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  1. #1
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Pet trailers and how to acclimate your pet to them.

    I wasn't sure which was the correct subgroup to post this question in.

    Has anyone whose dog initially cried when placed in a pet trailer had luck in acclimating it to the trailer? I'm having problems getting my dog acclimated to riding in the pet trailer I have for her. I'd love to get her out with me on my treks into the local forest. However, I usually can only go a block before her crying gets so loud that I head back home and drop her off at the house. I've tried sitting her in the trailer when it's in the shop/garage and not attached to the bike, talking to her, petting her and giving her treats. It hasn't worked. I've tried putting treats in the trailer with her before heading out on the ride and that doesn't work either.

    I'd appreciate any tips that worked for other pet owners who take their pets out in a trailer. TIA

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    Do not pet her or give her treats when she cries. You will reinforce that negative behavior. Instead treat and pet her when she's calm. She will eventually learn that being calm gives her what she wants.

    I will assume your dog knows basic obedience like sit/stay. If she doesn't, this would be a good place to start.

    You need to desensitize her to the trailer. I'd recommend first to do it inside the house. Try to teach her the command "trailer" or however you want to call it. You need to use the most delicious treats (human food) for this. Call her in front of the trailer and say "trailer" and hold the treat on the trailer so that she has to jump and get in the trailer to get it. Once she does, praise and treat. Repeat this exercise a lot before trying it outside... After she knows the command and feels comfortable in the trailer, do the exercise outside. Do not take her for rides yet.

    After she feels comfortable getting in the trailer when outside you can try the next step. You might want to ask a friend or family member to help you out here. Whith the dog in the trailer, ask your friend to walk the bike slowly. She'll get nervous here but you have to distract her with basic obedience commands and delicious treats. Very soon she'll forget about the trailer and will associate the trailer with delicious treats.

    After she feels completely comfortable on a moving trailer you can start riding the bike. Ride it for a short while (maybe 10-15 seconds), then stop and treat if she behaves properly. Continue doing this, each time for a little longer until she's completely desensitized.

    Please let me know how this works for you, I plan on trying this myself some day

  3. #3
    Commuter JoeSoMD's Avatar
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    I just got a trailer for my portuguese water dog and she...

    My portuguese water dog puppy didn't immediately take to it. She is a very calm puppy, but too young to go running with me... so I purchased the trailer to get my workout in while getting her to the park for her exercise.

    The commenter above has it spot on... be very patient with this... this is a long term project and if it takes you two weeks to get your dog acclimatized then that is what it will take. Another suggestion is to put his/her favorite chew toy in the trailer.

    We got a Burley Wagon Tail, and I like it alot. The other thing that the trailer does is it makes me work harder during my ride... so now I am slower and my wife can easily keep up with me...

    Good luck... and as above... please post your results.
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    From Miller in Repo Man: "the more you drive, the less intelligent you are."

  4. #4
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    We have 2 schnauzers that we take in a Nashbar kiddie cart (great buy for $100 btw). The female does fine in it, the male does not. He would much rather run than ride so I let him. I know this doesn't help you but at least you won't feel alone on not being able to get your dog to ride! After the male gets tired out, then he will ride.

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    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
    We have 2 schnauzers that we take in a Nashbar kiddie cart (great buy for $100 btw). The female does fine in it, the male does not. He would much rather run than ride so I let him. I know this doesn't help you but at least you won't feel alone on not being able to get your dog to ride! After the male gets tired out, then he will ride.

    Thanks. I've not really made any progress in getting my dog to accept riding in the trailer. Now that cold winter weather has arrived, I've not even been trying to get her in it. Even though I live in a rural area now with much lighter traffic, I suspect some of her problems may be fear of traffic, especially since she isn't sitting near me when in the trailer. Next spring I'll try getting her out in it again.

  6. #6
    Commuter JoeSoMD's Avatar
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    Here's my portie...

    DSC01473.jpg
    =======================================================
    From Miller in Repo Man: "the more you drive, the less intelligent you are."

