The Canine Athlete
Imagine how it might feel to run and to jump with the speed and agility of your dog. As you race around the field, muscles tighten as you lean into sharp turns. Your speed exceeds thirty kilometers per hour, and you experience a rush of sensory information which excites you and makes you want to continue to run and to move. In the back of your mind, you can faintly hear someone yelling, "Come", but you are so immersed in movement you don't respond -- you can't respond. Then the rush is over, your muscles relax, and a feeling of calm fills your body and mind. Now you can clearly hear the command, "Come", and you respond willingly.
Dogs are superb athletes. Their bodies and their minds seek activity. They need physical exercise to stay sharp and responsive. If you want to ready your dog to learn new behaviours, try exercising them before you start a training session. Taking them for a walk on leash is good. Getting them to fetch is great. But the best controlled activity for my dogs is running beside my bike. Before I start my training sessions with my dog, Katie, we take a four kilometer bike ride. Katie always seems more focused, and more ready to learn after she has been exercised.
For those of you who want to try biking with your dog, there are few safety considerations. Don't ride while trying to hold the leash with one hand and the handle bar with the other. If the dog tugs, or tries to stop, you can fly over the handle bars. Let me tell you from experience, this doesn't feel good. Keep both hands on the handle bars!
The safe way to bike your dog is to use proper equipment. I use a bike attachment which fits conveniently under my bike seat. As the dog runs beside the bike, a spring absorbs any tugs or lunges. The attachment stops the dog from running in front of the bike, and keeps them safely away from traffic.
Try biking with your dog. They will love running beside you, and the exercise will be good for you and your canine pal.Noel Pepin -- Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists