Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: BikePacker on November 18, 2021, 07:41:28 am

 
Title: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: BikePacker on November 18, 2021, 07:41:28 am
Any thoughts (pro and con : ), tips and/or true life adventure accounts of
trailering one's pet dog while touring?
I thank you.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 18, 2021, 07:55:29 am
Any thoughts (pro and con : ), tips and/or true life adventure accounts of
trailering one's pet dog while touring?
I thank you.
I love my dog.  We are inseparable at home, but I leave her home when I tour.  Hauling a 70 pound dog just isn't for me.

That said I have met a few folks who did manage to successfully tour with dogs.  I say tour, but the two guys I am thinking of were more or less living on the road full time.  Both had a trailer.  One had a Saluki Greyhound mix that rode in the trailer, but was kicked out to run along up long hills.  The other guy had two medium to large dogs that rode in the trailer or ran along depending on the terrain.

Both were in a mode of staying multiple days in one place.  I suspect one may stay multiple weeks at a time without going far, bouncing around warmshowers hosts in the same city and staying as long as his welcome lasted (I met him when he was a guest with us).  So I think he was essentially homeless and it may be a stretch to call what he did touring.  The other guy probably rode much farther and settled for a while when he liked a spot (I met him when we camped with him).
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 18, 2021, 08:39:36 am
It would really depend on the size and temperament of the dog. Having owned dogs for many years I cannot think of one that would have enjoyed long days in a trailer. In bear country dogs are a bear magnet. For day rides on rail trails maybe, but otherwise I would not subject my pet to the rigors of bike touring. Dog owners tend to think everyone loves dogs. Non dog owners tend to think dog owners are obnoxious letting their dogs run around, bark, poop, and pee on everything in public. I guess weigh the benefits to dog and owner versus the cost and risk to the dog.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 18, 2021, 09:03:55 am
Having owned dogs for many years I cannot think of one that would have enjoyed long days in a trailer.
I chose not to address that part in my first post.  I have backpacked with my current dog when she was younger.  She did well and I think she enjoyed it.  She had run many thousands of trail miles with me so the trail part was easy.  She had great trail manners and she was well enough trained that I could point to where I wanted her to sleep and she would settle in there for the night.

I think that with some consideration for her needs she just might have enjoyed touring.  She always wants to be at my side and wants to please so she will do whatever she thinks I want her to.  A little approval and she is happy.  So she probably would have been okay with some form of tour.  Not my typical style of touring mind you, but maybe some modified form of it.  I really don't see cranking out long days day after day with her in the trailer as being fair to her.  These days I have my doubts that she'd enjoy any form of tour, she hates to have her routine changed in her old age.

Another dog may have entirely different needs.  I do recommend considering your dog's needs over your own first.  Then consider whether you really want to haul not only a dog, but also food and whatever else the dog needs.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: ray b on November 18, 2021, 10:36:51 am
John Freeman, at one point a decent racer, has travelled extensively with his dogs - trailer and rack.

Here is a link to his thoughts and recommendations:

https://bikepacking.com/plan/dogpacking/ (https://bikepacking.com/plan/dogpacking/)
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: Westinghouse on November 19, 2021, 08:31:44 pm
There is no way I would take a dog on a long-distance bicycle tour, long distance being maybe transcontinental. What about transportation back from the final destination? The extra weight, extra food and water would be a drag. A small cat would be easier to haul, but why do it? People have done it. From the videos and journals I have seen, I would say trailering a dog is seldom done.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: DanE on November 20, 2021, 10:32:17 am
This comes up from time to time.

The most famous person to do this was Svein Tuft, a now former pro cyclist from Canada.
https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/sports/othersports/08cycling.html

Another is Jasmine Reese, who I believe sought advice here in the ACA forums before she went out on tour with her dog.
https://www.bicycling.com/culture/a25309187/jasmine-reese-cross-country-road-trip-bike/
https://www.oliviaround.org/the-blog?tag=jasmine%20reese&category=Interviews
https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=11380.0
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 20, 2021, 11:03:13 am
On a little differnet note...  I have spent many miles on the trails with my dog.   I lost track of how many trail miles we ran together at 10,000 miles and suspect the actual total is now something like 20,000 miles.  Neither of us run any more in our advanced years (her coming up on 13 and me at 70), but those were some happy times together.  She has also run along with me on my mountain bike on the trails a bit back in the day.

No one brought it up in this thread, but I often have read folks mentioning suggestions of their dogs running along when they tour.  Just in case anyone is considering that, I'll preemptively put in my 2 cents worth.  I have found that on the trails a healthy young dog is alot faster than me on steep climbs and a lot slower on steep descents.  On a road tour climbs can be quite a few miles long and the incompatibility of paces just becomes a huge deal.  I'd suggest that if you want a dog to walk/run along that you get also walk/run.  Quite a few people have walked or run across the country and if you really want to go with your dog that might be a better fit.  Otherwise you really need to adjust to each other's paces to a huge degree.

I think if I had better known when she would have become less able to manage that kind of activity I might have planned a thru hike or a coast to coast walk with her while she was able.  These days I worry that longer walks around the neighborhood or even any walks on hot days might be too much for her.  Usually she has the good sense to choose when to take longer or shorter walks so I generally let her choose.  Since she had her spleen out last spring she only has much energy on cool days and even then it is slow walking with lots of stopping.  Hard to imagine it is the same dog that used to run 18 miles and come home still wanting to play.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 20, 2021, 11:38:57 am
I ran into several hikers thru-hiking with their dogs when I thru-hiked the AT. Dogs are not allowed in places like the Smokies due to bears, so you have to kennel and shuttle your dog. However, many dogs had foot issues, especially on long stretches of granite ledges (New Hampshire & Maine) and areas with lots of sharp rocks (PA). I can only guess how hot pavement would be for a dog that has to get out and trot along side you uphill on a 90 degree day. Some hikers used Cordura booties to save their dogs feet. Biking is a little easier than hiking since you are most likely not dealing with climbing ledges or long traverses across granite side slopes, but blacktop is a typically a lot more unforgiving than trail running for a dog.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: staehpj1 on November 20, 2021, 11:58:56 am
I ran into several hikers thru-hiking with their dogs when I thru-hiked the AT. Dogs are not allowed in places like the Smokies due to bears, so you have to kennel and shuttle your dog. However, many dogs had foot issues, especially on long stretches of granite ledges (New Hampshire & Maine) and areas with lots of sharp rocks (PA). I can only guess how hot pavement would be for a dog that has to get out and trot along side you uphill on a 90 degree day. Some hikers used Cordura booties to save their dogs feet. Biking is a little easier than hiking since you are most likely not dealing with climbing ledges or long traverses across granite side slopes, but blacktop is a typically a lot more unforgiving than trail running for a dog.
I've heard of folks using dog boots and even of gluing on leather pads with CA glue for AT thru hikes.

Dog's susceptibility to pad issues varies from dog to dog.  I've had some that frequently had problems.  My current one never so much as cut a pad in all the years I have had her.  She has run and hiked on all kinds of unfriendly surfaces and walks on hot sun baked Tallahassee asphalt as if it were cool grass.  I try to steer her to the shade or roadside grass, but she mostly doesn't seem to care.

My current pooch seems to have cast iron pads.  The one three dogs before her was the exact oposite.  Hot surfaces, sharp rocks, broken glass, snow, and ice all were terrible for one and a non issue for the other.  The other dogs I have had were somewhere in between.
Title: Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
Post by: HobbesOnTour on November 20, 2021, 04:17:40 pm
There are a number of videos on YouTube of people touring with dogs.
In Europe it is not uncommon at all to see small dogs in baskets, larger ones in trailers.

It's a dream of mine, someday.

All the points noted above are relevant. I'd also add that the dog would need to be very calm when traffic is heavy, close and fast.
I would also worry about territorial dogs on the roads I was riding.

Also, accommodation options can be limited with a pet.

I'd imagine a lot of day rides and practice are in order - lucky you[ :D