What Is Bikejoring
Bikejoring is a canine sport considered a “mushing” sport. In this sport a dog or team of dogs is harnessed to a towline and run ahead pulling a cyclist. This sport is performed on dry land and is used off season to train sled dogs. Most people who participate in bikejoring do it for recreational purposes; but, there are groups worldwide that use it as a competition category. If competition bikejoring is your interest the International Sled Dog Racing Association would be your best source for information.
Any breed of dog can be trained for bikejoring. The main quality your dog has to have is it must love to run. This is not a sport for a couch potato. This activity really exercises your dog! Most dogs can move at a faster pace than you, so allowing them that freedom increases the workout and the health benefits they receive.
Training And Safety Considerations
Training your dog to participate in bikejoring starts with how well you walk together. If your dog wanders to and fro across the road, that’s the way your bike will go if you’re bikejoring. You’ll want to train your dog to walk the way you want him to run with your bike. Training is essential in this activity. Without it, if the dogs go off chasing a squirrel, so will you and your bike. Your bike goes where ever the dogs go, with or without you on it. Correct any problems before you get on the bike. Verbal control of your dog is the only way to control their behavior during a bikejoring outing. Once the dog is running, you can’t gain control by pulling on their leash, they are pulling you instead! Having your dog respond to verbal commands instantly will help avoid any accidents.
Most training begins when your dog is a puppy. By six months old they should be familiar with your verbal commands. To avoid injury, do not allow your dog to pull any serious weight until it is full grown. When training, break the tasks down and make sure the dog understands before moving to the next task. There are many things your dog must know without being given a command. The dog must never let the towline slack unless a command is given to do so. The dog must always know the following:
- Stay off the street side of poles, mailboxes and fire hydrants.
- Always stay on the road or trail.
- Always ignore people and wildlife.
- If you have more than one dog pulling your bike, the dogs need to know not to split up to go around an object.
Bikejoring is one of the most exciting activities you and your dog can do together. Training is essential for your dog’s safety, as well as your own. Any slip-ups in training need to be addressed as soon as they occur. Always carry water for your dogs during your session and if your dog tires, remember, don’t push him. You can always walk him home.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia