled behind the bike? I might take her on the Missouri Katy Trail for a bike camping trip.

  11. #11
    Castle Hill,NSW.Australia Dark Arrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruzMOKS
    I was wondering if a dog could be trained to ride in the rickshaw pulled behind the bike? I might take her on the Missouri Katy Trail for a bike camping trip.

    Mate that is the best way to take your dog. One company here in Oz even has trailers built just for dogs, though I doubt my 50kg Staffy would sit still long enough to keep it upright lol.

    Cheers

    Chris

  12. #12
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    I used to take my Malamute along for rides. He was even glad to pull up hills.

    Another benefit was that I never had to worry about dogs chasing me. He was 120lbs and very protective. Not a one ever got past him.

    RIP Spud.

    Az

  13. #13
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I've taken my Khiva alongside the bike on days when I'm feeling too lazy to run with her. Keep in mind that we've put in hundreds of miles together so she's very used to the leash and my direction. So it can be done if you're confident in your dog's on-leash behavior.

    But I would never take her along a busy highway. That just seems way too risky for both canine and human.

    As to your question, how far? Probably as far as you want to go. Weren't Dalmatians team dogs that would trot along with the horses pulling wagons? If the weather was cool, probably 10 miles. Of course YMMV.
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    Senior Member cabrilo's Avatar
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    My dog had a bad pulling problem. (adopted from the shelter) I've found this to be the best solution: http://www.gentleleader.com/pages.cfm?id=17
    It's very similar in the idea to horses harness, and even if he pulls the pressure is so slight that it can not knock you off the bike... It works best in combination gentleleader+training. You will not have hard time training him, as he will have to keep up the pace to stay with you. Good luck and have fun!

  15. #15
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    People have raised some really good points. I would especially be wary of taking your dog on long rides. Larger breeds like Dalmatians, as somebody pointed out, are prone to hip dysplasia. With the exception of sled dogs, most dogs are not that great at doing long-distance running, especially muscular short-haired breeds--they are built to sprint, and will overheat on long runs. If you are on a paved surface, you'll also notice that claws and paw pads will wear down to nothing VERY quickly, especially if it's wet. Also, never run your dog after a meal, as they will be prone to bloat, which can kill pretty quickly.

    And, you have to be very sure of your dog's temperament and training. I've met plenty of dalmies that were aggressive to people, dogs, and wild animals alike, all of which could throw you off your bike. A VERY well-established heel, however, will deal with that. Gentle leaders are just a coping mechanism for lack of training.

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    I used to do it on my mountain bike, but I live on the edge of a national forest. My old labrador, and later the shepherd that replaced him, could do six or eight miles easily on flats or uphill. The lab also used to run with us. He could do 10 miles with me, six or so with my wife and cry to go again when we brought him in the house. On one ride, a slow-paced 13-mile climb from our house at 4900 feet to a nearby peak at about 8800, he kept up with us with no trouble at all.
    Still, I wouldn't do it on the road, and I'm not sure I'd do it offroad again, either. At the time, the property around us was very sparsely developed, so there was almost no traffic. That's not the case anymore. Downhills are killers, too--the dog tries to keep up, and it can't, so you either have to wait or hope it can find you at the bottom. Water is an issue, because we used to have free-running streams, but they've mostly dried up as development has spread. You'd have to carry dog water for any outing longer than 15 or 20 minutes. If they bolted after a deer or rabbit, as happened a couple of times, there was little danger to them and they could find their way home (the shepherd was gone overnight one time; that's when I stopped letting them run loose). And road riding is an entirely different problem, with cars and distractions and kids and pedestrians who might be bitten. Way more trouble than it's worth, IMO.

  17. #17
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Bad Idea.

    My horror story is that I was riding along with my sheltie at the side. She was pretty well trained, she had passed her obediance courses and was very close to me. I'd ride slowly and she would trot along. Everything went well until one day she noticed a pack of dogs behind her.

    Then she tried to run away from them. Straight under my bike. The rear wheel went over her throat, and that dropped the bike.

    Fortunately she was not hurt seriously. By the time I was finished crashing, she had picked herself up and was a block away and running for home at top speed. I got on the bike and pedaled as fast as I could but never caught sight of her till I arrived home.

    Point is that even the best trained dog is still a dog. That lends an element of unpredictability to things. One that could get you both hurt.

  18. #18
    dirtbag roadie ahpook's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, here's my $0.02.
    My dog's a german shorthaired pointer / field lab mix, very athletic high energy dog. He can easily do 10K at my jogging pace, as I trained to this distance and he was the ideal training partner. Now that we're rolling as a family more, my wife on her Elektra cruiser pulls the 1 yr old in his Burley, and Laswell runs alongside me on my fixie. Some lessons learned (some more painfully than others):
    - The Springer device some people use is quite unwieldy due to a) being difficult to hook and unhook if the dog's gotta "go" b) making the width of the bike an extra six inches (spring-arm + dog) out to the right -- wider than the zig-zag gates on our local MUP and difficult to manuver (That K9-Cruiser from adogsbestfriend.com looks better than the springer but I haven't used this personally)
    - I just use a short 4-foot leash now. 6 feet is too long - my only spill so far was when I was using a 6-foot leash and Laswell bolted for a squirrel, across my front wheel. I endoed but he was unharmed and the squirrel got away. 4 ft keeps him just in the right place.
    - DONT PUT YOUR HAND THROUGH THE LOOP at the end of the leash. Just hold it against the handlebar so you can just open your hand and drop it if need be. This keeps you upright and keeps the dog from getting throttled if something happens suddenly.
    - Work with your dog -- s/he should absolutely be trained to "stop" on command, and its also nice if you have voice commands for turning, speeding up, slowing down, etc. I basically keep up a running patter of commands and encouragement while we're riding to keep him engaged and under control.
    - As others have said, keep an eye on pads, hydration, and exhaustion.

    It's good fun, safe if you're safe about it, and great exercise for athletic breeds.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    I have four dogs (all ill-mannered mutts) and take them on bike rides periodically. They do very well on a wide, lightly traveled street. I always keep my arm holding the leash cocked, so if the dog bolts when seeing another dog, I get a shock absorber effect. If your arm is fully extended, you can't cushion a severe pull. Also, as someone else has already said, never hold the leash by the loop or wrap it around your arm. If you are being pulled over by the dog, you need a quick release. When I am going down the street with my dog and I see someone approaching with a dog on a leash on the sidewalk, I usually avoid a confrontation by simply turning around and varying my route. Be sure to keep the dog along side of you. Don't let him get ahead of the bike, as he may suddenly cross over in front of you. Simple leash training works with a bike too. If the dog gets ahead of me, I give him a corrective jerk and say NO! When he is trotting along side of me, I praise him verbally. When I start the trip, I always get them to sit. When I start, I give the heel command. When I stop, I expect the dog to automatically sit. I never say heel more than once (when we start). From there on out, it's NO! if they get out of line. This works very well with my wolf pack.
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  20. #20
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    I wouldn't recommend unleashed. Most areas have leash laws and you will have a time when you want to stop the dog from going after something. I run mine on the left as that is the way he was leash trained. Dogs like routine. I also find it better having the leash in my left hand as I use the right much more frequently for shifting. Use a short leash. If the dog is not VERY well leash trained, use a pinch collar at first. I know someone is going to say "how cruel" but it's actually better for the dog dog to have a light pinch than choking him. It is safer for both of you to have the leverage over the dog until the two of you act as a team. The dog will thoroughly enjoy the outing and won't begrudge you the pinch collar. Right turns happen naturally. Left turns will take a bit of practice to keep the dog out of the way of the bike. I bring the leash out with an extended arm ( left turn signal) and that gives some distance between us. If you give the dog a command as this happens he will learn to execute the turn without your needing to hold him out after a while.

