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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dog topic with some 29"er content

We got a Lapponian herder puppy a couple of weeks ago and it is already starting to grow big. Of course we later on want to be able to bike our 29”ers with her running next to us but we have never biked with a dog before. So my question is if anybody out there (BruceBrown maybe) could give some advise on how to get started.
Should the dog run in the front or behind?
How do you teach her to stay away from the wheels other than the hard way?
P
 

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Cold. Blue. Steel.
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beautiful pup!

i almost can't see her- blending in with your R4 (i have one- awesome jacket!).
i took my girlfriend's 1 yr old lab, Baylee, biking for the first time and she liked to follow. i think this is better so i can show her the way and set a pace. i constantly check on her by taking quick peeks back when i can, but usually i can hear her feet. i stop quite a bit to make sure she is doing well and to give her some water, and also let her swim in the river or creek (there are many here where we live and labs absolutely love the water). Baylee is learning to drink from my camelbak and she quickly figured out not to get in front of my wheels; i didn't run her over, but had to swerve around a bit one time early in the ride and i made some sounds (not on purpose... kind of like "whoaaaa-yaowwww!!" as a reaction to her getting right in front of me. that seemed to teach her that behind me is better. maybe each dog is different.
the main thing is not to work a pup over too hard- they are still developing and need to go a little at a time. i actually think hiking with them when they are really young is the best way; i also read that this is a good idea. Baylee already knew the local trails and was used to other people and animals. cycling with a dog is much more complicated than hiking, so i think it was good for both of us (and my girlfriend) that we started this way. bring some kibble to give the dog as a treat for doing well and for the extra calories they will burn. i have started out small and at our local trails, and will branch out into bigger rides and weekend camping and biking trips. she is in for one fantastic summer (as are Sarah and i!!) the pics are from about 5 months ago- yes, she has certainly grown- 80lbs now! and yes, i have cut down my "Kramer" hairdo, lol. it will be back for Halloween, wink-wink. ;)
send more pics and enjoy the new joy in your life! :D
OGG
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Perfect. It does not sound to hard. Yeah they grow extremely fast and yeah they should not be to much exercised early in life. When she is full grown she'll need 2-3 hours/day so I'll get my portion of exercise later on. Now when you mention it it makes sense to keep the dog behind you. She is not supposed to choose at the trail heads, right.
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I have two "stupids," neither of which can run for any extended period. Now, they can sprint, especially the female, but both have trouble in the heat. I remember one fateful ride, the first time I took the male, Linus, out. It was around 90 degrees and humid. He made it about two miles before he just lay in a stream and wouldn't run anymore. Now, he's a fine companion, but I will never take him out in that kind of weather again, which is nearly the entire summer around here. I'm not sure if he'd make it in the 60's or 70's either. I guess I'll give it another try come September. Good dog, bad biking buddy.
 

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Cold. Blue. Steel.
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truly our best friends!

i am enjoying all the great pics so far. i need to get more of Baylee. my cat is so cool, she could practically be a dog, but the trails certainly aren't a good idea, lol.
everyone should chime in with a pic of their best buds and some advice for how they enjoy the trails with them. :)

this is P-Nut. she is an amazing car companion, if not made for biking the trails. crossed the country together... twice!
 

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Always Learning
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Pepperagge said:
Dog topic with some 29"er content
We got a Lapponian herder puppy a couple of weeks ago and it is already starting to grow big. Of course we later on want to be able to bike our 29"ers with her running next to us but we have never biked with a dog before. So my question is if anybody out there (BruceBrown maybe) could give some advise on how to get started.
Should the dog run in the front or behind?
How do you teach her to stay away from the wheels other than the hard way?
P
A Lapponian Herder? That is a gorgeous animal. Congratulations. I don't think you could choose a better dog to take riding with you as I've heard they will trot alongside runners with minimal training. Smart, easy to train and lots of endurance.

Is your puppy male or female?

Since I have only trained two labs to ride with me, I will tell you how I went about it. Keep in mind that riding on the trail with dogs should only be done on trails where dogs are allowed to be off leash.

My dogs are a year apart, so the first dog received the majority of training while the second dog quickly learned his disciplilne via monkey see, monkey do so to speak of watching his big sister who had everything mastered. When they were pups, they were trained to walk, jog and run at my side on a leash. Obviously, you have to gradually work into it based on their size, age and stamina. I think some of my first training walks/runs lasted about 20 feet - if even. Slowly build it up to a full city block and then 1/4 of mile and so on and so forth.

Eventually, the first training sessions with the bike took place out in front of our house on the street where we worked on the idea of running behind my bike. Maximum distance at that time was one city block one way, turn aound and one city block the other way. Always with a reward and using the same commands. "Stop. Go. Stay right." Later, I added and worked on the commands of "Off" (if encountering other trail users and I didn't want my dog to stop and bother them) as well as "No chase" (if wildlife is encountered)."

The first rides out in the woods were somewhere around the time when my first puppy was 5 or 6 months old. They were very short rides and at that age I made sure to ride fast enough that the dog had no choice but to run behind my bike as she learned the concept of riding, staying on the trail and employed the basic commands of stop, go, sit as well as began working on the command of "stay right". By my staying in the lead, we didn't have to worry about me running over her.

Eventually, the dog grows in size enough to rocket off and get to the front where they love to be and lead when they are fresh. I've continually worked on not letting either of my dogs get too far ahead of me. Once they cross the line of being too far ahead I simply whistle and they stop immediately in their tracks and wait for me. I guess I usually draw that line at 50 or 60 feet. To tell you the truth, although in the early stages there are always "near accidents" of me almost running over the dog or the crankarm bopping 'em in the head - it has never happened. If they slow down or are in my way, I yell the command "go" and they speed up to avoid me hitting them. If they are tuckered out and in my way, the command of "stay right" gets them off the trail to the right. I think the wheel has grazed both dogs a time or two in the early stages which is about all it takes for them to learn, but the concept of running along with their master on the bike comes naturally to dogs. Just keep your fingers on the brake levers at all times in the early training rides as the dogs will stop and sniff things and just plain stand in the way right in front of you at the drop of a hat. Now my dogs run equally well in front of me, beside me and behind me. A trust has built up between us and they know what I do as well as me knowing what they do. Since I have 2 there seems to be some sort of a pecking order between them as to who gets to lead and who runs in second place or behind the bike.

One important thing to think about is your dog's developing bones, muscles and joints. For the entire first year you never want to go over a few miles (5 being max and that comes at the end of the year). Most dogs will literally run themselves to death to stay with their masters - so don't ever overdo it in speed or distance. Make sure there is water for you dog to drink and that you take plenty of rests. Avoid bringing them along for a ride in the heat. Spring and fall riding seems to work best for dogs, but summer rides can also work if you go early in the morning or later in the evening when it is not so hot. Just keep those rides shorter, have more water and more frequent stops. Check for ticks after every ride and also check your dog's paws. And always reward with a dog biscuit.

Since your dog is a herder and well known for being a good dog to take out for a run or a jog - I think you will be surprised how easy it is to train. Start slowly and familiarize your dog with the bike and the concept of running along with you. They take to it like a duck to water.

BB
 

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Great way to experience each other...

Pepperagge said:
So my question is if anybody out there (BruceBrown maybe) could give some advise on how to get started.
I got my first dog as an adult in January of 1991 when I was 27. She was eight months, "sheperd mix" according to the Denver Dumb Friends (pound) but actually half trailhound, half snackhound, and half heinz 57. She and I spent many fine days one on one, exploring places in CO where we weren't likely to be worried about crowds. We had to put her down two weeks ago today. We had the priveledge of her company for over 13 years.

Rosie was a hard-core energy dog when she was young. She was the smartest dog I've ever been around. And she could run all day long. We did lots of days where my odometer read 35 miles, thousands of feet of elevation would be changing hands, hundreds of chipmunks would lead her off on her own side trips. She also was a frisbee dog, a great swimmer, and a fly-fishing fanatic.

She started showing signs of arthritis when she was about 7. By the time she was 10 we had to give her glucosomine and chondroitin and have pain relievers available for after hikes. She didn't want to go biking any more. For about the last 2 years she was really stoved up. Her hindquarters were in really good shape, but her front leg "elbows" were large and not very mobile. She never got overweight, and we kept her as active as possible, but by the time she was 11 she was a stiff old dog.

I tell you this just to give you an idea about the importance of being judicial about how much energy you allow your dog to expend. Not to tell you not to do it, just to let you know that activity can have consequences. Bruce mentioned this. Allowing the dog to develop is really important. Most dogs are fully developed, in terms of skeleton and muscle, at around 18 months. Really, the heavy endurance exercise should wait until then.

