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The Easy Way to Bike with Your German Shepherd Dogs

In Health, Training and Behavior by German Shepherd Dogs Lifestyle2 Comments

Biking with your German Shepherd Dogs is a great way to get out of the house, get into nature and get some exercise.

And we all know how much our German Shepherd Dogs need lots of good long low impact exercise. Before you slip on their harness and get out into the open air, there are some essentials to make sure you’re ready.

Biking, on-road or off-road can be one of the better ways to exercise your German Shepherd Dogs. And you stand to shed a few pounds at the same time. And who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds?

Your German Shepherd Dog’s Pre Biking Routine

It’s a must do to have your veterinarian check your dog before starting a new exercise routine. Please go and do this if you haven’t yet. It’s cost-effective, it’s right for your dog plus prevention is the mother of all cures.

Before you go anywhere find a safe route. Make sure you plan out your trip before taking your German Shepherd Dogs biking. Look for hazards, look for heavy traffic and people.

As part of the pre-bike routine, build up stamina by getting your German Shepherd dogs comfortable with the bike. In your house or apartment, wheel the bike near your dog; just be relaxed, and don’t worry about an outcome. This is all about familiarity.

Put on your dog’s leash, and walk the bike. Try not to make any sudden jolts or turns that will startle or make your dog anxious.

Praise your German Shepherd dogs constantly for the simple and easy things. Positive praise goes a long way, and this breed of dog thrives on positive feedback.

Please remember the golden rule: start slowly, and build up.

Practice Runs

Just like practice works for the athlete in achieving success, so does biking with your German Shepherd dogs. Try doing practice “runs.” Begin using the commands you will be using for biking.

Practice your commands for slowing down, making turns, stopping, and refocusing your dog’s attention.

Choose command words that are specific to you and your dog to avoid confusion with other dog owners’ commands. Over time, your dog will become accustomed to your commands and be able to anticipate your actions.

If your dog has never been around your bike before, start off by walking the bike along with the dog.

The purpose is just to get your dog acquainted with being attached to the bike. If possible, try to use soft, grassy, or dirt paths.

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Build up your German Shepherd slowly

Don’t expect your dog to be able to run for long distances in the beginning. They need time and practice to run next to you as you bike up hills or zip down the mountain trail.

Start off by riding at a walking speed on an easy path for a short distance. As your dog gets used to this over a week or two, build up to a trotting speed.

Watch your dog at all times and stop if she appears to be

  • Tired.
  • Panting heavily.
  • Drooling excessively.
  • Losing coordination.
  • If she seems to be slowing down, stop and allow her to rest and have a drink.
Always Bring Water

Do not feed the dog a few hours before and after the run to reduce the risk of the stomach turning. Bring water and perhaps a few small treats for extended breaks.

Don’t take your German Shepherd puppy on the bike too soon. Your puppy is developing, and that means you’re growing with your fur baby. So gauge it. Take it slow. Make a game of just getting used to the bike. Then make a game of getting used the leash and your commands.

By the time your little ankle biter is familiar with your bike, you’ll be ready for fun and excitement.

Remember never to force your dog.

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On road v’s off-road biking with your German Shepherd Dogs

You’ll need to use your judgment over the terrain which you live in. Be careful of sharp rocks and of course never take your German Shepherd Dogs when it’s too hot. The ground can burn their pads.

If you take precautions outlined in this article. Buy the right equipment you need and take the time you train your German Shepherd Dog, biking together will be fun one of the highlights of your day.

Do not hang the lead on the handlebars

Even if your dog pulls a little, it could cause you to lose balance and fall. Here are some leash tips to keep in mind;

  • Keep the lead in your hand so that you can tug back in response to your dog’s change in direction.
  • Keep the lead close to your seat, any changes in your dog’s movement are less likely to affect you.
  • Attach the lead to the post just beneath your seat.
  • Keep the lead as short as possible so that the dog cannot run in front of the bike.
How to stop when biking with your German Shepherd

If you do need to stop, do not walk away from your bike with the dog still attached to it.

If your bike falls on your dog, they could get hurt, panic, or try to run.

This could make your dog not want to be around bikes. If you are using a special baton and lead that attaches to your dog’s collar, make sure to have an extra lead with you for when you have to remove her from the bike.

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3 Reasons why your German Shepherd can’t keep up with your bike

Here are three main reasons why your German Shepherd can’t keep up with your bike.

