Biking & urban mushing
Before biking or urban mushing or any other repetitive exercise with your dog take the following into consideration. Urban Mushing is a fun dog-powered activity many dogs enjoy. Urban Mushing gives dogs a controlled exercise through various “mushing” type of of activities like scootering, carting, bikejoring, on dry land.
- · Dog(s) Age
- · Dog(s) Health & Fitness
- · Bike Leash Attachment
- · Harness (Proper Running Harness - do not attach leash to collar)
- · Surface Dog Will Run On
- · Temperature
- · Humidity
- · Water (Hydration)
Puppies and young dogs should not do any repetitive high impact, endurance exercises like sustained running until their growth plates have closed. Growth plates generally close between 14-18 months of age. “The larger the breed the later the growth plates close.” “dogs that are spayed or neutered prior to puberty experience delayed closure.” Overuse and focused stress can damage growth plates resulting in prematurely closing of the growth plate causing a malformation of the leg.
Dog(s) Health & Fitness
Many dogs are unprepared for intense endurance exercise for even short duration's making them susceptible to injuries. Injuries can go unrecognized for long periods of time. Very important you consider your dog’s fitness and weight prior to exercise. Always start with a vet check to make sure your dog is healthy AND physically capable to participate in the exercise which should include an evaluation your dog’s structure and gait for any weaknesses. Many dogs are willing to do anything we ask and often have a strong desire to participate, but we should be careful we are asking them to do more then their body can comfortably do. Be careful that you are breaking your dog's body down which will result in crippling arthritis as they age. "Your Athletic Dog" is an excellent book/DVD to understand how to condition your dog. The dog’s structure will affect their endurance and susceptibilities to injury. There are more than 25 structural issues that will affect endurance or performance. For guidance on identifying structural issues, Pat Hastings book is a great resource. Structure in Action: The Makings of a Durable Dog To reduce chance of injuries your dog will need recovery time.
Dogs that have a fulfilling life full of experiences to maintain their mental, physical, and emotional health are less likely to develop the inappropriate behaviors that are the result of boredom, stress, and frustration. Dogs commonly display behaviors out of stress, anxiety, and frustration such as, barking, jumping, spinning, chewing, among others. Boredom and loneliness are sources of excessive stress for both dogs and cats. Long-term stress reduces the immune system's ability to fight disease so it is important that stressors are reduced for our animals. Enriching Your Dog's Life
Bike Leash Attachment
There are several bike leash attachments available and I have listed my two choices below.
Springer Dog Exerciser
The device has a heavy-duty steel spring, situated low on the arm to absorb up to 90% of the force of a dog¹s unexpected tugs. If your dog runs around a sign post, tree, or fire hydrant or other obstacle the Springer is designed with a safety release to breakaway. (This will result in your dog being untethered)
Bike Tow Leash
The Bike Tow Leash housing encloses an extra strong bungee cord which attaches to your dog.
Urban Trail Harness - Alpine Outfitters
I recommend the custom crafted adjustable Urban Trial harness with the optional left and right side D-Rings for use when biking. Fully padded with premium quality Polartec Polar Fleece and is extremely lightweight, durable, and is machine washable. The Urban Trail Half Harness is perfect for use in a variety of dog activities in addition to biking. Pulling pressure is on dog's chest, not neck and shoulder.
Distance Harness - Howling Dog Alaska
The Distance Harness is fully padded and comfortable for the dog to wear. The slick padding material will allow for the harness to rotate freely around the dog’s body.
Best to ride on dirt or grass surfaces since these are less harsh then pavement or concrete on your dog.
You may want to consider using Mushers Secret to help protect your dogs paws.
Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs, it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions from iceballing and salt and chemicals to hot pavement and sand and sandburn. Safe and natural. Made from a blend of several food grade waxes, then refined according to special formulations, Mushers Secret is the safe, non-toxic way to protect your dogs paws.
Dogs cool by panting. When air temperatures are near body temperature (101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher dogs cannot cool themselves efficiently. The ground temperature can be more than 50 degrees hotter than the air temperature. Burns can result at 118 degrees. Exercise during the morning and evening hours when it’s cooler and avoid concrete and especially blacktop or pavement.
High humidity also impairs a dog cooling ability which can also contribute to heat stroke.
Take water and keep your dog hydrated.
Dehydration / Overheating (Get Medical Help)
- Heavy panting
- Tongue and mucous membranes bright red
- Saliva is thick and tenacious
- Dry mount
- Sticky gums
Signs of shock (emergency)
- Lips and gums pale or gray