For myself, though I miss my dog very much, I have little regret about decisions made during her life. We took good care of her, and she had a good time. If I had it to do over, I might have waited until she was a little older to do some of the really long days we did in the summer of 1992. She was a year old by then, but really not fully developed. Her energy level was off the charts. We started playing frisbee as a way to run some damned energy off the dog so that we could all get maybe 6.5 hours of sleep.

I think the frisbee was better for her than the mountain bike rides. Bursts of activity rather than long slogging grinds.

But she loved those rides. Those rides, on the Buffalo Creek section of the Colorado Trail, and Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass, and down here, near Browns Creek in Chaffee County, they'll live in my memory for always.
Pepperagge said:
Should the dog run in the front or behind?
How do you teach her to stay away from the wheels other than the hard way?
I've known people who got their dogs to ride in strict formation. Usually behind and just to the side. Heeling.

Rosie would do that if she was tired, or if I called her over. That's a given, by the way. Your dog has to come to you when called. The first time you call. Strict formation is probably necessary if you're going to be going where you'll encounter people. I always took Rosie on weekdays, or someplace very remote. I was never dealing with the crowded multi-user trail. And for what it's worth, I would not ride with a dog today in a place where I expected to see people. I have dogs, but I mostly do other things with them.

For the most part, Rosie kept an eye on me and figured out where we were going while we were riding. When I was rolling downhill, she'd race me when it started and she had the wind. I can still remember how she'd come up alongside me, shoot me a look, and then take off, kicking small rocks into my face as she took the lead. If it was a long downhill, like from Georgia Pass down to Jefferson Creek, she would get behind me and I could just go at my own pace. She would fall behind a little, but she would follow the trail and/or my scent. She might show up at the bottom two minutes behind me.

Ah hell. You don't need to know all that, and I need to go to bed.

Listen, herding dogs are the best bike ride buddies. And they need lots of exercise. Enjoy your dog. Love your dog. I'm sure you will. Be a little conservative about the times and distances until she's 18 months, if you believe my advice. And never subject her to a really long ride without first helping her train into it. Gradual increases. Just like Bruce said. Just like you'd do for yourself (unless you like to be really sore). It's just not nice to pick a dog up off the couch and make her run for 4 hours. Cuz she'll do it without complaint and suffer the effects without complaint.

As for trail manners, train her in the way that you are comfortable with, for the situations where you hope to ride. I don't think there's any right way. General obedience is the foundation for all other training. Leashes don't work when you're riding. The dog has got to do what you tell her to do, when you tell her. If you get a smart herding dog trained properly, she'll desperately want to do what you want. It'll just be a matter of getting the message across clearly.

Good luck.
 

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A few thoughts from experience and hearsay.

1) consult your vet before taking the dog out riding.
2) Watch your dogs pads for cuts. Small sharp rocks can be very painful to them.
3) Get a bear bell. Helps you track your dog, plus lets other trail users know your dog is coming
4) Have a solid bond with the dog, and make sure the dog comes when called.
5) Bring along a dog who has riden a few times before to help show your dog the ropes.

Riding with your dog can be a great experience. Below is a pic of my pooch Briko. He's done rides as long as 30kms with me.
 

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Pepperagge said:
Dog topic with some 29"er content

We got a Lapponian herder puppy a couple of weeks ago and it is already starting to grow big. Of course we later on want to be able to bike our 29"ers with her running next to us but we have never biked with a dog before. So my question is if anybody out there (BruceBrown maybe) could give some advise on how to get started.
Should the dog run in the front or behind?
How do you teach her to stay away from the wheels other than the hard way?
P
where is that bridge???? Hella cool
 

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Listen, herding dogs are the best bike ride buddies. And they need lots of exercise. Enjoy your dog. Love your dog. I'm sure you will. Be a little conservative about the times and distances until she's 18 months, if you believe my advice. And never subject her to a really long ride without first helping her train into it. Gradual increases. Just like Bruce said. Just like you'd do for yourself (unless you like to be really sore). It's just not nice to pick a dog up off the couch and make her run for 4 hours. Cuz she'll do it without complaint and suffer the effects without complaint.

Good info here. I was worried about stressing my Boxer at a young age so I didn't take him riding until he was around two years. As posted above, however, he didn't seem up to it at all. When I bought him, I asked the breeder about riding with that specific breed, and he said that boxers weren't made for endurance excercises especially in hot weather. Morover, some have heart arrhythmia (mine don't) and can just drop dead while excercising. I love my dogs, and boxers in general, too much to care if they can ride with me for 10+ miles and I knew they couldn't do this sort of thing when I got into this mess. So, know your breed and break your dog in easy if he's up to it. It goes without saying that your dog should follow directions. Good posts to all and have fun. :)
 

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Newsboy said:
Dirtrag had a brilliant article about riding with dogs a
couple of issues ago, heres the online version.
http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=669

My girl has just had her 1:st birthday so now she's
ready for some serious running.
That was a good article. I've bookmarked it for future reference as riding with dogs seems to come up every now and then on other forums as well.

Another training option available if anyone is having trouble with a stubborn dog not obeying commands is to purchase one of the better electric shock collars that hunters use. All it takes is a zap or a few zaps to squelch the unwanted behavior.

I also like the idea of placing a bell on the dog's collar to not only warn forest residents, but others on the trail as sometimes a dog running at full speed around a corner can startle a hiker or other rider out on the trail more than you can imagine.

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A couple things:

First off a warning: Last weekend on a ride without my dog I came upon a situation where a dog chasing ducks had fallen through bad ice in Rampart resevoir and had been in the water for 30-40mins. I attempted to swim out and break through to the dog but didn't get more than 20' before I couldn't breathe due to the thirty some degree water, after which I left the scene due to absolute heartbreak. So please have your dogs trained not to chase wildlife and keep them off ice.

A very important commmand for us(dog + me) is "other side" tells him to change sides.

Drinking from the camelback is crucial in some areas, Thailer will only do it when really thirsty.

The decomposing granite we ride on around here is hell on pads, booties are mandatory for rides over ~5 miles.

Thailer got run over by me once after we had been riding for over a year, he was sniffing something in the trail, looked up at me, so I thought he was gonna move, then went back to sniffin. Ever since he always gets off the trail when I or another biker passes.
 

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Electronics?

I don't think an electronic collar is a cool idea at all.

You bring your best friend out for a nice ride in the woods.
And just because you didn't bother to give him/her proper
training and discipline you zap your friend with a collar?

Plain weird if you ask me.

If you can't control your dog by voice or whistle
it has no business running around in the wild.
 

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shock collars

Newsboy said:
I don't think an electronic collar is a cool idea at all.

You bring your best friend out for a nice ride in the woods.
And just because you didn't bother to give him/her proper
training and discipline you zap your friend with a collar?

Plain weird if you ask me.

If you can't control your dog by voice or whistle
it has no business running around in the wild.
Shock collars can be a somewhat humane training aid for young dogs to establish some basic behaviors. Training is achieved by using feedback, which means letting your dog know how you feel about the behavior she "just now" exhibited. Positive feedback is the "good dog, here's a treat reaction" to the dog doing what you want. Say you're training the dog to come, and she comes. Give her some love. Give her a snack. Next time when you call, she'll probably think going to you sounds like a good idea.

If she doesn't come, then you have a problem. Feedback has to be immediate, or the dog doesn't know what behavior to associate it with. So the dog doesn't come when you call. Then chases a squirrel (as you chase the dog), then starts sniffing something. You get there and apply negative feedback. You yell at the dog. You hit the dog (bad person, where the f*ck do you get off?).

As far as the dog knows, you don't want it to be sniffing. See what I'm saying? Negative feedback can be hard to use effectively. And it's a crappy pattern of interaction to set with a dog that you don't want to have a bunch of fear of humans.

With a shock collar, the dog fails to come to your call, you apply negative feedback. Immediately. The dog learns. Some shock collars beep just before the shock is applied. After shocking a dog a few times, all you need to do is make it beep.

So, that's the rationale. Most trainers believe that positive feedback is the only way to go. I certainly think it's the best. But it can be hard to get to positive feedback situations with a dog that is totally out of hand.

Having a dog that is under your control is humane. It's safer for the dog when it reliably does what you ask in a timely manner. And an under-control relationship is the kind of relationship that is best for both of you. You have less conflict.

If it takes a shock collar, used PROPERLY to enforce behaviorist principles that need to be enforced (come when I call you, don't jump up on people, stay close to me when you're off leash, etc), then that's more humane than what you often see. Ever see people trying to go hike or ride with their dog, and they are constantly yelling at the dog, chasing it down to hit it, or doing other bizarre and stupid things that make you wonder why they have the dog? That's not humane.

That said, shock collars have limited use. My father-in-law has a set, and he loaned them to us after we acquired a cast off Australian Sheperd (or border, who knows?) that we found stray about 5 years ago. She had, and still has, behavior problems. She is a good example of a working dog that has so much instinct for working, that it is hard to live with her sometimes. We have ruts in our yard where she chases cars from inside the dog-tight fence. She's VERY smart, and has lots of her own opinions about things. We didn't want to break her will, but we had to have her come when called, and all that stuff.

So we put a shock collar on her, and go for a walk. She starts mis-behaving, and gets shocked immediately. From the trainer's standpoint, this was very satisfying. But then she became completely inhibited and fearful. Well-behaved, you betcha. But just a little scared.

Walk ends, we go home. A few days later, we're about to go for another walk. We put the collar on her. She won't take a step. She just freezes, waiting for the thing to shock her. We took the collar off, packed up the whole setup, and shipped it back to dad-in-law. And then proceeded to use positive feedback to influence her behavior. She still has some problems, and probably always will. But we love her to peices even with her faults. And she is much better behaved than those first few months.

Some people demand total complete obedience. Their dogs have a certain part of their own personality that just goes dormant. We like to allow our dogs to have their own will. Sometimes it causes a lapse in behavior, because the dog does something we don't want. But it's a trade-off.
 

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Cultural differences?

In Spain they throw live goats out of churctowers.
In Hungary they hang dogs by a rope and spin them
around, the more poo that comes out of the dog the
better next new year will be.

In Sweden though where i live, electronic collars are highly forbidden by law.
If you are caught using one you are most likely to end up in jail.
 

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Beautiful pup!

I'm not familiar with the breed, but sounds like you've picked a winner.
Our boy Zeke is an Australian Cattle Dog/ Queensland Heeler/ whateveryouwannacall'em, and I've found that the hearding instinct goes well with riding.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot of opportunity here in Sandy Eggo to ride with him, so we're gonna have to do some conditioning when we get to San Antonio.
With us, we started out working on voice commands and the like on foot- first on walks then jogging. BTW, we rescued Zeke from the shelter when he was about 2-3 years old.
I taught him "left" and "right", as well as "trail" as a command to yield the trail. Really smart dogs tend to be a bit more willful, but since you're starting with a pup, you should have no problems.
As has been said before, start really slowly, and definitely wait until he's fully grown and in shape before going all out.
Have fun- I'm sure your buddy there will!

the los (and Zeke)

Apparently, there's some sort of problem with my posting of pictures right now. I'll try again later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks :)

Ahhh, so many good posts. I want to thank you all for the great input and wonderful pictures. Where should I start... well the heat problem will not be a big one since Isa our dog lives in Sweden (btw "SHIVER ME TIMBERS " the bridge is in the archipelago outside of Uddevalla north of Gothenburg). And since she is a Lapponian herder winter is absolutely no problem for her. These herders have been used for ages to herd reindeers in deep snow. Boots for protection against sharp rocks is also unnecessary due to the location. She is only 3 months old but already very obedient.
Thanks
Per, Sara and Isa
:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Answer

BruceBrown: "Smart, easy to train and lots of endurance." Yes exactly those were the reasons why we choose that breed. In addition it is fun to have a "local" breed backed up by history. Maybe you should think about writing an instruction book for dog owners. You have a way with words so even a Swede can understand with ease. It is very informative.
So the first 12 months only up to 5 miles of running? I guess that I have to weigh in the consequences of running pace into that equation as well. Not a precise science but to build up the pace and duration gradually makes of course sense.
Your comments are very helpful
Thanks a lot
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
bigwheelboy_490 said:
A few thoughts from experience and hearsay.

1) consult your vet before taking the dog out riding.
2) Watch your dogs pads for cuts. Small sharp rocks can be very painful to them.
3) Get a bear bell. Helps you track your dog, plus lets other trail users know your dog is coming
4) Have a solid bond with the dog, and make sure the dog comes when called.
5) Bring along a dog who has riden a few times before to help show your dog the ropes.

Riding with your dog can be a great experience. Below is a pic of my pooch Briko. He's done rides as long as 30kms with me.
All very good advises. I especially like the idea about a bear bell. It probably saves me and other people out in the forest a lot of trouble.
Thanks
 
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