  7. #7
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    Can't argue with any training suggestions I've read here. I tried posting in the Utility folder, but got nowhere...what sorts of trailers do riders have for their dogs?
    I've got 2 dogs totally 75 pounds, so a kid style conversion is out, I'm leaning towards the Croozer or Doggyride. I'd love to hear from actual pet trailer users on their experiences with different trailers.


    Leo H.
    Sun Valley, NV.

  8. #8
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo H. View Post
    Can't argue with any training suggestions I've read here. I tried posting in the Utility folder, but got nowhere...what sorts of trailers do riders have for their dogs?
    I've got 2 dogs totally 75 pounds, so a kid style conversion is out
    75 lbs total or per dog? If it's 75 total, what's wrong with the $100 Nashbar trailer?
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    It's 75# total and they wouldn't fit. They're too long, otherwise there isn't anything wrong with
    the Nashbar. I've looked at kid trailers and the design of the pet specific trailers, to me, is better
    and more comfortable for the dog, certainly for my dogs. Especially if they're both riding in the
    trailer together for any length of time. As I see it too, with my abilities after I adapted any kid trailer,
    I'm like to end up spending close enough to what a used pet trailer would cost in the first place.
    If it were just taking one dog, it probably wouldn't matter as much, but I want something that
    can carry both comfortably.

    Leo H.
    Sun Valley, NV

  10. #10
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo H. View Post
    It's 75# total and they wouldn't fit. They're too long, otherwise there isn't anything wrong with
    the Nashbar. I've looked at kid trailers and the design of the pet specific trailers, to me, is better
    and more comfortable for the dog, certainly for my dogs. Especially if they're both riding in the
    trailer together for any length of time. As I see it too, with my abilities after I adapted any kid trailer,
    I'm like to end up spending close enough to what a used pet trailer would cost in the first place.
    If it were just taking one dog, it probably wouldn't matter as much, but I want something that
    can carry both comfortably.

    Leo H.
    Sun Valley, NV
    I get your point for sure. Our dogs are pretty small. Not even 50 lbs. total. Like you, I would spend whatever necessary to carry them comfortably. I just got lucky in this case.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Without music, life would be a mistake."
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  11. #11
    Senior Member dogontour's Avatar
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    I think the instructions given above are great so my only other suggestion with that is to try putting a blanket or shirt in there with a fimiliar scent on it. My dog was scared of the trailer until I put the blanket from her kennel in it and she never had another issue with it.

    I have a Solvit Track'r large trailer. The size is great for my 55 lb dog. She has room to lay down and I can use a little bit behind her for cargo. I also have a 80 lb dog that uses it...though not at the same time of course! His breed tends to like to stretch out as much as possible and he can't do that in this one (not sure if they make them big enough for his body to stretch out since he's about 5'6" fully stretched) but his body fits in there fine, just without the stretch. I haven't used it on extensive tours but we've put a few hundred miles on it and other than the fact that the wheels come completely untrued, it's been great so far. The only thing I don't like about it is that the floor is held up in the front by utility straps essentially. However, it hasn't posed a problem yet.

    Tiff

  12. #12
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    The only time I had a problem with our dog being upset was when pulling him on any of the cinder based rails-to-trail paths when dry. The dust being kicked up by the bike bothered him so I rigged up the rain shield to my rack to protect him. I also modified the cart by placing a piece of plywood on the bottom part of the frame to make a flat floor and added a 4 inch thick piece of foam for comfort.

    It also helped to take him on a nice walk before venturing out on the bike, so he had some time to burn off some energy. Pulling the extra 100 pounds was a real workout.

  13. #13
    Touring with little dogs! PawsonBikes's Avatar
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    The training tips are right on. Keep it positive & also allow the dog to explore on their own, you can hide tasty treats in the cabin and let him find it on their own! I ride with my two Poms in a mini doggie ride, www.doggieride.com , it there is only one coming along for the ride I use the handlebar carrier. I ride a folding bike.

