It took me a lot of practice and training, but I have mastered riding my road bicycle on paved trails with my weimaraner. I would like to share my insight as to how I did just that. I will first start out by admitting that I do understand all dogs, especially weimaraner have very different personalities and how they respond to activities. For example my four year old weimaraner listens and responds when I call him outside and/or on trails, but when we are at the dog park, it’s all about playing, not much for responding to my directions. Another thing about my four legged friend that is different from other dogs I have had, is that when I come into the house, even if I am only gone for ten minutes, his strong and high strung personality comes out by the fact that he howls and jumps around being very hard to calm down for at least five minutes. And lastly, before the training he got really skittish the first time I took my bicycle out for the year and road it in the driveway around him. He would always seem to run in front of the tire. It came to the point that I would have to stop or slow down. Getting him to pay attention and listen to directions was impossible while I was on the bike. With a great deal of determination, I am able to hang onto his leash while he runs along side of my bicycle.
I started off slow, walked the bike on one side of me, my left hand holding the bike upright and his three foot leash in my right hand, with him walking on my right side. We would walk together for forty-five minutes three nonconsecutive days a week. Within that same week, two of the other days I would do intervals with him of walking for two minutes and running for two minutes for one hour. For the last two nonconsecutive days I took him to the dog park to work on returning to my side when instructed. The dog park is suppose to be a fun place, so I still let him run and play for five minutes intervals, having him return to walk the path at my side for the next five minutes, then back to running and playing for another five minutes, all of this lasting for an hour. My dog responded well to this training and wasn’t afraid to be next to the bicycle as much or didn’t get in front of it on our walks; therefore he wasn’t throwing me off balance. I was consistent with this routine of training for two weeks.
My next step was to be a little more aggressive. I started riding the bicycle with his leash in my right hand for five minute intervals. The next five minutes I got off the bicycle and walked as we had with the first training series. This type of interval training also went on for five nonconsecutive days for the next two weeks. The other two days I took him to the dog park and continued with his training of running and playing for five minutes and returning to my side for the next five minutes to walk, clipped to the leash, lasting again for a straight hour.
My last step which was the most aggressive tactic, was riding my bicycle for ten minutes with his leash in my right hand, getting off and having the bike on my side while walking with him on my right side. The bike would be between me and my weimaraner for five nonconsecutive days. The other two days would again be our training at the dog park where he could get playtime and walking instruction all in an hour time. Breaking up the training but being consistent, I believed, kept him focused and assertive. Keeping his mind and body busy and thinking was also the way I could keep him interested and excited to do the training. I have learned from others that weimaraners need to be challenged majority of the time. This was my challenge to him.
My weimaraner is great with consistency, but needs to be reinforced at the same time. I do admit it was very hard work and didn’t really keep my mind and body into our routine every day. The progress we have accomplished together is definitely about the training. It is unbelievable what a wonderful feeling it is to have my four year old weimaraner burn energy and enjoy our time together. There are still times he is eager to outrun the speed I am biking, but I just reinforce him and its smooth riding.
Now he gets excited about getting the bicycle on the bike rack and jumping in the vehicle, knowing we are going on a trail to burn some energy and have fun. I have been able to enjoy another physical activity with my favorite four legged friend.