For Christmas, J requested a specific model of Dog Bike Trainer, and I was thrilled when we were able to get it delivered before Christmas - my mum was kind enough to take delivery for me, to wrap it and sneak it under the Christmas tree at her place, where we were spending Christmas day. Its not often I manage to surprise J with a present that he really wants, so it was very cool when this paid off!
This Dog Bike Trainer, like other models, attaches to the post of the bike seat. It consists of a metal tube with a spring loaded cord, that attaches to a collar or harness. The dog runs alongside the back wheel of the bike, and the springs allow the rider to maintain their balance against the movement of the dog. After Christmas, J started taking Bolo and Czar out for runs.
We chose to use a fitted car harness for this - this harness can not be backed out of, and feels significantly different to the racing harnesses that we use. We hope that the dogs learn to associate particular behaviours with different collars and harnesses - I always switch Czar from his semi-slip collar to his martingale for obedience classes. Hopefully the boys will learn to associate running beside the bike with the black fitted harness that pulls slightly upwards from the middle and running in front of a scooter or sled with the red racing harnesses that draws along the back. Its important that they learn this differentiation, because its important that they don't try and pull the load on the bike. If their action on the bike is a steady pace, without taking a load, it means that they will be at a lower risk of overheating, less restricted by temperature. Of course, J has been careful to only run them early in the day, before it gets too hot, but they have really enjoyed getting out for a run in summer time!
J found the spring loaded cord was a little short, especially for Czar, who likes to keep a larger "personal space", so he tried taking two of the three springs out of the metal tube. This extended the cord, and Czar was happy to run alongside at that distance. However, Bolo has taken a bit longer to learn how to run at a consistent distance, and it was necessary to put the springs back in to counter balance Bolo's sideways movement. J chose to take the cord out and replace it with some of our racing line. J especially likes this because it contains fibres made of Kevlar, and is nearly impossible to break.
Here's to a successful summer of happy, fit and healthy dogs.