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I have a Six month old black lab, and I've been thinking about taking him out on some trails. I talked to a freind, he didnt recommend cause his pit went for broke and got real sick. I understand not to take him on any down hill, or atleast try and limit it. I think what I should try though is a little four miles or something. Is some terrien worse than others, are bootys a good idea or are they just a gimmick. I think temperature would be a concern seeing as hes black.But Whats everybody elses expirence
Thanks in Advance
-Greg
 

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I take my foxhound out for 6-12 mile rides. Training him to heel beside me took over a year with treats for everytime he "heeled" next to my bike. I would dangle a treat as I rode along and call out to him and say "heel", and he would run up along side me. Does it everytime, just like Pavlov said. I find talking to your dog alot when riding keeps his attention.

I also ride my singlespeed with him to keep the pace down, even though when he feels like it he can easily run faster than I can ride!

I usually ride him on-leash until we are a good mile or so from the trailhead.
 

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My mother saw this cute little puppy.... that grew into a huge lab. Actually a Rottie/Lab mix. IIRC he was 120 lbs. I would take him out and this dog would run forever, and ask for more. never got sick. I always took him riding where he could swim. It was ride, swim, ride some more. We did a longer ride once, 12-ish miles. I noticed when we got back his paws were bleeding a little. But that was the only time that ever happened. I think paw pads would be good if they fit right and the dog didn't fuss over them.
 

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I used to take my golden retriever "tucker" out on the trails all the time. He loved it! Especially since he never had to wait for me like he did when I was on foot. Just make sure to bring extra water for your new best friend
 

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Greg12341 said:
I have a Six month old black lab, and I've been thinking about taking him out on some trails. I talked to a freind, he didnt recommend cause his pit went for broke and got real sick. I understand not to take him on any down hill, or atleast try and limit it. I think what I should try though is a little four miles or something. Is some terrien worse than others, are bootys a good idea or are they just a gimmick. I think temperature would be a concern seeing as hes black.But Whats everybody elses expirence
Thanks in Advance
-Greg
You shouldn't run your dog too much for too long while the dog is still growing. Wait until your dog matures more it will be safer for it's joints and such. I'm not sure what time of maturity for your dog but I would think it's easy to find. Lots of dog lovers on here should be able to give a better answer/correct me.

I'm not saying no exercise. Just be careful not to push it.
 

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WTF-IDK said:
You shouldn't run your dog too much for too long while the dog is still growing. Wait until your dog matures more it will be safer for it's joints and such. I'm not sure what time of maturity for your dog but I would think it's easy to find. Lots of dog lovers on here should be able to give a better answer/correct me.

I'm not saying no exercise. Just be careful not to push it.
Yeah, my dog doesn't like hot days (ground gets hot), and will go to the edges where the grass is more often and he loves to run through mud. After a year of being mellow, my dog has pretty tough feet now.

AND make sure you check for ticks!
 

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Do not take your dog out until its at least 12 months old become fully grown.The dogs joints simple arent strong enough.Exerting the dog b4 maturity will only course joint problems further down the track.
 

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I brought our 6 month old Vizsla out into the woods a few weeks ago. The first few times we took her with a leash so that she'd figure out the ravines weren't a good idea. (Ok ravines was a little bit of an exaggeration). After that we finally took her off the leash and she did great! I'm going to keep taking her out on foot for a while until shes ready for the bike. In my opinion, and I'm not a dog trainer by any means, breaking it to them easy seems to work out good.
 

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Labs have a tendency towards bad hips so I'd stick to hiking with him for now until he's old enough to have his hips radiographed. I think they usually do that at 12-28 months and then maybe again at 2 years. I'd ask your vet. Then they can give you a score on how well the ball fits into the socket. I have a lab mix with one excellent hip and one good and I've had her on glucosamine since she was 6 and she is going to be 11 in March and rides with me all year long. Uphill, downhill even shuttling she does it all.

I got a pup this year (blue heeler mix) and started him out hiking to build his stamina and pads up and started taking him on 1-2 mile bike rides when he was about 10-11 months old. I've never used booties I just let him gradually build up his tolerance. Check the pads after every hike and ride. This fall he was up to 10 miles although with all the extra running he does when I let him off heel he probably goes about 15! Good luck with training your pup... just remember not to rush things especially with a lab. You can teach all the good bike manners they need on foot and it just makes things easier and more fun when you finally do start biking with him.