  1. Is your German Shepherd too young? Strenuous exercise on a puppy while still in development can affect the growth of the long bones.
  2. Certain breeds of German Shepherd are better suited for biking and more strenuous activity.
  3. How is your German Shepherd Dogs weight? Weight plays a large role in the healthy functionality of your dog. If your dog is overweight, it’ll struggle to keep up.
How much is too much biking with your German Shepherd dogs?

There’s a pretty common-sense approach to figuring his out, and it’s critical you’re in sync with your German Shepherd. Don’t push your dog. Most likely, your dog is a companion and loved family member and not a working dog or police dog. 

Learn from your dog. Watch your dog. If your dog is pushed too far, you’ll have to get back to the car or worse, carry your German Shepherd home. I hope you work out because that would be a backbreaker.

Based on research, there seems to be an average mileage of one to five miles for a German Shepherd. Five miles is on the high end, for working dogs, so make sure your dog is conditioned and ready for this kind of mileage with the bike.

Build your dog’s stamina levels gradually and slowly

If you have an older dog, consider taking a slow pace and lots of breaks. Don’t push your dogs. Just keep them fit.

Essential Gear You Need to Bike with Your German Shepherd Dogs

Once your dog has been cleared for exercise, you can buy the necessary gear you need to get out into nature and get some great excise.

Essentials include a non-tangling lead;

  • A body harness (attaching the lead to only a neck collar could be dangerous; attach the lead to a fitted body harness instead);
  • A brightly colored reflective vest for your dog (you may also apply reflective tape to your dog’s vest);
  • Blinking lights for your dog and bike (you can get a collar that has lights embedded in it, or use an attachable tag sized light);
  • A small first aid kit for little nicks that can occur; an extra lead for detaching your dog from the bike to do other things;
  • Water bottles for you and your dog.

Extras that can make the ride more enjoyable;

  • Dog booties — hiking grade to protect your dog’s feet from jagged objects and slippery or hot (or cold) concrete;
  • A bike lead “baton” that can be attached to the body of the bike to hold the lead.
  • Reflective rain gear or cold weather cover-ups for bad weather;
  • A dog backpack so your dog can carry a water bottle and treats.
Stay with your German Shepherd for 30 minutes after biking

Don’t leave your German Shepherd alone immediately after biking or exercise. The dog may seem physically tired, but due to adrenaline in the blood, it is still alert and can redirect that energy into chewing your favorite shoes.

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Biking with two German Shepherd Dogs

If you are biking with more than one dog, it might be best to have the dogs separated, one on each side of the bike. This way, they don’t get in each other’s way or get their leads tangled.

Trainers and Carriers

Another option, which is great for multiple dogs or larger dogs, is a bike trailer/carrier. The best are the ones designed specifically for carrying dogs.

These have built-in harness systems to prevent your dog from jumping out. A cover for sheltering your dog during hot or bad weather encloses your dog. This leaves the top open for your dog to enjoy the ride.

One of the great pleasures of owning a German Shepherd is biking along the landscape with the wind in your hair. If you do the basics, take it step by step, and listen to your dog, you’ll be exercising a dog that needs lots of it, and you’ll get to shave off some extra pounds. Who said you couldn’t do two things at once? Enjoying biking with your German Shepherd has everything to do with training and patience. But before you know it, you’ll both be biking your way to health and happiness.

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Comments

  1. Hi, I recently took my German Shepard Mtb with me with covered 17 miles which towards the end he started to get tired…
    Is this too much for him, he seemed to really enjoy it and was very enthusiastic. Am I doing him damage, bones hip etc ?

    1. Author

      Hi Michael,

      Firstly thank you for your question.

      Secondly, I hope you get value and information to make your life with a German Shepherd Dog as amazing as possible.

      As far as wearing out bones and hips, well, 17 miles does seem a lot. I must say, although there’s no hard and fast rule it feels long. Did you:

      1. Rest often.
      2. Give your German Shepherd Dog water.
      3. Are you using a harness? Are you using the right equipment?
      4. Is your German Shepherd Dog overweight?

      Check out this article to see if your German Shepherd Dog is overweight.

      https://germanshepherddogslifestyle.com/how-to-know-if-your-german-shepherds-are-overweight

      How did your dog feel after the biking?

      When it comes to German Shepherd Dogs and their hip problems, it’s a degenerative condition caused by the abnormal growth of cells, tissue, or bone.

      Check out this article for some further information on dysplasia.

      https://germanshepherddogslifestyle.com/the-basics-of-german-shepherd-dog-elbow-dysplasia

      Let me know how your Sheperd is doing and if I can help in any other ways.

      Thank you, Michael.

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