For a fun way to exercise yourself and your dog, consider a bike ride. It's an especially good activity during the Fall months. But keep in mind that your dog probably has no idea what a bike is, or what it does. That's why at least one training session is essential before you take off.
We trained our 9-year old black lab mix and our 6-year old cattle dog mix in an afternoon. These basic steps will get you started. (The following steps assume you are interested in a leashed ride on a flat surface. If you are planning to do mountain biking, your dog should not be leashed. He must be able to follow voice commands and stay near you.)
1. Orient your dog to the bike. Walk the bike and your dog on a loose leash until the dog becomes accustomed to walking beside the bike. Make a few turns and go in circles a few times so the dog has to follow you.
2. Get on the bike in a flat, protected area with little or no traffic. Keep your dog loosely leashed on the side most comfortable for you. Have your dog sit before you begin. Start riding very slowly and gently pull your dog to follow. Provide plenty of leash but keep your dog at your side or slightly behind you.
3. Keep riding very slowly and make some turns. See if your dog follows you. Use voice commands that your dog understands to control his movement as needed.
4. Gradually increase your speed. Your dog should keep up. If the dog moves ahead of the bike, gently pull him back and use a voice command such as "easy" so he knows to stay by your side. Be alert. If your dog starts to go in a different direction and you can't correct him, drop the leash, stop your bike, and start over again with your dog sitting by your side.
5. Bike ride frequently so your dog gets used to it. Be sure to bring water and don't over-work your dog.
TIP: Look for flat, wide paved areas with minimal traffic to bike ride with your dog. Rail trails or greenways, such as the Boone, NC greenway and the Fletcher, NC greenway (in the Fletcher Community Park) are ideal places for bike riding.
More information about teaching your dog to bike ride with you, including valuable safety tips: