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I am often asked by people how can I start bikejoring my dog? I don’t run, I don’t want to run, I never will run….OK !
Normally I would say if your dog is completely new to a harness and pulling sports then try canicross first, teach them directions, teach them to pull in harness and to focus. A dog that knows the difference between Haw and Right makes for a safer dog to attach in front of a bike.
When you are out walking your dog, teach them directional commands, get out of the habit of using this way or hand commands, get them to listen to the command and take the turn. As soon as they do , lots of praise! Praise is important with any dog training, but what is more important is getting the timing right. When you see your dog almost thinking of the direction you have commanded , ears – head towards the direction , get your praise in then, not when they are round the corner. Praise is re assuring they are doing the right thing.
Work on focus and distraction training “On by”. This is a must when you are on the bike with ye trusty Rover attached at the front. If he/she wants to go and see Bambi in the woods, you have to pre train him to go by this and back to work, focus on the trail. Again practice on walks, like you would train a puppy to “leave it”, train your dog to ignore distractions and focus on his walk.
Start off easy, set up an easy distraction he is likely to ignore, teach him the “on by” command, then again gentle praise , “good job”. Slowly introduce bigger and harder distractions.
Test your brakes!!! Would you take a ferrari out for a drive with faulty breaks?? NO! Teach your dog , “Steady”, “Stand” , “Wait”. What ever command works for you again do this on walks, then build into bike training.
So if you are keen to start biking with your dog , not perhaps canicrossing, give some of these methods a try. A dog that knows some commands will make his and your bike experience a lot more pleasurable. We don’t want to over load a dog, bite size training goes in far better.