    Maya in front of Rig..jpg

  14. #14
    Mrs. Hop-along redeyedtreefr0g's Avatar
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    Is it possible to go too fast when getting your dog used to the trailer?

    I walked my beagle Grunt next to the bike the day before yesterday, but I realize I'll need to improve his walking and listening skills (and overcome that NOSE for his attention) a bunch before even attempting to let him run alongside. I'd still like to take him places such as a park to walk somewhere new, or the dog park, or even just on short trips to spend time with him outdoors. I have a child trailer which I think would be ideal.

    I've tried to have him ride in it once without any preparation, and he howled and cried like crazy. So, yesterday, I put the trailer wheels-off flat on our bedroom floor with a blanket in there and the small dog bed. While he hasn't gone in just to hang out, he doesn't care about its existence at all, and at one point during the night he rooted around in there to lay down for a while (he'll get up and down from the bed a bunch at night and nap in various places).

    So, I tried to get him to go in it with treats. He is so excited about treats that he gives no thought at all to jumping in, laying down, and letting me close the top very briefly on him. This morning I added the wheels to elevate the trailer and that makes the floor move when he jumps in- still no issues, and I even shook the trailer gently while speaking to him and praising. He's fine for short durations of a few seconds and while I speak to him.

    Is it time to try this outdoors? He wants to howl at me on the bike, but I think treat-bribery is an INCREDIBLY powerful force. In fact he gets so wound up for a treat that I couldn't use them to praise him when he started walking decently by the bicycle as I rolled it along the other day- he loses his mind until he gets the treat he knows you have for him. I think with the trailer at least, that is alright since I'm asking for relatively simple things from him.

    Also, I have two dogs. I'm working with Grunt right now, but I have an old Jack Russel Terrier named Jackjack (actually Jackson, but I didn't get to name him, so I modified). He is grumpy and most importantly- deaf, or very nearly so. He likes treats also, but he usually has no idea how or why he gets them, and sometimes takes a minute to recognize that you are trying to hand him food. We have never been able to get him to follow any simple commands like sit or stay. He was old when we got him, but not deaf yet. Still, he doesn't misbehave, so we've never had any issues with him other than age-related. Our vet friend says he is senile for sure.

    My question is- do I need to worry about training him to ride in the trailer? I'm guessing he will go along just fine, but if not, do I work with him separately, or with Grunt? They'll need to ride together. How do I teach him when he won't follow commands he can't hear? I suppose I'll just give him treats so long as he doesn't jump out, and if he does, I'll get him back in the trailer before I continue treating?

    I'm very happy that Grunt seems to be doing so well

    french_pets.jpg IMG_0013.jpg
    Older photos, but my favorites. Grunt is going gray now and Jackjack cauliflowered his ear.
    <3 my puppies

  15. #15
    Mrs. Hop-along redeyedtreefr0g's Avatar
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    Ok! My friend's dad gave me 2 locks the other day that come with guns when they are sold. One of those is now securing my seat (I'm afraid with a quick-release that someone may walk off with it), and the other is my new trailer lock. So I've been able to move my trailer downstairs to the outside world.

    I spent a small amount of time a few days ago with both dogs in the trailer, towing them slowly around in the grass. They were a bit confused by the whole deal, but Grunt didn't whine too much and they stayed in rather well. Jackjack gets thrashed about a little bit if Grunt moves around because he weighs so much less.

    Today, we did really well!

    I attached the trailer to the bicycle, since it is the bike specifically that Grunt seems to have trouble with, and I walked them around again. The dogs were less thrilled with it, but I got them to stay in for the most part and they didn't whine forever. I'm very proud of them. As soon as I tried to straddle the bike, even before then when I adjusted the pedals- Grunt became officially NOT HAPPY. He whined enough to set off the Jackjack Squeal of Death which sounds like I'm beating him to a pulp. So we made progress, but still not ready for actual biking yet.

    You can see videos on Youtube in a short playlist
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