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Hike or bike?

Not every dog is good for biking, consider hiking instead!

Get some great exercise with your dog outdoors. A long hike or a bike ride? Which one is the best choice for you and your dog. All dogs love to walk and follow you every where you go. Spending time with you outdoors is on of the most important things for your dog. Outdoor activities will bond you with your dog and keep you healthy. Sun, rain or snow. Let’s go!

Hiking with dogs. All kind of dogs love to walk and hike through the hills and explore new places. It’s a very good way for athletic dogs to drain energy. Very active dogs love to have a special task during hiking, like carrying a backpack, a stick or a ball. Some areas allow off-leash walking, which I personally prefer. This keeps my dogs always in alert mode not to loose me and to follow me the whole time. Older dogs or dogs with health problems will have some problems to keep up the pace with you, try to find a moderate hiking route not to overexert your dog. Keep it simple at the beginning, train the muscles 2 -3 weeks before hiking for 3 hours. Healthy, medium to big sized dogs can walk and hike easily 1-2 hours or 4 miles. It depends on, how trained your dog is. Watch your dog during the walk/hike, ears back, tail relaxed and head low is the perfect sign of a relaxed and following dog. His facial expression will show you, if he/she is happy or not. If the distance between your dog and you is getting bigger and your dog has a hard time to follow you, turn back to your car or place or rest for a while. Always keep a bottle of water with you (specially in summer).

My dogs are used to walk long and hike in the afternoon. We start our extended hikes around 2 in winter and around 1 in the summer.  Samson is old and has a different energy level than agile young Lilly. I always try to hike in a slow pace but not shorter than an hour with both of them. I have a hiking stick with me, which I can sometimes use to correct Lilly, when she tries to pass me:) I’m not beating her, just crossing her way. Sometimes I walk Lilly at home again for 30 min. around the neighborhood to make sure she is happy and her exercise needs are fully satisfied. After that, I reward my dogs with food and we have very relaxed and calm dogs at home for the rest of the day.

Biking with dogs. This is a little more complex than hiking and requires more attention to the details. Some dogs love to run next to a bike or to pull a bike. Very high level dogs love to run and get rid of the energy. This is the perfect possibility to keep the same pace of your dog and it doesn’t overpower the human. You should be very comfortable riding a bike and you should be always in control of the bike and the dog. I saw some people letting their dogs run next to the bike with just a leash in their hand. That’s Ok, when you are super experienced on the bike and your dog is comfortable to run next to a thing with two big wheels. Some dogs never made the experience before and should be slowly introduced to the vehicle by the human. If your dog is scared of the bike and runs backwards or sidewards, you should stop and let your dog smell and experience the bike. Try to walk your dog with the bike couple times before on your daily walks. take the bike with you and show your dog it’s OK and the bike will not harm him/her. Start with short distances and add a little more every time till you can ride your bike with your dog next to you easily and confident. It’s possible to order special bike equipments for bikes, where you can fix the leash and it doesn’t get stuck in the wheels. I like it a lot, it’s safer and makes sure your dog didn’t get hurt. Always carry a bottle of water with you and watch the body language of your dog!

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