Training your dog to ride in a basket is a simple process that takes just a bit of patience and persistence. Most dogs are understandably nervous the first time out for a ride, so please take this into consideration when going for a ride the first time. With a little practice your dog will be excited when she sees you get your bike ready for a ride.
Before You Begin Riding (a couple rules)
1. Always stay calm. Dogs are very social animals and they know when your anxious or frustrated. If things don’t go well the first time, take a break and play with her for a bit. She’ll quickly understand that riding is normal, but only if you act like it's normal.
2. Keep your dog secured for the first several rides. Only you know how you dog will react to new situations, so always use good judgement. But to be sure, use a basket leash (or two) to keep her secure while she learns. Remember, she’ll be a bit nervous and her first instinct may be to jump to solid ground. After a few rides she’ll be a pro and may even go to sleep while you ride.
3. Choose a quiet space free from distractions while practicing. Dogs love other people and dogs, so don’t tempt them to jump out until they understand that a moving bike is not something to be jumping out of. Try to isolate them for the first ride, if possible.
4. Make sure your bike fits you properly and is well maintained. A 20-pound dog on your handlebar will change the steering characteristics a bit. A poorly fitting or maintained bicycle will be extra hard to control.
How to ride with your dog
Step 1: Choose a quiet and flat space, free from distractions and obstacles.
Step 2: Clip the basket leash to one side. For especially skittish dogs use a second basket leash to center her in the basket. If you're only using one leash then use of a harness is highly recommend in case of a sudden exit from the basket.
Step 3: Slowly walk with your dog in the basket. Give her gentle encouragement. Try to keep this session short if she is nervous, you don’t want to scare her. The goal is to assure her that this is a perfectly normal activity and nothing to be worried about.
Step 4: If your dog seems OK up to step 3 then start riding slowly over even ground, continue the gentle encouragement. She’s starting to get it now. You’ll see her try to smell all the wonderful smells on the wind.
Step 5: Find a bump! Ride over small bumps to see how the steering reacts with this new weight on the front of your bike. Let her know that a bump is approaching and see how she reacts. After a couple bumps, most dogs know that they are secure enough in the basket for it to not be a big deal.
Step 6: Keep riding. Ride faster and longer each session. Always correct a dog that wants to stand, jump, or bark at other dogs. Remember, sudden movements from your dog will shift the center of gravity and make steering the bike difficult to control. Praise her for good, calm behavior.
Step 7: Enjoy your basket! Get use to oooh’s, aaah’s, and pointing from bystanders. People love seeing dogs in bike baskets. You will get stopped a lot and have to answer questions. Try to pass on your passion for riding and a healthy lifestyle to everyone you meet! Your dog will become one of the many healthy lifestyle ambassadors at Beach & Dog. We thank her and you, and we wish you well on your journey!
Beach & Dog Co.