Daffodils and Dogs
Usually, this time of the year has me thinking about the summer event schedule for cycling. Each year I like to get together with some far-off friends and ride bikes in the spirit of camaraderie and group suffering.This year however is a bit different. I'm not really thinking about cycling events. I'm not looking at event schedules wondering what endurance races will make me question why the hell I want to ride a bike at 3am, in the rain. I'm not even worrying about training plans for the local race series (not that I have before).
All I'm excited for is some local singletrack and rail-trails. You see, I just got a new puppy. I've grown up with dogs, and since living on my own, I've always wanted another. My girlfriend and I just bought a house this fall and a puppy wasn't far behind. Originally I was interested in a couple different large breeds. Leonburgers and Akitas were on my short list. I have strong animosity for most small breeds. I've always thought it wasn't a dog unless it was up to your knee.
But the more I read about the breeds I was originally interested in, I began to realize they weren't going to be great trail dogs. Hip problems had me worried. On top of that I couldn't see my hundred-and-nothing pound girlfriend leash training a hundred-and-fifty pound dog. And she wasn't too keen on the idea of cleaning up hand sized pieces of dog crap. Since the Akita was on the short list she suggested a Shiba Inu. It's basically a scaled down version of an Akita and one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world.
This spring I have begun hiking with our new buddy, Royal Zero the Zombie Killer (Zero, for short), on the trails behind our Bicycle Times / Dirt Rag office. So far I've been really impressed. I'm no expert on dog training, so I've been doing some on-line research for training tips.
Mountain Biking with your dog links:
- The toilet might flush in the wrong direction but here's some solid down-under advise about training your dog for the trails. It originally appeared in Australian Mountain Bike magazine.
- Should you Mountain Bike With Your Dog?
- Training a Trail Dog by Bruce Argyle
I can see using something like the Springer for riding rail-trails or bike paths, but think that it would be unsafe for dog and rider on mountain bike trails. At least the tight and technical singletrack that I like.
I suppose it comes down to how well your dog is trained. Like any obidience training, it comes down to time and patience. Also, the law. Most places that are great for riding bikes might not be too happy to see your dog off-leash. Check your local parks. Having your dog off its leash might be fun for riding, but you are risking injury to your friend, yourself and possibly a ticket.
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