Will my dog knock me off my bicycle?
It’s unlikely that your dog will be able to knock you off your bicycle unless he is extremely large and completely out of control. Because of the rear wheel attachment, the K9 Cruiser Bicycle Leash prevents your dog from getting in front of the wheels of the bicycle.
For safety reasons, if you cannot keep your dog under control on a walk, do NOT put him on a K9 Cruiser. However, most people report that running their dog on the K9 Cruiser actually gives them MORE control than if they were walking. Here are a couple reasons why:
- Centrifugal force – if you are pedaling your bicycle and your dog tries to go a different way, the bicycle leash automatically checks him back into the correct direction, using the forward movement of the bicycle itself.
- Center of gravity – If you are holding onto your dog’s leash and the handlebars, the center of gravity where the dog can apply pressure to the bicycle is very high, and also very sensitive, since this is where you steer. This is the most dangerous way to ride on a bicycle with a dog. It’s also how we hear the most reports of injury and hospitalization for both pet and owner. We NEVER recommend you do this. If you are using a product that attaches to the bicycle seat, it’s better, but still a very high center of gravity in the center of the bicycle. This makes it easier for the dog to control the bicycle.
The K9 Cruiser Bicycle Leash is attached to the frame of the bicycle, at the bottom, at the rear wheel, which gives you a very low center of gravity. Because it is at the end of the bicycle, it makes it much easier to control the dog if he tries to go in a different direction – you just have to keep pedaling! If you are unsure as to whether or not you can control your dog on a K9 Cruiser, we suggest using a Gentle Leader head collar. Just make sure you get your dog used to walking on the Gentle Leader before you start using it on the K9 Cruiser. Get help with introducing your dog to the Gentle Leader at https://www.petsafe.net/learn/how-to-fit-a-gentle-leader-headcollar.
What if my dog stops suddenly? Speeds up or slows down?
There is not much difference here than if you are walking. You do not want to give your dog the impression that he can control the walk, or the bike. Dogs learn to pull, lunge, brake, and be out of control on walks when you give them control of the walk. So here are a few suggestions on how to use the K9 Cruiser properly:
- NEVER LET YOUR DOG PULL THE BIKE! It is very tempting to let your dog pull you on the bike. Many people feel this is fun for their dog, the dog gets more exercise, and they don’t have to pedal. However, this gives the dog the impression that he controls the bike, which is never good. If your dog tries to pull the bike, brake hard immediately, every time! During your dog’s introduction to the K9 Cruiser, you should be in a quiet environment, such as a quiet street without a lot of traffic, without a lot of distractions. You should not be pedaling very fast. Give your dog a few outings on the K9 Cruiser to get him used to it. In the beginning, he may pull away from the bicycle a little. This is normal and goes away after a couple of trips. Use a lot of verbal encouragement. Let him know this is a fun activity for you, too, as he may not be used to a bicycle. If he sees you’re having fun, he will relax. If he thinks you’re nervous, he might get nervous, too.
- Keep your dog in his gait. A gait is a trot, not a gallop. The difference between a gait and a gallop is that one burns energy aerobically, the other, anaerobically. Burning energy aerobically means you will have a longer run during which your dog burns more calories, more energy, and gets much better muscle and strength conditioning. Burning energy anaerobically means that your dog is sprinting instead of endurance running. He will burn all the oxygen out of his bloodstream faster, get tired faster, but be bouncing off the walls again in 30 minutes. We prefer to go for longer distances at slower paces, for better results.
- If your dog tries to stop, you should stop. This doesn’t mean you are letting him control the bike. It’s for safety. If your dog tries to stop and you drag him with the bike, you are probably going to tear the pads of his feet if he is running on pavement. Know that running also stimulates elimination, so your dog may have to pee or poop during the run and may try to stop for that reason.
If your dog is not enjoying the run for whatever reason and does not want to run, then you should just slow down, or walk the bike home. If your dog is trying to stop because he wants to see a distraction, and he also does this on walks, train him out of this behavior on walks, and then put him back on the K9 Cruiser. Training your dog to be under control on leash is a very simple behavior that virtually any reward-based dog trainer should be able to help you with if you are having difficulty.
Will the K9 Cruiser fit all bicycles?
The K9 Cruiser attaches to virtually any non-motorized bicycle the same way the back wheel attaches. Simply loosen the rear wheel axle nut or quick release, slide the K9 Cruiser Bicycle Leash between the frame and the axle, on the outside of the fork, then tighten. Fasten the Velcro strap around the frame of the bike and you’re ready to go. Please let us know if you are having difficulty, but please do not modify our product or its installation in any way.
How do I introduce my dog to the K9 Cruiser?
In a quiet environment, park your bike in an open area and remove the bungee leash from the K9 Cruiser. Attach one end to your dog’s collar. Walk your dog over to the bicycle and attach the other end to the K9 Cruiser. With one hand on the handlebars and one hand on the seat, start slowly rolling the bicycle backwards and forwards, about 12 – 15 feet in each direction. This will teach your dog that he is now attached to the bicycle, and that he needs to follow the bicycle. Most dogs, at this point, will go up and actually put their noses to the K9 Cruiser, checking it out. Mount the bicycle and start pedaling slowly, keeping your dog in a nice trot and encouraging him, letting him know you are having fun!
It’s really that easy. After the ride, please check your dog’s feet. If your dog is not used to running on pavement, his pads are probably soft, and you should take it easy until his pads toughen up. We use a product called TUF FOOT to toughen the dog’s pads faster. It also speeds healing if there is an injury. We typically put it in a small mister bottle and spray it on their feet daily for a couple of weeks, and it works very well.
What if I want to run more than one dog?
You can! You can run up to three dogs on the K9 Cruiser. We suggest you get each dog used to the K9 Cruiser individually before you run them together. Never try to introduce the K9 Cruiser to more than one dog at a time.