Cycling is a great way to spend our free time, worth combining it with your pet. This form of activity provides pleasure, at the same time keeps you in a good physical shape. Exercise for muscles and endurance of the body allows you to maintain proper condition and a healthy figure, and same with dogs – we need to take care of their physical condition.
However, before any activity that requires a lot of energy and strength, we should prepare our dogs. Probably most Shepherd breed owners would agree, that their dogs usually want to move after such as scooters, bicycles, running people and so on. Especially if their dog is less socialized. It is harder, because instead of concentrating on running, they can catch more speed than our bike or look around and try to catch other road users, which will endanger themselves and others.
Puppies are not fully developed for this kind of sports, due to the possibility of bone overload. If you are interested to start mountain biking, your dog should be at least 1 year of age. However, this does not mean that an adult can run 5 kilometers for the first time. The physical endurance of the animal needs to be developed gradually.
How To Prepare an Australian Shepherd For Mountain Biking?
At first, you should visit your veterinarian. Whether your dog is suitable to run next to a bicycle can be advised by a veterinarian, who has examined your Australian Shepherd, talked about your lifestyle, dog‘s physical activity, and his state of health. In order for a dog to run next to a bicycle, he must be not only healthy, but also socialized: not be afraid of people, cars, bicycle, to listen to key commands.
Next step would be to take care of quality equipment. The equipment should be strong and very durable. It is also important to properly adjust it to your Australian Shepherd. For this type of sport, the use of a brace or special belt is recommended. Leash should not be too loose, as your Aussie might get free from it, as well as it should not be too tight. If the leash will be too tight, it will restrict movement and hinder running. Once you have the right biking equipment, start getting your dog used to this type of exercise.
The basis of cycling is always to teach dog obedience. You need to make sure that your Aussie listens to you and follows the instructions even in the most difficult conditions. Commands, like „wait, stay, sit down“ is mandatory and every dog should know them before doing this kind of activities. In addition, you must remember, that many unplanned situations can occur during the cycling, so it is very important to properly protect the dog. It would be good to use a dog collar with your contacts or home address on it, as well as registered chip. This increases the chanfes of finding the dog if he or she accidentally escape and get lost.
For safety reasons, it is better to avoid mountain biking in uncertain weather, for exapmle during the storm. As well as, try to avoid such places, where will be a lot of people, such as mass events, or busy route in general. During a sudden noise, very loud music, an explosion of fireworks, the dog may break the belt and run away because of fear. At events, such as cycling matches, it is best to participate when your dog is really well socialized and you fully trust him.
How Can You Start Cycling With Your Australian Shepherd As a Companion?
Australian Shepherd should be accustomed to the bike little by little, preferably from a young age (1-1.5 years old). When you go for a walk with a young puppy, you can pick up the bike and just take it nearby so that the dog gets used to it and is not afraid. After few such walks, if we see that the dog responds well to the bike and other road users, you can start slow ride with the bike, while using the leash. For such training, it is better to choose a place that is well known to us, not often visited and quiet. It is important not to scare young puppy, so choose less noisy areas for the first time.
You have to exercise with the dog in different directions, and get used him to turning to the sides, turning around, stopping, and changing the driving speed. It is very important to pay attention if your dog does not suffocate, limp, as these may be the first signs of joint disease or asthma.
Such exercises will not only introduce your Australian Shepherd with these activities, but will also give him confidence. Watch out the dog to see if he‘s not tense or tired, notice what speed is the best for him and adjust to that. Only after the dog reaches and notices his satisfaction and self-confidence, you will be able to move through the streets and longer routes or even biking matches.
Try to increase the distance gradually so that the dog can train his condition and get used to the exercises. But also remember, that dogs, same as humans, can suffer from pain, which is not a pleasant phenomenon, but dogs will not tell us that. Therefore, after some distance, always stop to check that everything is fine. Also, if your dog is slightly overweight or elderly – choose shorter distances.
What Are The Benefits Of Biking Together With Your Dog?
Dogs have more energy and are more physically resilient than humans, but usually spend all day at home without exercise. Such dogs are prone to boredom and too much energy, which is why owners often find evidence of activities left by the dog when they return home: chewed shoes, handbags and so on. So biking with your dog is first and foremost great antidepressant, the pet discharges not only physically, but also emotionally. Constant physical activity supports a healthier nervous, muscular and joint system, metabolism, and lymphatic and circulatory systems.
How To Ride A Bike Correctly? At What Signs From a Dog You Should Pay Attention To?
The dog should run to the rear wheel slightly behind or to the leg. Do not allow the dog to pull forward as this may cause it to get under the wheels of the bike. The pace is chosen according to your dog‘s physical abilities, but i always recommend starting slowly until you see what speed is most comfortable for your dog. Do not forget to let the dog rest, pay attention to the signs shown by the dog (lagging, heavily leaping, coughing) and be sure to stop, let him breathe, offer some water. But don‘t give too much water at once, it is better to give a drink more often and little by little.
What Should You Remember When Going On a Trip With Your Bike And Your Australian Shepherd?
- Avoid only paved roads: too long distances on paved roads can damage your dog‘s foot pillows.
- Avoid only busy routes, especially router with speeding cars. Better choose country roads for less traffic and better air.
- It is best to change the speed and make breaks, so that the dog can rest.
- Take water for the dog and give to him during every stop break.
- Avoid going biking immediately after lunch, as your dog‘s stomach might hurt, it is better to feed at least 2 hours before biking. Do not allow the dog to jump or play after feeding.
- After getting back home, do not give your dog to eat immediately, let the dog rest for a bit.
- Avoid mountain biking if your dog is sick at the moment, or have joint problems.
- Before going on a trip with your bike, check the weather conditions, and avoid biking when it is hot or there is a storm.
What Load Is Available For an Adult Australian Shepherd? How Can We Harm a Pet‘s Health While Biking?
It is very individual, but on average, an Australian Shepherd can run about 3 to 5 km, and he is more used to such activities or prepare for competitions, then such dog would be able to run 8 km or more. When driving on asphalt, pet paws can rub in some cases even to the blood, so it is better to choose a softer surface. This is also important for the joints as a softer roads means a softer load on the joints. After the ride, let the dog cool down and take a walk with him.
Bags For Dog‘s Attached To The Bike
If you‘re having problems to teach your dog how to run next to the bike properly – do not give up on this activity. There are special strollers that can be attached to the back of the bike. They are made of durable materials and the walls have a mesh for ventilation. Such strollers are very safe, plus you can put a blanket or toys for your dog and he will be really comfortable here. These strollers are more often used if an animal has health problems that prevent it from exercising, or is older – that doesn‘t mean you can‘t enjoy cycling together. This way you can enjoy the trip with your pet, without endangering his health. But of course, some dogs don‘t like to be left alone, locked up, surrounded by noise and traffic, so it still requires some time until your Aussie will get used to it.
Are Aussie Shepherds Good Runners? Australian Shepherds are very active working dogs, who distinguishes with their stamina, high energy level and desire to move. They are good and fast runners, there are reports that Australian Shepherd can reach over 40 mp/h (64 km/h). But of course, activity should be promoted gradually.