A Healthy Dog Can Run Longer than a Human Can Ride

Question:

I was wondering what’s your take on biking with a dog. I’ve got an Aussie that I’ve been biking with a mile or so in the morning and she seems to be doing fine. She has a good sprint the first couple of blocks then an easy pace and a few stops and smell the poops along the way. I use a 6-foot lead with a Halti.

 

Dr. Nichol:

Exercise is important for both of you, but for different reasons. Sedentary people get fat, lazy, cranky, and die too young. Canine couch potatoes are fat, lazy, bored, and neurotic. An inactive dog is more prone to anxiety driven behaviors like barking and destructiveness. So if you two ever stop biking, your Australian Shepherd will be yapping and ripping a hole in your sofa while you’re having a heart attack watching Millionaire-which you won’t be.

 

Dogs really love to run. When you two take off on your rides, your Aussie races ahead because she loves it. Once she burns off some of that energy she relaxes. She can jog at that pace longer than you can pedal. Don’t worry about her; she’s in heaven.

 

Leashing your fine companion keeps her safe and avoids giving runners and other bikers a case of the heebie jeebies. (I’m a runner and a biker. My dog, Peter Rabbit, and I occasionally meet an unleashed aggressive dog. They’re not fun.) A Halti head halter is excellent because it leads a dog by the head rather than pulling her by the neck like a collar. For it to be safe, a dog must become accustomed to it on walks first.

 

You and your lovely girl are setting a good example. Lead a balanced life and don’t forget to stop and smell the poops along the way.