Good Luck!
 

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My lab/pit is right at 2 and she loves trail rides. I take her when I go night riding as there are less people on the "in town" trails. Do about 10 miles or so and she loves it. To train her I started taking her on rides instead of walks around the neighborhood with a leash on. I do about 2-3 miles with her about every other day and that got her used to being around the bike and the speeds.

Took her for 15 miles on the Pinhoti trails about 3 weeks ago and she loved it too. There was a LOT of climbing so she was actually ahead of me a lot of the time as I was slowing her up. She would run up the hill, stop at the top, then run back down, then repeat until I finally got to the top. Got her back on the downhills as she can't quite go 20mph. I let her do that on those out of town trails, while in town, she stays behind the bike. Her "default" is the heel/behind the bike, and then I say "go play" and she runs off. When I say "too far", she comes back. Just takes training on the leash until they get it.



-Tom
 

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I had a dog that I would take on rides- he was well-behaved on the trails. His trick was to go off-trail on a trail he knew, take a shortcut & pop out on the trail ahead of us, looking at us like "Where yuh been?" :cool:

One of the things they say is that dogs will run until they're dead (heat, exhaustion or both). They don't know when to quit. Be careful, but have fun!
 

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I used to have a dog that would turn around and head back to the car when he got tired. He would do this regardless of where we were in the ride. For example if we were 9 miles into a 10 mile loop, he'd turn around and walk the way he came. Both endearing and infuriating at the same time!
 

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trhoppe

Beautiful dog!
I think the mixes are always great dogs that have less genetic diseases then pure breeds.
Plus they're free to boot! They always seem to have great temperments as well.

I'm gonna get a dog soon. I've been doing research on the best running breeds.
The Rhoadian Ridgeback is supposed to be the best running dog. But your dog & training comments gets me thinking...

Can anyone comment on what 2-3 qualities make for the best MTB trail dog?
Mixes or pure breeds?
Male or female?
Seems to me a medium-size, short hair female with high intelligence & great eyesite & hearing that INSTANTLY obeys commands would be ultimate.With no hip/joint genetic diseases. I prefer females, White Labs, Golden Retrievers, Pitbulls & most medium sized mixes too.

With probably 200-300 breeds, all this can get confusing...
Can any Vets, dog expert breeders or trail dog owners comment?
 

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OK this is coming from a trail-dog owner and ex-vet Tech (did it for 5 years)
The breeds you listed... Labs, goldens and pitts are some of the worst breeds for trail riding. I'm sure people on this board have stories about the awesome pit or the great labs they had, but they are the exceptions. Those breeds too large and muscular --not designed for endurance. And labs and goldens are notorious for having hip problems. With that being said I have a small (55 lb) lab/dalmation mix who will be 11 this year and still runs up to 15 miles a ride (thanks to the dalmation not the lab).


The herding breeds (or herding breed mixes) are your best bet. I think blue heelers are the ultimate mtn biking dogs, intellegent, strong, heat resistant and TONS of endurance. They are the perfect size, too- around 40 lbs. You can find herding mixes in the shelters around here by the handfuls. Also plenty of purebreds because herding breeds tend to be high energy and extremely smart and are not happy as apartment couch dogs and it leads to naughty behavior so folks get rid of them.

IMO the male/female thing doesn't make a difference really it's all about the individual personality. If you prefer female dogs then by all means get one! Between me and my SO we have four dogs: lab mix, 2 heeler mixes and one purebred heeler. 2 males and 2 females all spayed/neutered which I think is VERY VERY important with any trail dog that you have. We go riding with our pack and it's awesome.
 

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I'd agree with all who've mentioned the age being critical to joint health. Hiking is fine, and perhaps some smaller light riding, maybe rail trail stuff? That pounding of a long run full tilt, will not be good for their health overall.

