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Sheila's First "Bike Walk"

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Sheila and I went on our first "bike walk" today. I rode, she trotted and ran. She was pretty hesistant of the bike if it wasn't moving, but once we got going she seemed to totally forget it was there.


At one point she caught sight of some quail and off we went with her pulling me and the bike. It was nice to see her happy and working. I made sure to notice if she was pulling away from the bike since that would tell me she didn't like the bike, but her path was straight.


When she wasn't pulling, she leash was slack and we kept a pretty good pace. I took a look at the WalkyDog contraption and realized that even though it's cheap ($40 + s/h), I could do the same thing with a regular leash. So I tied the leash to the post of my bike seat and off we went. I kept the leash about 3 ft long so Sheila wouldn't feel too close to the bike her first time out. This all worked out really well. I was able to pedal just fine and, as I said, Sheila loved it. I was laughing the entire time because I could just feel the happy energy radiating from her. She was a dog on a mission.


The three miles we usually walk in the morning (which takes about 50 minutes) took us all of 30 minutes today. She's exhausted.


So here's a question: It's a lot easier for me to ride than to walk, especially if Sheila is pulling me part of the way :rolleyes: . Plus it takes us about half the time to cover the same distance. So would it be ok for me to lengthen the "walks" to maybe 5-6 miles? Is there a limit as to how long a "walk" I can/should be doing? My gut tells me that I should probably spend about a week or two doing the 3 miles "walks" to get her use to the bike and the faster pace, and then slowly increase the length over a few weeks to eventually end up at 5-6 miles (or maybe even more).


One word of caution. When doing this, I need to be very very diligent about keeping an eye on Sheila and making sure not to go too fast. A couple of times she caught the scent of something and stopped on a dime. This gave her quite a jolt when me and bike were suddendly stopped because she stopped. Ouch. So I rode with my hand on the brake and made sure to not go too fast just in case a quick stop took place.


All in all it was a good experience for us both.



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How old is she? We've done up to 14 miles in a day with Jacko, with stops to rest and do water and whatnot. He adores it. We definitely worked up to it though, until both rider and dog were comfortable. Now he does great - very little pulling, and if it looks like we're going on a ride without him he gets all bent out of shape. Be careful, pretty soon you won't be able to say the words "bike ride" without her getting all excited - Jacko bunny hops around the house!


We used to use a leash too, but I've found that I like the walky dog better. To be honest, I think we ALL like the walky dog better, H, Jacko and me. For me, it just feels safer and I like that it's hard so J can't get too close to the bike. Although he can get close enough to untie my shoe . But if you're comfortable with the leash, go for it! I've seen a lot of people around here who do it that way, and as I said, we used to.


Aren't bike rides fun?!

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She's a year and a half. My guess is that she could go quite a bit further than 3-4 miles a day.


14 miles, eh? That'd do us both a lot of good!


Thanks for the info on the walkydog. We'll see how she does with the leash. One day isn't enough data to make an adequate evaluation.


Yes, bike rides are totally awesome!



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Age matters one walks. So make sure she is 1 1/2 or 2 years old before doing long walks. Also consider the surface (sidewalks, roads, grass?) walking and trotting on roads isn't too bad but galloping for a longer time can start to take effect on joints. so you need to keep a close eye on that too.


No matter what SHE wants, you would have to make a stop for water/brake every now and then. These dogs can easily run themselves till the drop.


With proper training (not just suddenly doing 100 miles or anything like that) these dogs (and most others) can easily do 5-6 trotting. A lot of dogs do more than that. But you really have to watch the dog. Keep it fun - if that "radiating happy energy" starts to fade stop for a bit. As long as you keep in tune with your dog, you will know what is best for her.


Also, if you are going to be doing longer walks like that, consider doing lots of stretching and warm up (for the dog). As it is getting colder outside now it will really help her. And don't forget to cool her down slowly when you get home. About 1/2 from home you can start to slow down. Getting slower and slower until she is just walking by the time you reach your house.


glad you (and she) had fun doing it!

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Thanks for the info, Kat.


We've got only dirt roads out here, which I would guess is almost ideal.


Yes, there's about 1/2 mile of soft dirt at the end of our walk that's too hazardous to ride, so we walked that part. This seems to be a good "cool down" period.


Sheila is now snoring on the bed. Too cute....



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Ditto Kat. Now that I have more time...


We started off with just rides around the neighborhood, getting us all used to riding with the dog. We also worked on the commands right, left, slow down, this way, keep close, those sorts of things. We also work on sitting when the bike stops.


J will not drink in the middle of a long ride. He refuses. Our trainer and vet both think he doesn't want the water sloshing around in his tummy. So if it's hot, we stop to rest, make him sit or lie down usually, and we splash water on his belly. Don't put it on their head or back, it can actually make them hotter and/or cause sunburn (per our vet and trainer).


The 14 mile rides are generally round trip, with a long stop at a destination in between. We always take water and a bowl with us to give to him when we arrive at our destination.


Definitely keep a good eye on her. When we see J's tongue start to hang out and see his energy level drop, we slow down to a walk. Basically, we let him set the pace - he's really good about slowing down when he's tired though, and I know not all dogs are like that.


Also keep an eye for potty stops. A couple of times he's needed to stop, and with the walky dog he can't stop unless I do - oops! Running poops are not fun, Mom!


We used the leash for about a month before we switched to the walky dog, and there've been a couple of times when I've had to revert to the leash. It's not bad, but I much prefer the WalkyDog. However, we used the leash in our hands, not around the seatpost, so that is definitely a big difference. like I said, if you're comfortable with the leash, then just keep on keepin' on!


Speaking of which, J is giving me that look that says it's time to go running...who's running things around here anyway?

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My dogs, ages 3 and almost 2, run with me every day. My runs vary from 3-6 miles. In addition to running each morning, we also walk another 2 miles at lunch and another 2 at dinnertime. On weekends we may do more, if we go hiking or running out in the woods.


To me, this exercise is not about the dogs. It's about me enjoying being outside. There is a difference. I got border collies because I wanted dogs that could keep up with my activities. So far Tess and Kipp do great.


I also throw the ball or frisbee or kick the soccer ball after 2 of the outings and I do training individually with the dogs after one of them. After training with Kipp, he gets his game of "Gonna get the PUP!!" where I chase and he runs. He only runs as fast as I do (he loves this), and we use it to practice his recall. For Tess, I run and she chases ME.


We did not start out doing this much at once, of course. I am a marathon runner and I know the value of starting slowly and carefully with training.


Maybe I need a bike. Hmm.


Allie + Tess & Kipp


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Since I work from home, I chop my day up into 8 hour "bins". 8 hours of work, approx 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of "free time".


It's during the free time that I can do a number of things. Usually about half of that time is spent doing housework and other chores/projects. That leaves 3-5 hours a day to do pretty much anything I want. So taking 1-2 hours a day for Sheila is pretty easy. But even that amount of time needs a pretty high level of dedication, otherwise other "free time" projects can take over.



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Where do we find time? Generally J gets play time in the morning before work, then a run after work and a run before bed. If we decide to go someplace, a lot of times he goes with us. For instance, if H and I are making a bike ride to the store, J goes too and one of us stays outside with the bikes and J while the other runs inside to get what we need.


For us, it's more about fitting J into our lifestyle. The bike rides are not always just about him needing exercise. It's about us needing exercise and transportation. It just works well that he loves to run and enjoys going on bike rides with us!


Oh, and all the long runs (14 miles) are on our days off when we decide to go downtown or across town for something.

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