Why Riding Your Bike With Your Dog On a Leash Is A Stupid Idea

For those of us dog owners with active dogs, we try our best to get them out of the house and get them exercise. While some take theirs to the dog park to burn off steam, others take their four-legged companions for long walks or runs.shutterstock_303140909 (1)

And then there are those of us who like to take our dogs for a bike-ride.
And if you are a dog-biker, the leash could be endangering you, the dog, and anyone else in your path.
That’s because focusing on the road/sidewalk, while riding at full bike-speed makes it virtually impossible to focus on the dog as well.
This means that while you ride your bike with your dog on the leash, he can easily run on the other side of a telephone pole without you noticing.
This can result in either you crashing your bike into the ground, or your dog getting a punishing jerk on the leash he doesn’t deserve.
And if it happens often enough, the dog can see these jerks on the leash as an actual punishment which can lead to trauma.
No One trying to exercise their dog should turn the activity into a traumatic experience for their pet.
A leash could also clothesline anyone walking in your path.
These types of accidents can easily result in a lawsuit against you as the dog’s owner.
So what’s the solution?
The solution is to bike with your dog off-leash. Now I know what you’re thinking-won’t he run away? Won’t he cause trouble with his usual delayed sniffing or chasing anything that moves?
The truth is, although you may experience some delayed sniffing, dogs have something called prey-drive.
In a nutshell, prey-drive is an instinctive behavior whereby dogs chase anything that moves fast. It comes from their ancient hunting instinct whereby what moved fast in nature was tonight’s dinner be it a rabbit or a rodent. The behavior is especially prevalent in sporting breeds and other active dogs. Some dogs manifest this behavior chasing cars, runners, cats, squirrels or other dogs. The speed of motion attracts them. And of course, so does the speed of the bike.
Which means that you riding your bike should attract your dog to follow you happily.
Combine that with the dog’s best friend (you, the dog’s owner) riding this fast moving object (the bike), the combination of the pack leader and the attractive speed of motion almost always creates an irresistible offer for the off-leash dog. He will likely follow you happily.Just imagine the head wolf in the pack riding on the back of a rabbit. Every other wolf in the pack would definitely follow.
The same should be true with your dog. And the faster you ride, the more likely they are to follow.
But if you are still worried about him running into the street off leash, or stopping to play or fight with other dogs, try doing it at 6:00 AM or at the crack of dawn when no cars or other traffic is on the street.
Chances are, for the most part, he will run by your side happily despite a few delayed sniffing episodes.
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David Sidman is a certified professional K-9 trainer with a specialization in training military and Police working dogs. Sidman qualified as an I.D.F explosive detection dog handler and was certified in Police K-9 Training by the Eastern States Working dog Association (ESWDA)

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