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Sixty percent of all trips are done by bicycle in Amsterdam. Every moment there is someone who is riding with their canine companion. Find out what you need to learn on how to bike with your dog from the bicycle capital of the world.

Why bike with your dog

Biking with your dog is a great way to cultivate a bond between you and your four-legged friend. Dogs need physical activity and a bike is a great way to ensure that they get it.  Some dogs will become more excited when they get to go somewhere totally new. Riding a bike with your dog can bring satisfaction for both you and your hound.

Things to consider when biking with your dog

Some dogs are not well-suited for running alongside you as you bike.

Certain breeds that are brachycephalic, having a short snout (bulldogs, pugs) have trouble breathing under normal conditions, so strenuous exercise is not a good idea. Large or overweight dogs may find it too taxing on their joints. If your dog has as heavy, thick coat, they likely won’t enjoy the run. If your dog has health issues it would be best to avoid running with them. Consult with your vet first before embarking on any new exercise regimen.

Riding a bicycle with two dogs

Running on pavement can be difficult on your dogs joints and initially sensitive on their paw pads.

Consider getting a pair of dog shoes for protection. Some dogs just won’t wear booties, so in that case, start off slow and do short distances. Most locals in Amsterdam that bike with their dogs are on their way to a park . Mix up the terrain if possible and check your dogs paws afterwards for any stones or small cuts.

Dogs in Bike trailers

Before riding with your dog, they need to be well-trained and properly behave on walks together.
If your dog tends to get overly excited and pull you, they need to be taught to walk calmly on a (loose) leash and understand your cues like ‘stop,’ and ‘wait.’  The last thing you want to happen is for your dog  to bolt after something while riding your bike.

Tips to get started biking with your dog

  • Go on a walk with your bike and dog. Some dogs may be wary of being around a bicycle and the sounds that it makes. Get them accustomed to it first and by using positive reinforcement with treats when they are calm and focused on you.
  • Choose an open location without distractions and begin riding slowly while loosely holding your dogs leash.
  • Practice by giving your dog commands “left” and “right” in addition to “stop” while riding so they get used to understanding when your bike is turning.
  • Spend about 10 minutes at first. Monitor your dog to see how they are doing and gradually increase the speed and distance each time.

Using a basket with your dog

Dogs riding in baskets is the most common way or riding with dogs in Amsterdam. You can see the excitement in their faces. It’s a great vantage point for them that leads to a sense of adventure. Like dogs, baskets come in different shapes and sizes. There are some great dog specific choices for you like a wicker basket by PetSafe.

Baskets in the front are generally attached to the handlebars and best suited for smaller dogs. Some people have a basket attached to the back rack that offers more stability for larger dogs. Amsterdammers are experts at cycling and will work with what they got. If riding with a dog in your basket is new to you, choose a basket that is large enough to give your dog some room to move around.

Trailers and cargo bikes options

A bicycle trailer is a great option and suitable for larger dogs. Especially if they get tired on their route. They’re more comfortable than a basket and allow for more room as well as protection from the elements.
If you’re willing to invest more into your cycling lifestyle, consider a cargo bike. They are increasing in popularity with array of electric models now available.

Learning how to ride a bike with a dog can be a rewarding experience and your pooch will love your for it. You don’t need to be able to ride like an Amsterdammer, so take it slow and easy at first. Stay safe and enjoy the ride.

Disclosure: This article may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs, or otherwise.

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