Bicycle Springer ~ Bicycle Dog Buddy!
DOGS LOVE TO RUN! OUR (yours, mine, any breed, any mix of breeds, DOGS!) DOGS LOVE TO RUN ALONG WITH US AS WE GO! The Bicycle Springer can make your dog running with you as your ride your Bicycle SAFE AND FUN!
Bicycle Springers is/are a wonderful attachment that attaches into the frame of your bicycle. It has a big spring, to attach your dog to so that you can get outdoors and work and or condition your dog as you ride your bicycle. The big spring gives a bit of flex so that each movement of the dog is not throwing the bicycle rider off balance.
I have owned Bicycle Springers for many years, probably since they first made them. Bicycle Springers are wonderful when used right with a trained dog. They could be a disaster for someone who does not know how to use them and hooks an untrained dog to it then takes off down the road.
Years ago, I used my Bicycle Springer to train my Sled Dogs. It is great to keep them in shape and keep the all important Sled Dog Commands fresh in the dog's minds.
Many Conformational Show Dog owners use Bicycle Springers to keep their Show Dogs in Top Shape for winning in the ring.
As I have said on other pages of this website, I wish I had the photos from yesteryear. They were all lost in Black Mold in our home in N WI. However, when my German Shepherd Dog (GSD)pups are a bit older, new photos will follow. I do use the Bicycle Springer a bit different. I put my dogs (one at a time) in a Multipurpose Dog Harness, hooking it to the Springer. I put a good leather leash on the dog's collar and hold that in my hand, the same hand I hold the handle bar, as I ride along. This will give the rider more control over their dog on the trail. The Harness also signals the dog(s) that it/they are working.
Springs offer a safer way to work your dogs, or condition your dogs while using a Bicycle.
WORKING DOGS ARE HAPPY DOGS
Dogs were bred to have jobs. Hunting, Herding, Guarding, some sort of job. When dogs do have a job, that is an active job or life style, they are happier. Most dogs that have a job or active life style do not chew up your house, or dig in your yard, or jump on your counters, bark all the time or at just anything or nothing, and generally cause you heartache and headaches.
A Dog Springer for your Bicycle is a great idea for you and your dog to get exercise as well as spend time together on the trail. It might just solve a lot of problems you are having with your dog in your home and yards. Problems like your dog chewing your items or barking too much.
When you and your dog are out with your Bicycle, Stop Often and enjoy the ride, let your dog have a good time. This is not about how far or how fast you went. It is about enjoying the ride. Make sure your dog gets to rest and has a drink of water while out on the trail.
THEY ARE COMMONLY AND AFFECTIONATELY CALLED 'BICYCLE BUDDIES'
Dogs that LOVE to run beside people as they ride their bicycles are called Bicycle Buddies. They are even written about in Bicycle Magazines and Bicycle Blogs and Websites have MANY Photos of such dogs.
The key is TRAINING and DOING IT RIGHT! If you did not know better it would be easy to hurt or mistreat your dog without knowing you were...UNTIL TOO LATE. Please take a moment and 'dog your research'. Please read our page on Training Your Dog to Run With You As You Ride Your Bicycle, as well as other written pages.
I say again, YOUR DOG LOVES YOU AND COUNTS ON YOUR FOR IT'S HEALTH AND SAFETY. PLEASE Do Not Let Your Dog Down.
Some Bicycle Buddies like to ride in a Basket or a Trailer, some like to stand or sit on the bicycle with their person....but they love to go! I have more information below about Baskets and or Bicycle Trailers too.
Some Bicycle Buddies are cats, or pet rats, or hamsters, or....
TRAINING YOUR DOG BEFORE HOOKING IT TO A BICYCLE SPRINGER
DOGS LOVE TO RUN AND TO WORK! DOGS LOVE TO GO WITH YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE AND THEY LOVE TO PLEASE! DOGS LOVE SPRINGERS BICYCLE ATTACHMENTS! But dogs also need to be trained before hooking them into a Springer. An untrained dog hooked to a bicycle can be a disaster!
Your dog will need to know Basic Obedience as well as a few commands, I recommend Sled Dog Commands, but any words/cues you would like to teach your dog will do. Your dog will need commands for STOP, turning both RIGHT and LEFT. You will need a command word for SLOWING DOWN, words or commands for ON BY, that is not stopping to sniff, nor to see what "that was", noticing other dogs on the trail and the like. Your dog will need commands for STANDING STILL, that is STAY. As well as a SIT command for when you are getting on and off your bike.
When working with your dog on the Basic Obedience Heeling, give the commands you are going to use on your bike, as you work the dog so that it learns the commands and what they mean. Later when hooked to the Springer, your dog should be able to be guided by these same commands as you ride safety along the trails.
Your dog needs to be socialized and not be distracted, to seeing other people out riding their bicycles in all directions, as well as other animals, domestic and wild, our on the trail. Your dog should learn to have their attention you on you and not distracted by what is going on around them, and CERTAINLY NOT to the point of chasing others!
Teach your dog to drink from the fountain/flow of a bike water bottle as you tip it and pour. I always carried two water bottles on my bike, one for me and one for my dog. That way if the dog did lick the nozzle, I had my own drink and did not need to drink from the one from which I had seen what my dogs had in their mouths before drinking.
You must keep your dog under control at all times. It is NOT ok for your dog to bark at or dive for other trail users while you are out with your dog (EVER).
Be kind to the stupid and or uninformed people that might think you are being cruel to your dog. For some you might point out just how safe the Spring is for dogs. For others, just keep riding.
Most trail users will admire you and your well behaved dog out sharing the trail. Many will want to know where you bought your Springer and how to train their own dogs to come riding bikes with them.
TRAINING YOUR PUPPY TO BECOME YOUR 'BICYCLE BUDDY'
TAKE YOUR TIME! Puppies are babies. They will not be able to run with you, the way you will want them to, until they are about 2 years old. Take your time. You would not ask a Human Toddler to run a mile....don't ask your puppy to do it either. Could your 6 month old pup do that. Yes? Should it? No.
In the beginning, just get your puppy used to the bicycle and how it moves. Teach your puppy to walk with you as you walk your bicycle beside you.
Slowly, and after some training time, get on and ride your bicycle with your puppy running free, all done very slowly, encourage puppy to stay with you as you go.
Get your puppy out walking on bicycle trails, that is with you walking at the other end of a leash, to get them used to all that goes on there. Teach them as you go, the command words you will be using as you are later riding your bicycle with them with you as you go.
You should decide which side of the bicycle you would like your puppy/dog to run on, as you ride it along the pathways. Think of this. I am training Tabaliah to run on my right side. A dog is trained for obedience to the left side of a person's body, so Tabaliah will be trained BOTH ways. In a training collar, left, with the bicycle to the right. Why? First of all I get off and on my bicycle on the left, or 'near side', as we call it with equines. Also, and mostly, having a dog on the right side of your bicycle not only keeps the dog away from 'on coming others', it puts your dog in the grass as you ride on the pavement on bicycle paths in towns and cities. Not only is the grass cooler on warmer days, it is better terrain for an animal to run on.
Start training your Pup to walk on the side of your body that you want it to run on beside your bicycle. Reward it on that side of our body...give it treats as it is on that side.
At this point it is a VERY good idea to teach your dogs Sled Dog Commands, at least "Whoa". But cuing your dog with words your ride and their run will be smoother and safer. Use these words as you are out walking your dog and in your home....like "on by" to leave items, cats, food, alone.
Sled Dog Commands are not hard to learn. But YOU need to learn them before teaching them to your dog. When you stop, say "Whoa", this is the most important command. Give the dog a "Let's Go" command each time you want him to move forward. When going to the Right say, "Gee" ("g" like "j", rhymes with see), and for Left Turns, "Haw". When the dog stops to sniff say, "On By", as you pull the dog forward, always be sure to praise the dog for every correct behavior. Have treats with you and make a huge fuss over the dog.
Many times training a dog in the cold, when starting, is far better than any other weather. The trick is to get out there yourself.
Also, tick tock, puppies grow very quickly. Don't wait. Train. Expose them to much as puppies, this way, everything seems normal to them and they are less afraid and or interested in it as you later take them to places where others are out working their animals.
In this photo...it was cold and muddy and really windy! But I am so glad we got out for a short run. We only went about 1/2 mile, and that <winks> in dog years is about 6 miles. Seriously. Even and maybe even especially, short trainings are very important for puppy training. Deron and I call this....little by little by little by....
more to come
USING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
To start with you need a Bicycle that fits you and one you can ride well. For most trails, a Mountain Bike is probably best for running your dog. The bike needs to be in good repair, especially the brakes, and the seat needs to be adjusted and comfortable for your size. Make sure the tires are good and take a spare tube and a hand use air pump with you...and know how to use them.
Buy a new or "like new" Springer. I say that so that you will have all the proper pieces for the equipment when you go to put it together and attach it to your bike.
I HIGHLY recommend that you wear good supportive shoes, hiking boots or shoes that cover your ankles, a Helmet, Knee Pads and Elbow Pads. This will help keep you from harm IF you should have a "spill".
Use a simple harness on your dog when hooking it into your bike. I put a Multipurpose Harness on my dogs before I run them with a Springer. Any well fitting harness with a attachment ring/loop up top on the dog's back will work well enough for a Springer. By hooking into the harness at the Springer and having a leash on the dogs collar around it's neck, you will have more control over the dog...even a very well trained dog can, let's call it "forget", when they get very excited and running along, if they see wildlife or another dog running at them. So control is very important.
Make sure your dog is wearing a well made leather or webbing collar. The collar needs to fit snug. The old Dog Collar Fit Rule holds true. You should be able to put two of your fingers under the dog's collar and it should feel snug. This way the collar will not slip off the dog's head should something happen on the trail. The collar should NOT have a plastic snap that hooks it together. Those plastic snaps break when you least expect it and need it to hold the most. I never use those sort of collars on any day.
ATTACH YOUR DOG SPRINGER CORRECTLY TO YOUR BICYCLE
In the years I have "been in dogs", that is been around all sorts of dog events with all sorts of dog breeds, events and their people, I have seen some interesting and scarey things done. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your equipment to attach it to your bike before attaching your dog to it. If you do not think you can attach the Springer correctly to your bike on your own, find help.
BICYCLE SPRINGERS ARE NOT MADE FOR THE DOG TO PULL YOU ON YOUR BICYCLE
While some people DO have their dogs pull them on their bicycles, the Dog Springer Bicycle Attachment was not made for this purpose. If you are going to have your dog pull you on your bicycle, do more research and learn how to hook your dog to your bike in a safe matter. Make sure you gangline (the line between the dog and the vehicle it is pulling) can not get caught up in your bike tire. Above all, teach your dog the proper commands and have it well trained before heading out. Be sure you can ride your bike at break neck speeds and still control it. Wear a Helmet and other safety items. Dogs can run, even when pulling, at a pretty fast clip...and they do not slow down on turns or when down steep hills. Be sure you can handle the bike you are riding, with the dog pulling, it long before you head out to a trail where you are likely meet up with other users, hikers, cyclists, backpackers, ect.
Stay safe above all!
HOW FAR CAN A DOG RUN BESIDE YOUR BICYCLE?
Training and Conditioning is everything when it comes to Working Dogs. How far can a German Shepherd Dog or other dogs run beside a Bicycle? With proper training and conditioning, they might go further than you might think. GSD in Germany have to prove they can run 13 miles with one short break before they are awarded their titles and breeding rights. Many, many GSD run beside bicycles in Germany for their awards and rights. Any healthy medium to large sized dog, with training and conditioning, can be taught to run five miles or more. Flatter nosed dogs, giant sized dogs, and small dogs, probably should not go that far, and they do require more stopping and resting breaks than dogs with longer noses. Just keep your dogs safety above all.
WHILE YOU ARE RESTING, YOUR DOGS ARE STILL RUNNING!
When you get to the top of that hill, yeah, that hill you worked so hard to climb; When you get up there and start descending, sitting there, not pedaling, YOUR DOG IS STILL RUNNING. Running down hill is very hard too! Don't believe it" Get off your bicycle and RUN downhill. You are more likely to lose your balance or wretch a knee running down hill...give your dog a rest too. Stop a minute.
Stop. Give Your Dog A Break. Once he stops panting so hard. Give him a small drink. Don't fill him with water. Dogs can Bloat (while running with water in stomach, the stomach can flip and or twist. Give your dogs short, small, drinks of water, often.
Photo of Tabaliah still running while my legs are resting on the peddles out here on the SD Prairie.
Dog Bells are a great idea. For several reasons. One, you will be able to hear where your dog is as you ride your bicycle (especially important if they are running free). You will also be aware, if you listen, to the gait the dog is in....that is, trotting or running or walking. When out on public land, other people using the trails will be able to hear your dog and you coming, as well as wild animals, that will get out of your way.
You do not want big bells that might flap up and hit the dog in the face, or that are so heavy they become a burden for the dog to wear as it runs.
You do want a bell big enough that you will be able to hear it as you ride along.
I have a small Goat Bell that Tekoa wore and now Texas Tea wears. It is right at the border of the right size. It rings loud....I like that. But do the dogs?
Another idea, extra dog tags on the dog's collar so that they jingle. I had that when I ran Sled Dogs. I also make them sound different than one another's so that I could tell them apart in the dark, or when not looking...yeah. I really did.
Photo of Tabaliah wearing two Christmas Type Sleigh Bells. I put these onto a split ring keychain, then attach them to her collar with a screw shut keychain.
TERRAIN FOR RUNNING YOUR DOGS
While a bit of running your dog on pavement will not hurt the dog, you do not want to run miles on pavement, especially hot pavement with your dog attached with a Springer to your Bicycle. Rails to Trails are popping up all over the USA. See if they have such a trail near you. The chat (chopped and compressed rock used on the Rails to Trails trails) is ok for your dogs paws, but you will have to toughen your dog to the surface before going too far. And extra benefit of the chat is that you will not have to trim your dog's toenails much after running on it. HOWEVER! Take Dog Booties with you on chat. You might find that even after running your dog on it many times, many miles, all the sudden one day, it hurts your dog foot to blood.
Mountain Bike Trails, if wide enough, are good for running your dog too. Just remember, you will meet up with other bikes and need to get out of their way. You also need to remember to keep your dog under control at all times. It is NOT ok for your dog to bark at or dive for other riders.
I used to ride my bike with my dogs attached to a Springer around St. Louis county roads all the time. I placed my bike on the sidewalk and or streets so that the dog was on the grass as it ran. This can be tricky to do and you really have to keep an eye on the dog or it will be half on half off, or worse, right at the side of the sidewalk. This can injure the dog.
NO ADDING BACKPACKS TO THE DOGS ATTACHED TO BICYCLES!
Your dog is already working while running beside you as you ride your bicycle. Do NOT add a Dog Backpack to the dog's back as it runs beside your bicycle....however, buy Bicycle Panniers for your bicycle and stop to have lunch or take an overnight or week long trip out on the trail, make sure to bring dog treats for your dog while you enjoy your meals.
THERE IS A TIME FOR BACKPACKING WITH YOUR DOGS, WHEN YOU ARE RIDING A BICYCLE IS NOT THAT TIME!
By adding a Dog Backpack to your dog you are adding extra weight to it's back as it runs beside you. A dog in a pack should walk, not trot or run. The items will flop around and annoy, some may hurt the dog's sides. Further, not only is this hard on the dog's body, back and paws, the dog is working harder as it carries weight and runs beside you. Is that fair? Would you want this sort of "fun" idea put on you?
GRAB YOUR COAT AND HAT!
If you decide to take your dog out running with you on a Hot Summer Day....Grab Your own Coat and Hat....that is what it feels like for your dog, it really does have a coat on. Seriously. There are days. Hot Days. When. Your. Dog. Should. NOT. Go. With. You. And. Run.
WHERE DOES ONE BUY A BICYCLE SPRINGER?
You can buy a Bicycle Springer from a lot of Pet and or Bicycle Businesses. I buy mine from the best, Running K9 LLC. I like this company, not only because they are one of the least expensive places to buy a Springer, but they also sell extra parts, have fast shipping and to top that off with a Cherry, their customer service is excellent! When I sent them emails, I got answers within 24 hours. And No. I do not make a dime when you click on the link below.
YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN
Hooking your dog to a Springer attached to a Bicycle can be so fun and safe. However, I have seen the things people do. WE WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU OR YOUR DOGS SAFETY. You alone are responsible for keeping yourself and your dog safe while you walk and work your dog. When we give ideas and information on working your dog, we are not there to see how you are setting up or trying out some of these events.
Only ride bikes that fit your body and are in good repair.
Hook the Dog Springer Attachment to your bicycle the exact way the instructions show and tell. If you can not do this yourself, get help.
Obey all road and trail signs.
Keep your bicycle and dog under control at all times.
Never leave your dog outside a shop or restaurant alone.
When your dog is tired, stop and rest. Have extra water along for your dog. Take more water with you than you think you each might drink.
BE SAFE AND HAVE FUN, BUT ABOVE ALL BE SAFE!
WHERE WE LIVE ~ 161 ACRES OF RUNNING AND PLAYING!
Out here our dogs can run free with us on our own property. This is a photo of Tekoa. I should sit down one day and add up the miles she ran with me on the open Prairie beside my Bicycle. She LOVED to GO with me!
Bicycle Riding/Running was not all that Tekoa enjoyed with us. Tekoa was my 'Shadow Dog', she went Backpacking with us, Camping and more, much much more. Sadly. We lost Tekoa. She is very much missed.
Deron encouraged me to purchase another female GSD, with different blood, to train to run with me out here while I ride my Bicycle. I waited. I put it off. It hurt too much to think about.
Then. I did. These photos were taken at the Air Port the day that Tabaliah arrived here from FL 2016-12-04.
There will be a lot of training and growing time before Tabaliah will join me for a Run on the Prairie...but we are working toward that.
She will also learn to work while attached to the Bicycle Springer for trips with us to town and to the Michelson Trail. I am looking forward to that!
Not only this, but she will also enjoy Backpacking, Camping, Pulling Sleds and Wagons....hopefully become my 'Shadow Dog'.
Remember, although they will want to...and you might think they are ready....Dogs less than 1 year old should not be running much more than 1/2 mile with you as you ride your bicycle. Under 2 year old, for larger breeds, is not a good idea to go over 2 to 4 miles. And only that with lots of shorter trips for training and conditioning. Through the years, many, many dogs (not mine, I am talking about in general) have had their structure and bone growth compromised by their owners....many have then turned this around to blame the breeder. DO NOT RUN YOUR PUP TOO LONG OR TOO FAR WHILE THEY ARE YOUNG. IT IS HARD ON THEIR HEALTH.
Since Tabaliah is 'slated' to be my Bicycle Buddy...we are taking her 'growth photos' next to a Bicycle Wheel. You can see more about Tabaliah on her ever growing Page here on this website, Navigation at right.
HANDS FREE DOG BICYCLE ATTACHMENT
I bought something new to try. I bought it on ebay.com CHEAP, so cheap that if it does not work out, I won't be that upset. I just thought with a pup to train, why not try it.
There was no Brand Name, but called, "Hands Free Dog Bicycle Attachment". It looks an awful lot like a Brand called, "Dog Walkie" to me.
I have to say, it even came with the rubber to put under it, and the tool to put it all together. And it only took Deron a few minutes, less than 5 minutes, to attach this product to my bicycle seat post...
This product however, do not, have the springs with in the tube. So There IS Tug When The Dog Pulls.
I walked her at first, but she took right to it. Deron took her around the parking lot too.
We did not go far, or fast, but she seemed to like it, she sure did not hate it. The leash training and earlier bicycle training paid off big time!
Feb 22, 2017
Tabaliah wore her new Brightly Colored, Matching, Harness and wore it for the first time. In the one photo, we are NOT dragging her, she stopped to look at Deron as he took her photo.
We rode in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, on the Bicycle Path there. We took Tabaliah less than a mile...she could have, would have liked to, go further, that was far enough for a pup out with a bicycle the second time.
I like the attachment, BUT IT IS NOT A SPRINGER! This one, knock off, cheap type, does move on the bike post, even when tightened down well. It's ok, for the money, great. But it is NOT a Springer. Springers are simply the best Bicycle Attachments for Dogs!
Tabaliah is NOT BEING PULLED ALONG in this photo. She slowed down to see, her daddy, the photographer, then ran forward again. You can see in the other photos how slack the lines are she is attached to.
BICYCLE BASKETS AND TRAILER FOR PETS!
For smaller pets, they are now making baskets for them to ride in on Bicycles. Just be careful that your pet dose not jump out as you ride along.
I have seen people with BIG Dogs inside of baskets on their bicycles...be careful if you try this, you could tip over and loose control so very easily doing this.
They also make Bicycle Trailers, although a child's would work just as well, for dogs. For large dogs, like a GSD, this might be nice to have along for the dog to ride in TO the trail, or if the dog gets tired or injured on the while out on trial. Also good for the young, or old, GSD/large dogs, when learning, or when retiring.
KEEP IN MIND: When your dog is riding in a basket, or trailer, or following you on the trail on foot...SMALL ROCKS AND OTHER DEBRIS CAN AND DOES FLY UP INTO THEIR FACES.
BICYCLE TRAILERS WITH BASKETS FOR DOGS TO RIDE INSIDE OF
AND. I have seen large and small dogs riding inside of baskets that are attached to Bicycle Trailers.... dogs just love to go, they do not care! Just keep it safe above all!
I LOVE GARAGE SALES AND THRIFT STORES!
I LOVE and shop at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores....BUT!, if you find an Attachment for your Bicycle that a Dog Hooks to as you ride....MAKE SURE ALL THE PARTS ARE THERE AND THAT THE ATTACHMENT IS IN GOOD REPAIR!
No 'good price' is worth it if it compromises the safety or well being of your pet! Dog Equipment is not a thing that the words "it'll do" should be used for.
That said, I have bought more than one Bicycle Trailer for next to nothing at Garage Sales that were in very good repair. One we made into a flat trailer with I-Bolts for attaching camping equipment too....GREAT DEAL!
-- The Working German Shepherd Dogs Team
Fri, 02 May 2014 12:57:40 -0400
I would like to invite you to join us on a Yahoo Group that I host called Working Big Dogs.