Cycling with your dog: All tips & info
The great weather not only invites you to go for long walks and play activities in the garden at home, as a passionate cyclist you may also be looking forward to varied cycling tours through nature together with your four-legged friend.
It is important to know, however, that some dog breeds should not generally cover long distances at walking pace. These include mainly small breeds such as the Chihuahua or Maltese, as well as heavy breeds such as the English Bulldog. Running dogs and active breeds such as greyhounds, huskies and Malinois, on the other hand, love to trot and run.
We explain how you can cycle safely together through the greenery and what you should keep in mind.
Cycling with a dog: The possibilities
You have many options for taking your four-legged friend on extensive cycling tours. Does he accompany you on the bike bar, is he allowed to observe nature from a dog basket on the luggage rack or handlebars, or does he traverse the roads and country lanes with his dog trailer? Which means of transport is best suited for your dog on the bike depends on the following factors, for example:
- Size and weight of your dog
- Age of your dog
- Health condition
- Weather conditions
- Obedience as well as play and hunting instincts.
Important: It is forbidden by law to lead your dog on a bicycle with a leash. If your dog does not accompany you on a specially provided bicycle carrier, you may be fined up to 700 euros. It is therefore important that you find a solution that is safe in road traffic and suitable for you.
Bicycle pole: Training for active dogs
Cycling is fun and trains your dog's condition and muscles. If you also want to keep your four-legged friend's cardiovascular system fit, you might choose a bicycle pole. The bicycle pole is attached to your bike and serves as a spacer to your dog. At the end of the metal bar there is a stable spring, to which a leash holder is attached, into which you hook the leash. The leash is in turn connected to the dog harness. The spring serves to ensure that a possible jerk of your dog is not directly transferred to you and the bicycle.
Your dog is allowed to run on a bicycle when it is
- ● fully grown and over 12 months old
- ● no joint diseases and
- ● has no cardiovascular problems.
Our tip: If possible, have your pet checked by your vet before the first long bike ride.
Dog bike basket: Adventure trip for small breeds
Bicycle baskets and dog bags are a welcome change for small breeds like the French Bulldog and the Jack Russell Terrier, who can only walk short distances on a bicycle. For old or sick dogs, bicycle baskets are essential as a means of transport so that they can enjoy bike rides and do not overstrain their joints. At the same time, they observe their environment from the handlebars or the luggage rack:
● Dog bike bag on the handlebars
Bags and baskets on the front of the handlebars are particularly popular with those who want to keep an eye on their four-legged friends while cycling. They are suitable for dogs weighing up to a maximum of 12 kg that can be relied on to sit still. This is because consistent wriggling and turning can affect the handlebars and possibly provoke a fall.
● Dog bike basket on the luggage rack
For those who feel more comfortable leaving the handlebars free, a dog basket on the luggage rack is a good idea. This way, the dog can travel along on the bike temporarily or permanently, watch the passing nature and greet approaching road users. Bicycle baskets are usually permitted for dogs weighing up to 20 kg. Here too, movements in the basket can possibly influence your balance - if in doubt, it is worth testing to find out which transport variant suits you better.
Bicycle trailer for dogs: Cycling tour with large dog breeds
Medium-sized and large dogs with a height of over 40 cm and a weight of over 20 kg can comfortably accompany bicycle tours in the trailer. From here, your pelt-nose can enjoy a full all-round view. When choosing a suitable dog trailer, focus on the size and weight of the trailer. Your pet should be able to sit upright without touching the roof of the trailer. This prevents your dog from hitting his head on uneven ground (e.g. small potholes or roots).
Costs for bicycle basket and co.
Whether you decide on a bicycle pole, a dog basket, a dog bag or a sporty bicycle trailer: Don't save money at the wrong end! When making your choice, pay particular attention to the information on the respective quality standards and the corresponding TÜV tests. The costs for the best solution vary between approx. 30 and 250 euros: a wicker basket for the handlebars is one of the cheapest transport options, while a dog trailer is more expensive.
Getting used to the means of transport
Before your first bicycle tour, you should get your pet used to the new means of transport. However, this can be done in two simple steps:
1. Get to know it:
place the bicycle basket, the bicycle bag or the trailer in your home and let your dog sniff and sniff in peace. If he sits or lies down in it, praise your dog extensively or reward him with a treat. He may prefer his usual dog bed and not get the idea to make himself comfortable in the carrier on his own. In this case, you can lure him with a treat. To do this, simply lay a trail all the way into the basket or trailer.
2. Getting used to it:
If the "dry run" has worked, mount the bike basket/bag on the handlebars or luggage rack or attach the trailer to the bike. Now let your dog get on and push the bike a few metres. If your dog is calm and relaxed, get on and ride slowly and carefully for a short distance, gradually increasing the distance.
Walking on the bike: Instructions in 5 steps
If you want your dog to run alongside you while cycling, this also requires some practice. First get your dog used to the bike and give him the opportunity to find his own pace alongside you. We will explain how to do this in 5 simple steps:
The most important thing before your first bike ride is that you can call your four-legged friend at any time and that he follows you unconditionally, because according to the German Road Traffic Act (StVO), he may only accompany you on the bike if you can exert sufficient influence on him to avoid falls and accidents with other road users.
The right equipment is important for relaxed cycling tours and the well-being of your dog. Ideally, this consists of a TÜV-approved bicycle pole with shock-absorbing suspension and steel leash, adapted to the size and weight of your dog, a padded and ideally reflective harness (Y-harnesses that can be leashed in the back and chest area are particularly suitable) and optionally a paw protector for long distances on uneven ground in forest areas and on stony hiking trails.
3. Getting to know the bike:
First of all, your dog needs to get to know the bike. Ask someone to accompany you on your next walk with the bike. Ideally, they should push the bike and let your dog sniff it from time to time. When your dog is relaxed, ask your helper to get on the bike and ride alongside you.
4. Get used to it:
now you take the bike yourself and push it along on the next walk while your dog walks along on the leash or freely. If he stays calm, you mount the bicycle pole and let him walk on it. Finally, get on the bike and ride a few metres, preferably on a quiet training route without distractions.
The time has come: your furry friend accompanies you on the bike handlebar. Start with a short distance and a slow, easily controlled pace. You can gradually increase the distance and adjust the speed so that your dog accompanies you consistently at a relaxed trot.
Our tip: We recommend that you always take a dog trailer or dog basket with you on long journeys in case your four-legged friend injures himself on the way or needs to rest in particularly high temperatures. Give your dog enough breaks and offer him drinking water regularly. For example, a special outdoor drinking bottle with a sikicon bowl is suitable.
Conclusion: Whether large or small, young or old - your dog can accompany you on long bike rides in different ways. With a little training and sufficient habituation, nothing will stand in the way of your joint excursions into the countryside.