  21. #21
    Castle Hill,NSW.Australia Dark Arrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trmcgeehan
    I have four dogs (all ill-mannered mutts) and take them on bike rides periodically. They do very well on a wide, lightly traveled street. I always keep my arm holding the leash cocked, so if the dog bolts when seeing another dog, I get a shock absorber effect. If your arm is fully extended, you can't cushion a severe pull. Also, as someone else has already said, never hold the leash by the loop or wrap it around your arm. If you are being pulled over by the dog, you need a quick release. When I am going down the street with my dog and I see someone approaching with a dog on a leash on the sidewalk, I usually avoid a confrontation by simply turning around and varying my route. Be sure to keep the dog along side of you. Don't let him get ahead of the bike, as he may suddenly cross over in front of you. Simple leash training works with a bike too. If the dog gets ahead of me, I give him a corrective jerk and say NO! When he is trotting along side of me, I praise him verbally. When I start the trip, I always get them to sit. When I start, I give the heel command. When I stop, I expect the dog to automatically sit. I never say heel more than once (when we start). From there on out, it's NO! if they get out of line. This works very well with my wolf pack.

    Mate this sounds like disaster. You say that your arm is a shock absorber and you can't cushion a severe pull if it is extended. My dog can almost pull me over when I'm walking with 2 hands on the lead. I've know folks with small beagles that yank them around as well. And then you mention quick release. My simple question is what then? What if your wolfpack has lost it and is after a child? What if your dogs run out in front of a bus? What if your dogs run under a big truck that just blasted it's horn at the kids waving thier hands for the driver to do so. What if your now out of control dogs run over to me walking my very large Pit Bull on a leash and my dog kills one or more of yours? Do you SUE me? What if your quick release is just when your not expecting it and you get jerked over in front of a milk truck. No one will ever convince me that this is a safe practice. You are taking big risks with your life, other peoples lives, and your loyal companions lives as well. I've seen then most trained dogs at shows occasionally revert to being just dogs and jump at this or that. Aside from most breeds not really being long distance runners, this practice seems fraught with danger. I urge you to reconsider doing this.

    Chris

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    There's been some great advice here on training dogs to run along the bike and being attentive to the dog's needs regarding pads, water, etc. But I've got some more basic questions.

    How long are these bike rides? (1 person said 5 blocks, another 6-8 miles, but I'm looking for more input)
    How fast are you going?
    Do you have them leashed or trained to run off-leash beside you?
    What size are these dogs (either height or weight, preferably both)?
    Any breeds you would recommend (or recommend be avoided)? (By the way, I know to avoid the hound dogs.)

  23. #23
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    I ride with my dog regularly. When we started it was always on leash but I kept a loose hold on the leash, if he pulled hard or stopped short I would simply let go to avoid crashing and scold him. He is now trained to ride next to my rear wheel, to my right. I can let him off leash if it's late and there's nobody around to care, or on leash.

    Our rides are normally 2-6 miles with 1 mile on the road and up to 5 off road. I'm sure he's capable of more, but he can be alot of trouble so I leave him at home on longer rides. I'm not sure I can recommend long road rides with a dog.

    As well trained as he is, he caused me to wreck on Sunday. I was pulling my daughter on a trailercycle with the dog on a leash. He got startled by another dog and stopped short causing us to go down. Every one was ok with a few scrapes and bruises, but it was not a pleasant experience for my 5 year old. I will still continue to ride with him, but I will leave the dog at home when I have the kids in tow. I don't mind a crash now and then but my little kids do.

  24. #24
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascendor
    Any advice on how to train my dog to run on the SIDE of the road as I ride ON the road?
    You need help. I suggest ......






    ... Brad

  25. #25
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascendor
    I've tried WALKING her on a main road without a leash and she runs to cars. We actually only ever use a leash when we take her to the vet
    Your dog has no obedience, doesn't know how to heel, and yet you "try" walking her on a main road leashless? The only possible conclusion I can draw is that you want your dog dead.

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