Author Topic: Bicycle Touring with Dogs  (Read 9699 times)

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Offline LaraEbee

Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« on: April 20, 2009, 07:44:55 pm »
I recently got a puppy, Sappho, who is a Siberian Husky/American Bulldog mix. She is awesome and wonderful and I can't wait to fully train her run along side my bike. But besides being a cycling companion for recreation and exercise, I also hope to tour with her. I did my first extensive tour last summer (NYC - Seattle, 2 months) and I loved it. I hope to be doing some shorter trips this year around the WA/Canada area.

In case you haven't seen this blog yet, it's truly amazing:
http://www.bikingdog.blogspot.com/

I am totally inspired and will soon have my own DoggyRide trailer. However, since I have never toured with a dog before and I can't seem to get a hold of David, the man from the blog himself, I really hope to hear from everyone/anyone in the cycling community who has experience with their dogs and bikes!

Thanks!

Lara

Offline biker_james

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 03:22:36 am »
Go and check out crazyguyonabike.com and I think you can search out the "pet" articles. I think you'll find quite a few people out there touring with their four legged friends. I know Greg Lyttle who we met on the road a few years back has a couple journals there about touring with his Akita, Titus.

Offline BIGRIDE

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 07:47:55 am »
you could always get a tandem and teach the dog to be a stoker..........lol
no seriously best of luck to you and your adventure
this September I will be riding for veteran issues.    from Cleveland, Ohio to Dallas, Texas Please support me as I make this journey.
Thank you, BIGRIDE

Offline MrBent

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 09:20:08 pm »
Hey, Lara: Touring with doggie is a blast, but it does have constraints.  You'll be slower, generally, and you'll need to pay special attention to hot days in particular, but it can certainly be done.  Here are a couple of Crazyguyonabike journals I've done for tours with our hound, Django the Wonder Dog.  Remember, doggie needs come first--shade, water, paws! Keep some booties handy if the pup develops problems.  Booties don't stay on Django very well, and he hates them, so we try to do without, but we always have a set in case of trouble.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nodoggieleftbehind2004

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2163

Bark!

Scott

Offline Fin

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2009, 06:03:37 am »
Hi Lara,

How is the bike/dog combo going? Been getting any rides in?

We have taken 2 dogs for a 17,000km loop around Europe. Check it out at:
http://cyclinggypsies.wordpress.com

We have a cycling with dogs q&a which might be useful.

Happy trails and wagging tails,
Fin

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2009, 06:38:33 am »
You will find a lot of info in the journals and probably the message board at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com

Personally I don't think dogs and bike touring mix all that well, at least for me.  I love my dog and she is the best trail running partner I could ask for, but I don't think it is reasonable to expect her to keep up with me on a bike especially if the weather is hot and I refuse to carry a lot of extra weight on the bike.  My gear weighs enough without a dog and trailer added.  Touring is so much more pleasant when the load is kept below 30 pounds of gear and panniers.

That said, I have entertained the notion of taking her journey running.  Journey running is kind of like bike touring, but rather than ride you run.  My gear would be carried in a baby jogger and she would be able to keep up at an easy trot.

Offline whittierider

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2009, 08:53:47 am »
Keep in mind that not everyone else loves your dog like you do.  They may be too polite to tell you, but I would be very upset if your dog makes any noise at night in a campground I'm in, or makes much noise even in the day.  Two of our neighbors at home have been very inconsiderate in this way too, but I haven't said anything to them because I have learned that dog owners get very offended or even hostile if you say anything even slightly negative about their dog.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2009, 09:57:07 am »
Also, I forgot to mention...  You said puppy and I figured that I should point out that most veterinarians say to wait until the dog is grown before running with them.  I would imagine this would be even more so at the faster pace of a bicycle.  It seems running sustained for any distance longer than typical puppy play is bad for their growing bones.  I think the recommendations range from waiting until they are between 9 months and two years depending on the breed and who you ask.

Also be very careful in hot weather to monitor them closely for signs of overheating.  Their tongue hanging out of the side of their mouth should result in some water and a break if not stopping for the day.  Also they should have the ability to drink frequently even if it isn't terribly hot.

Dogs are so happy to be along and want so badly to please that they will do way too much, so you have to look out for them.

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2009, 05:23:18 pm »
I have never done it but that must be awesome!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline MrBent

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2009, 07:44:44 am »
Oh, if you haven't already purchased a trailer for hound, please look into this model:

http://cycletote.com/

These are expensive (about $450), but we have found them to be incredibly stable--low center of gravity and center pull make a big difference.  We consider this our best doggie-oriented purchase.  It gives us huge confidence for big mountain descents, which we do frequently.

We're about to head out on a ten day tour from Bishop, CA., to Las Vegas, NV, through Death Valley.  We'll be on trikes, camping out most nights, doggin' it with doggie.  Can't wait!

Cheers,

Scott

Offline scott.laughlin

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2009, 11:17:07 am »
My wife and I took a dog several thouand miles.  We use a trailer from Bike Friday, built a custom thing on the frame.  Very stable and anywhere the pedals will fit the trailer will fit.  He, McBark, was free to run along side when we were alone on on a bike trail.  There's too great a chance of your dog quarling with others or chasing a squirrel.  You have to protect him because he can't do it himself.  He's like a kid.  But they sure alert you to visitors.

We lost him to old age a couple years back.  Huge loss.

Scott

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2009, 11:43:20 am »
Whiterider makes a good point.  And note that some campgrounds don't allow pets at all.  Those that do might require that they be kept on a short leash at all times.

Offline dogontour

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 09:00:02 am »
I haven't done any long touring with my dog but we regularly do longer day rides and I have taken her on one weekend bike trip.  I like to ride solo because it's just easier when timing comes into play.  But I have found that I really enjoy Jasmine's company on the bike and she enjoys the exercise she gets. 

Know though that if you bring your dog along, the ride suddenly becomes more about the dog than about you.  It will be slower, harder and will take more concentration.  It drives me crazy when I see someone riding thir bike with a dog and the dog looks ready to drop from exhaustion or heat stroke but has to keep running because they're leashed to the person/bike.  You may have to move the time of year you tour with her to late winter in order to ride in good weather for the dog. 

* These rides should be slow where the dog is at a trot or at walking speeds. Be sure to monitor your dog for signs of any physical stress and stop for a break when needed. As you continue to run your dog, you'll recognize the signs better and he'll likely be able to get faster but always let him set the pace so you know you're not pushing him too hard.

* Dogs drink a lot of water so bring plenty. Your dog will be working a lot harder than you will be...and in a fur coat.

* The 120 rule states that if the temperature (in Feirinheit) and the humidity level adds up more than 120 you shouldn't run your dog. It's been above 120 here in the winter because of the high humidity so beaware of that as well.

* Know your dog. I have three dogs I bike with and each dog is so different. In order to avert disasters you have to know your dog's triggers (like cars, cats, deer, etc...). You know the trigger so before he is able to chase the car, redirect his attention or stop your movement if you can't redirect him and wait to go until it's safe again. But in order for that to work, you have to constantly be on the lookout for anything that might upset her.

* It's best to teach them commands for turning each direction, slow, stop, and wait for better control.

* If the concrete/asphalt is too hot to comfortably hold your hand on, it will be uncomfortable on your dog's paws and could even cause blisters and burns. They have dog booties that are designed to protect their feet. But chances are that if the surface is too hot then you're breaking the 120 rule anyway. But they do have booties that I bring along in case she would have to walk on hot asphalt for whatever other reason.

When your puppy is full grown you can have the vet check for hip displaysia on your full grown dog. Even if they have no problems currently, they can still see on an xray if they are prone to it. They may not suggest biking with a dog with hip displayis in their future. On the other hand, there are certain bone/muscular system defects that biking with them can actually help with, given they're not getting pushed too hard. But it's best to wait to run your puppy until she's at least a year old. 

Have you thought about how you'll attach your dog to the bike?  I have a bungee leash from www.shockles.com. I attach that on the down tube. The bungee cushions the pulling and gives me a chance to keep control even when surprised by a tug. With this set up, Jasmine's head is in front of the tire.  I do that so that I can see her easily to monitor her condition and also so that she doesn't feel like she has to keep up with me.  If she slows down, I do too.  If she speeds up, I try to keep up without her having to pull me along (unless I'm on a bikejoring outing).  They also have things like a Springer or Walkydog to attach to. 

Yes, if your dog is overly barky or yippy, they will not be appreciated at campgrounds.  I had a barky puppy and we stayed at a hotel.  He barked at every single noise.  I finally grabbed him and held him in my arms all night and clamped my hand around his muzzle every time he started to bark.  By around 3 AM, he had stopped barking completely.  He has stayed at many hotels since then and only barks when someone is messing with the doorknob so it's possible to break them of that annoying habit.  I wish I could solve that problem with my neighbor's dog!!!!! 

Anyway, as long as you take care and are flexible, you and your dog should have lots of fun!

Tiff  :)

Offline mucknort

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2010, 10:16:52 am »
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 10:23:52 am by mucknort »

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2010, 09:24:36 pm »
Gawd! You must all be incredibly dedicated dog owners.  I have enough trouble carrying me and my gear, and at age almost 62 may be looking for a dog to bungee to the front of my bike and have him pull me.
May the wind be at your back!