56–59 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy
How to Safely Jog, Rollerblade or Bike with Your Puppy
Your puppy probably still has lots of puppy energy and you may be looking for new ways to expend it. Now that his coordination, bones and joints are developed, it's a good time to try some creative exercise with your pup. Jogging, rollerblading and cycling offer a chance to do something exciting for yourself and a chance to teach your puppy new skills.
Perhaps you've seen Cesar Millan rollerblading with twenty dogs leashed and at his side. Doing these activities with one dog is certainly easier but you should get a similar result - a happy, exhausted dog.
Signs that your puppy needs more exercise include restlessness, chewing, destruction of furniture or rugs, trash diving, and whining. Conversely, your pup may appear lethargic and bored. Luckily, it's very easy to introduce these new activities, keeping some safety rules in mind.
How to Jog, Rollerblade or Cycle with Your Dog
First, make certain you have good running shoes, rollerblades or cycling shoes. This will ensure that you have a steady foot when moving and that your coordination is good.
Second, map out your terrain ahead of time. Walk the path you intend to take and note where there is uneven ground or obstacles.
Third, start slowly. Gradually build up your puppy's endurance.
Lastly, practice proper leash holding. When jogging or rollerblading, you need to leave a bit of slack in the leash for your puppy so that you don't collide with each other. When cycling with your puppy, you should use an attachment that runs from the bike to your pup. This ensures that your puppy isn't hurt if you crash by keeping him a correct distance from you.
Always jog, blade or cycle in an area that is not crowded. You're less likely to notice possible problems such as an unleashed dog running up to you when you're concentrating on the exercise. Also, if you do have a fall, you don't want to crash into a family of five that happens to be walking along.
If you don't give your puppy enough exercise, you will see behavioral and personality problems. You will both be healthier with activity and trying new sports is exciting. And, if you and your pup should get tangled up as you go along and fall ungracefully to the ground, remember not to blame Fido and laugh instead. Your puppy will laugh along with you.
Photo by: Super_man6694 via Flickr Creative Commons
Advice from Other Dog Owners
I am an avid cyclist and if you are going to take your dog along with you on your bike, make sure you have a proper attachment on your bike with a breakaway, in case your dog stops or trips. Do not tie the leash to the handlebars. Also, let your dog run at a trot, dogs get overheated really easy, and tire too. They need lots of water and breaks.
~Bob C., owner of Smokey the dog
Great Sport for Man and Beast
I have been biking with my two dogs for the last two to three years. I often get stopped by people wondering how I accomplish such an exercise.
I started my dogs in town, and once they became comfortable with the bikes and where they should be running in relation to them, I took them to the trails. I can now mountain bike with them offleash and they run in the default position as if we were on the road, slightly behind and to the side of the bike. My rottweiler has gained 5 pounds of muscle mass in the last two seasons and looks fantastic. Remember to carry enough water for everyone and provide it constantly for your pups. Happy riding!
~Heather M., owner of A Rottweiler