Skip These Sports

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Excerpt from Healthy Dog: The Ultimate Fitness Guide for You and Your Dog

Not all activities are conducive to canines. Topping my list are skateboarding, in-line skating, and road biking, especially if your dog is tagging alongside tethered to the bike. All these activities require maneuvering in and out of traffic, where an unknown hazard may be waiting just around the corner. Even the best-behaved dog can get distracted by something on the route and suddenly dart or abruptly stop. One little mishap between the leash and tire or wheel and you both can go down in a terrible, maybe fatal, heap. Also, no dog can maintain a 15-mph pace, the average speed of a road bike.

One slight exception is mountain biking where the emphasis is not on speed, but on climbing up and down terrain. Some of my friends enjoy outings with their athletic, highly obedient dogs on wide paths in which they can pedal at a slow, comfortable pace. Their dogs are leashed and jog alongside the bikes.

As with any activity, your dog needs time to acclimate to speed and endurance, especially when jogging next to a bike. When you first start, walk your bike slowly, talking to your dog the whole time to let him know everything is fine. Praise him when he stays by your side and doesn’t yank on the leash or stop unexpectedly. Once your dog has demonstrated that he can keep pace next to you, get on your bike and pedal a short distance. Build up the distance slowly as you build up your dog’s endurance, confidence, and ability to stay on pace with you.

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