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I'm wondering if a dog would make a good MTB companion. I have seen several dogs on the trails that I ride. About half of the time it is no problem and the other half it seems like the owner has to stop and take control of the dog. I would only ride with a dog on the most remote trails. What breeds would you recomend. I live in Arizona and have two children 13 and 10 and two cats. Our yard is large and our family likes the outdoors. I also enjoy backbaking. Thanks
 

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Riding AZ said:
I'm wondering if a dog would make a good MTB companion. I have seen several dogs on the trails that I ride. About half of the time it is no problem and the other half it seems like the owner has to stop and take control of the dog. I would only ride with a dog on the most remote trails. What breeds would you recomend. I live in Arizona and have two children 13 and 10 and two cats. Our yard is large and our family likes the outdoors. I also enjoy backbaking. Thanks
a couple of things - arizona is hot and most dogs have a hard time with the heat.
i had a dog that mtn biked with me until she passed away prematurely at 8. she was part bordie collie and part lab. she was great because she knew how to pace herself and didn''t overdue it. she would stay on the trail behind all riders and just kind of trot along even if we were going fast. just had to wait at intersections. during that same time period my friend got an australian sheppard/lab mix and she began riding too. she was the fastest dog ever and would keep up on downhills. that seemed real cool at the time, but now she is 8 and has had both her rear knees rebuilt and now she is having trouble with her front legs. i believe (and her owner too) that mtn biking is the cause of this because she couldn't pace herself, she went full throttle all the time.

i would take a dog mtn biking again but i would be very selective about it, keep it to short rides and look for the the signs above about whether to continue or not. your smaller breeds (not those little dogs, they don't count) will probably be better off in the long run and many of them are great loyal pets as well.
 

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Doggie Downhill

Going quickly down hills is hard on most mammal's joints. Dogs, like people, will probably injure/wear out knee/hip cartilidge prematurely by going down hills quickly. This is doubly true in puppies/young dogs. Their hip sockets get stretched out leading to problems later in their lives.

That said, I would love to take my dog on nice rolling shady singletrack. Unfortunately everywhere I ride contains too many hikers, horses and big "no dogs allowed" signs. My dog would love to chase the deer I frequently pass.

But for some reason he still loves licking the dirt off my shins when I get home.

:)
 

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One thing for new mtb biking dog owners to be aware about is that dogs can cut their paws on sharpe rocks and dead dry shrubs/branches.

Get them some trail booties:


My neighbors and I went riding with two of his dogs over the weekend. About 4 miles in, one of them cut both of his front paws on some sharp rocks. We had to bandage him up with a hankie and carry him back. Took about an hour to carry a 60 pound dog.
 

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Noon time rides are torture on doggies as they can get sun/heat stroke. This is especially true if you live in dry, hot, non forest type trails like in CA and AZ. Most of the trails here in Socal are dry and barren and void of any kind of trees to acts as canopies against the harsh noon sun. Take them out riding during the early morning hours or evening hours.

And you'll be carrying more water too, enough for you and the dogs.
 

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Hmmm.

Riding AZ said:
I also enjoy backbaking. Thanks
I don't think I want to know what that is. :p

I've got a shepherd mix that was a lot of fun to take on most rides (he's retired, now). Rides he got to know well, he would find shortcuts. He would bound off the trail, then pop out as we rode by. Funny stuff.

One time, he and his bud ran after a cow- the poor thing panicked and tried to jump a barbwire fence. It only made it halfway and was straddled on the top wire, bawling plaintively as the dogs nipped her heels. Oops. :rolleyes:

Some drawbacks, as others have stated, but the good rides with dogs far outnumber the bad. And they won't drink all your beer.

fp
 

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I take my three dogs on rides when the weather permits. They are a dalmation and two golden retriever crosses. I only like to take them if it is not too hot and if there is water accessable on the ride. I have acouple rides along creeks that I like to take them on. If those two criteria don't happen, I leave them home. I feel like i have a hard time convincing my gf that some rides are just not dog-friendly because she is always like "take the dogs!" even if it is 90 out. I am fortunate and have well-behaved dogs. I don't have problems on the trails with them, only the squirrels and other critters that they never get tired of chasing do .

Another factor is the length of the ride and if they are already whooped or not. Two dogs are young and can still run forever. But I have one that is older (6 yrs) and I give her days off. She also can't run as fast anymore, so I wait up for her. The longest rides I have taken them on is around 13 miles. THey are all totally beat after that.

About those booties, I have never had luck keeping them on the dog's feet. The dalmation freezes his feet in the winter, so we tried those booties but we can't get them to stay on his feet. I know sled dogs use them and they must work, but I think most of the ones at pet stores are crap and don't work.
 

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Riding AZ said:
I'm wondering if a dog would make a good MTB companion. I have seen several dogs on the trails that I ride. About half of the time it is no problem and the other half it seems like the owner has to stop and take control of the dog. I would only ride with a dog on the most remote trails. What breeds would you recomend. I live in Arizona and have two children 13 and 10 and two cats. Our yard is large and our family likes the outdoors. I also enjoy backbaking. Thanks
If you live in cougar country riding with a dog may be a good idea. Let the cat go after the dog instead of you.
 

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Riding AZ said:
I'm wondering if a dog would make a good MTB companion. I have seen several dogs on the trails that I ride. About half of the time it is no problem and the other half it seems like the owner has to stop and take control of the dog. I would only ride with a dog on the most remote trails. What breeds would you recomend. I live in Arizona and have two children 13 and 10 and two cats. Our yard is large and our family likes the outdoors. I also enjoy backbaking. Thanks
Dogs are not endurance athletes. Many dogs die each year because their owners run them to death.

Here's a link to an article about the do's and don't of riding with your dog.

http://www.whimpsmtb.com/dogs.htm
 

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shiggy©®™ said:
If you live in cougar country riding with a dog may be a good idea. Let the cat go after the dog instead of you.
I was just thinking about that the other day.
Having a dog is a good idea in mtn lion country.
The dog has a better chance of detecting a cougar and just might be enough of a presence to deter a cougar attack, or may unfortunately for the the pupster, the cougar may go for it, but that would better than it going for you the human.
 

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if you must take a dog, lots of good advice here.. . but please please please train it... not to chase critters, solid 100% voice recall, how to stay out of the way of others, not stop/stand in the trail, no agression and no crapping in the middle of the trail. Not everyone loves your dogs like you do!! I have the utmost respect for really well trained trail dogs and thier owners, but they sure seem to be a rare thing these days.

I'm a dog owner too, but I don't ever take him on the trails.
formica

cougars... anyone interested in them should read Beast in the Garden, about the cougars in Boudler, CO.. One of the problems is that modern urban peripheral cougars are so habituated to humans and the suburban environment that they dont't views dogs as enemies any more, they view them as lunch.
 

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formica said:
...but please please please train it...
A very good point indeed.

I was once leaning against a tree during a water break and up comes this german shepard mix growling and acting aggressive with me. I looked around for the owner and he/she was no where insight. I had this feeling that the owner was just behind somewhere and that this dog was just a scouting out the area ahead. But this dog was growling and staring me down for what seemed like 3 minutes, which is too long in my book. I have spent many years around animals and could read the them pretty well, so I kept my cool and stood still, careful not to make sudden gestures.

About 4 minutes total had elapsed and up come the owner on the trail.

The dog then retreated. I politely told the owner that her dog had a stare down with me and it exhibited needless aggressive behavior. She just looked at me straight in the face and said nothing and walked away.
 

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formica said:
if you must take a dog, lots of good advice here.. . but please please please train it... not to chase critters, solid 100% voice recall, how to stay out of the way of others, not stop/stand in the trail, no agression and no crapping in the middle of the trail. Not everyone loves your dogs like you do!! I have the utmost respect for really well trained trail dogs and thier owners
I'll second that.
 

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One of my dogs will drink from the camelback if I squirt it out, but the other two won't. I bring along one of those floppy food/water dishes for them that I leave clipped to my camel back. Just incase I'm not riding near water for them. Also, let 'em flop and frolick in any mud puddle they find - they need it. worry about cleaning them off later, I like to take them for a swim somewhere before letting them back in the house.
 

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Dax said:
Thats a good link. I don't think I could ever forgive myself if I killed my pet because he was trying to keep up with me on a bike.

DOGS = SHORT RIDES

3 hours MAX

bring watter
IMO 3 hours is too long, unless its all uphill.
 
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