Tips for Your Dog's Exercise – Hiking and Cycling Guides

Most dogs love being outdoors and being active. Perhaps this urge to go out stems back to their ancestry of the wild grey wolf, and over 15,000 years of evolution has not been able to get rid of that characteristic.

Since then, the dog has been domesticated and developed into many highly varied breeds with some human help. Depending on which breed of dog you have, you will have to vary the activity levels and activity types, but hiking is sure to be suitable for many different dog breeds.

Why do dogs need so much exercise?

Dogs need stimulation and activity to keep healthy and reduce boredom. When humans and dogs interact through exercise and play, they learn more about each other, and in particular, this could help improve dog behavior and social skills with many different types of dogs and humans. The bond between dogs and their owners gets stronger the more time they spend together – and isn't it great to get the exercise at the same time?

Hiking with your dog

Not necessarily a very fast-paced activity, but it can be gratifying and good exercise nonetheless, for both you and your dog. Hiking can be quite longwinded, so do make sure your dog is healthy and fit enough to do the distances you plan to go. The good thing is that you and you alone decide how far you want to go, and in which conditions. The condition of your puppy's health and fitness should be something you think about when you're making plans for your hike.

It's essential to make sure there is enough water for you and your pet – there are many great products out there that practically help store and provide water for dogs on the go. Besides, allow your dog to take breaks when needed, in the shade if it's hot, and make sure you have the number to the nearest vet and a mobile phone to hand should your dog have an accident. Dogs can quickly overheat in hot weather, especially if they have limited access to water, so do factor this in before you set off on your hike.

Another thing you should beware of is letting your dog off the lead unless you are confident that you are not breaking any laws or that it will follow your command. It isn't easy to know how any dog will react in any given situation involving other humans or animals. Furthermore, not all humans enjoy being approached by dogs; indeed, many are scared of them. Always respect this and make sure your dog is behaving appropriately.

And remember, bring dog waste bags to pick up any excrement that your dog leaves behind. It's your responsibility to other hikers and the land you are hiking on. Enjoy your hike!

Cycling with your Dog

If you are an outdoors person at heart, there is nothing better than getting outside and enjoying your favorite activities with your four-legged, furry best friend. Dogs are faithful companion animals and enjoy participating in your favorite activities, anything really, as long as they can spend some quality time with you. If you are an avid cyclist, this is something you can enjoy with your dog, as long as you follow some simple steps to ensure your dog enjoys the ride as much as you do! Keep reading below for our tips on getting your dog acclimated with your passion for riding!

Evaluate Your Dog's Participation Level

While dogs enjoy spending time with their owners, as a responsible owner, it is your job to accurately evaluate if your dog can and how much your dog can participate with your love for cycling. The first and foremost fact to consider is if your dog can keep up a higher physical activity level.

Of course, you can always train your dog to keep up, but if you have a toy dog breed or one prone to overheating, it would be wise to invest in a bike trailer rather than having your dog trot alongside you riding the bike. Typically, it is recommended that dogs be older, about a year and a half, and at least 20 pounds to run alongside a bicycle.

For smaller dogs like a Pomeranian or chihuahua, biking is likely not a good activity, and you should stick to walking and hiking. But for large dogs like Mastiffs and German Shepherds, this should be fun and easy. If you live in a sweltering climate, be particularly careful with giant-sized dogs like the mastiff because they are prone to overheating.

Preparation Needs

Items you need to make your cycling outing a success are, of course, a bike, dog bike leash, and harness, and a bike trailer, plenty of water for both you and your dog, and a collapsible water dish for your dog. You may want to consider investing in a pair of cross-trainer boots for your dog to help protect his paws and, at a minimum, treat his feet before and after the ride to ensure proper paw health. You may also want to consider a dry fit or cooling vest for your dog in warmer weather and even warmer dog clothes for cooler temperatures.

Acclimating Your Dog to Cycling

As with any exercise, it is essential to teach your dog how to participate and start slow. Think baby steps. It would initially help if you got your dog on the leash, attach it to the bike, and get your pup used to walk alongside the bike. As your dog becomes comfortable walking alongside the bike going straight, you need to teach your dog how to turn with the bike. After your dog seems to grasp the concepts of walking, it is time to ride slowly and practice the same steps with your dog.

Once you start riding, make sure you are at an excellent speed to where your dog can keep up – never pull your dog. It may take a few outings to get your dog accustomed to this new activity before he is confident to run alongside you. Slowly build your dog's endurance to running at a distance; understand that if you want to go longer than a few miles, it is best to bring along a bike trailer so your dog can rest as needed.

Stay Alert to Your Dog's Needs

Make sure you watch your dog's cues for when he needs a break. It could be a potty break or a water break. Also, be aware of the ground your pup is running on – if you are off roads, your dog could experience cuts and puncture wounds if you are not careful. source

Even pavement could be problematic if it is too hot. Cross trainer booties can go a long way in helping your pup enjoy the sport more. Never push your dog past his limits. If he is tired, take a break or allow him to get into your bike trailer while you finish your outing.

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