It's far better for them to be active though, than not. Just like with humans, the mild trauma of impact over time, causes bones and joints to get denser and stronger. If you don't do anything till they're grown, then all of a sudden start, since they are "old enough" you'll end up with bigger issues. Time to start the firming up process.

And yeah, if they end up being one of those huge, beefy, block headed labs, be easy on him. The high speed down hills tear them up due to all that mass pounding on them. If they end up being a lighter build, not so big a deal. Of course, running them helps keep them lithe, so it's a balancing act, good luck.

And trhoppe? Gorgeous dog. I'll take the opportunity to toss one of my guys up:D

Jack, on the right, is my speed demon, top sustained speed, easily in the mid 20's, and happy to do it. Hudson, being a beefier fella, he's more of a galumpher, far happier at a brisk trot than an all out run. One awesome trail pal, one who'd get left in the dust.....
 

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WickedGood said:
OK this is coming from a trail-dog owner and ex-vet Tech (did it for 5 years)
The breeds you listed... Labs, goldens and pitts are some of the worst breeds for trail riding. I'm sure people on this board have stories about the awesome pit or the great labs they had, but they are the exceptions. Those breeds too large and muscular --not designed for endurance. And labs and goldens are notorious for having hip problems. With that being said I have a small (55 lb) lab/dalmation mix who will be 11 this year and still runs up to 15 miles a ride (thanks to the dalmation not the lab).
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Just wanted to clarify this a little. There are about 10 different breeds which are all commonly referred to as "Pit Bulls." The smaller breeds, such as Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers are great runners. The larger ones, such as Staffordshire Terriers, Presa Canarios, and American Bull Dogs are in general too big to run distance at MTB speeds. However, the dogs were bred to be trained for high output cardio activities (fighting is intense). Fighting dogs are trained pretty hard on treadmills. These dogs are athletes plain and simple, and any Pit under 60ish lbs can run with the best of them. My dog has done 30 mile days and looked better than some of the people at the end. For day to day exercize I have a harness and let her pull me around town. I don't peddle, she just pulls. We start off at around 22 mph but after a couple miles she's usually settled into about 15-17 mph. Its fun to pass people on the road riding slower than my dog is pulling me.

That all being said. I love tattoos, but I would never recommend someone get one, you just have to want to. Similarly, I love the bully breeds, but I would never recommend them to a person. There are a lot of them and thus a lot of variation from dog to dog. You do have to be prepared for the fact that you might end up with a dog who is naturally dog aggressive, no matter how much you socialize it. Human aggression is generally learned from dumbass owners who think they need to hit their dog to prove dominance, but dog aggression can be par for the course.
 

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I love it when I'm blasting down a single track & come around a corner only to find a dog in the middle of the trail. Owner pulls on leash, (if I'm lucky & dog IS on leash),dog's confused, I get to come to stop. Maybe you folks go to hiking trails only, or live in very remote areas, sucks here in so cal...
 

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kneecap said:
I love it when I'm blasting down a single track & come around a corner only to find a dog in the middle of the trail. Owner pulls on leash, (if I'm lucky & dog IS on leash),dog's confused, I get to come to stop. Maybe you folks go to hiking trails only, or live in very remote areas, sucks here in so cal...
I love it when people whine and complain about every damn thing. And I also love people who have no tolerance for anything other than themselves. Jeez!
 

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kneecap said:
I love it when I'm blasting down a single track & come around a corner only to find a dog in the middle of the trail. Owner pulls on leash, (if I'm lucky & dog IS on leash),dog's confused, I get to come to stop. Maybe you folks go to hiking trails only, or live in very remote areas, sucks here in so cal...
Perhaps you're familiar with this rule of multi use paths? It's you who should be riding with care, not the hiker.

We are in complete agreement on dogs off leash though, very bad, for all parties involved.
 

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We have a couple of "mountain biker" trail systems that are for "us" where hikers have to stop for us. Everyone there walking their dogs has been great and I've never had a problem.

As I said above, I take my dog there to ride with only at night, as there are 10 people for 15 miles of trails so I have no problems. I don't go there with her in the day as there are 50 people for 15 miles of trails :) When I went to the Pinhoti, I rode for 4 hours and didn't see another soul. That was the perfect time to let the dog go nuts.

-Tom
 
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