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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I got a new bike a few days ago and decided to try biking with my dog.
She wasn't afraid of it at all so I didn't feel the need to slowly train her with trusting the bike like some sites have recommended. I brought her outside with it and walked her along slowly next to the bike (I was on foot). She barely even noticed the bike so I attached her leash to the frame just below the handle bars and continued to walk her slowly with it. Then I got on and slowly pedaled. She did surprisingly well. She's very hyper active so I expected her to try to walk in all directions but she stayed with me the whole time even as I increased speed. I biked around with her for maybe an hour or so and then took her in. She seemed to really like it.

Today, after doing so well yesterday I felt like it was okay to take her to her usual dog park by bike which is about a 50 minutes walk and probably 20 minutes by bike. She did fine the whole way. I let her run in small intervals but kept the bulk of the ride at a trot. I also would stop every so often for potty breaks and just so she could rest. She then played for maybe 2 hours at the dog park (she doesn't get too rough so it didn't involve a lot of running or anything).

Anyway, on the way back she seemed quite tired. I could feel her pulling a lot on the leash and she wasn't keeping up as well. So, I pedaled really slowly almost the whole way back and took two rests. I could tell that she was getting tired because at one rest she immediately plopped down in the grass (she doesn't ever do that).
What has me worried now is that she is walking a bit off. Almost like a very slight limp on her front paws. Or like she's walking cautiously. I checked her paw pads and the skin on the front ones was a little worn. Not raw at all. Maybe like the top layer worn off.
Should I be worried? Would it be best to give the biking a rest for a day or so?
Also, in the future would boots be recommended? I see dogs without boots running with bikes all the time. How do they avoid worn paws?


Also, I AM aware that it's safer to bike with a dog using something like a Springer or similar bike attachment but I cannot afford something like that right now and she does really well with a leash. I do hope to get one in the future however.

I've also heard that age, coat, breed, etc. can depend on how well they do with biking so in case anyone needs to know she is about 6-7 months, smooth, medium length coat, border collie mixed with unknown, and she's also fairly small. Maybe a little smaller than a medium sized dog.

Here's a picture of how her paw pads look:

EDIT: I just took a closer look with a flashlight and her pads do look very slightly raw. And also a little was worn off on a toe pad as well.
 

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I wouldn't be running a 6-7 month old dog on leash anyway, especially on a hard surface (which I'm assuming because most bike paths or roads are asphalt). Too much impact on growing joints. Medium sized dog, maybe 1 year old or so is okay. The dog park running around is fine, it is a different surface and less repetitive motions.

Dogs need to build up tough foot pads, it seems to just take gradually increasing distance and the roughness of the surface. I had a dog that pulled like crazy on a leash when really excited and she wore her paw pads down just like that and it was quite tender for about 3 days so we completely avoided hard surface walking (grass only) until her feet healed. I also washed her feet a few times a day just with a little gentle soap and water after she came inside from the yard to prevent infection.]

And if you attach her to the bike (rather than holding a leash) then I would definitely recommend ONLY attaching using a harness. Too much risk of neck injury if you crash the bike or make a sudden stop (or she does) if she's tied by her collar.
 

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^^^ Agree with waiting a while longer to bike with her, its just too rough on her joints and bones right now.

But when you do get back to it I have suggestions! I've made a belt thingy that I can attach the leash to when we ride as to make it hands free. It adds so much stability because if the urge overtakes them (2 dogs) to chase the dreaded squirrel its attached to my waist and much harder to pull me over or lose them. Before I made the belt I just had them on a connector lead and tied the leash around my waist. It worked fine it just dug into my stomach when they went to pulling because it was thin.

As for her pads just take it easy for a few days and again, as Shell said just gently clean them and don't let her lick them obsessively. Watch for sandy areas and clean them if you do come in contact. I forgot about it and it made my poor pups pads heal much slower from the sand getting in and irritating it more.
 

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^^^^ agree agree

She is a bit too young yet for such strenuous running. I'd keep it to maybe 5-10 minute outings with the bike next time on a soft surface until her bones & joints are done developing.

As for her feet, the same thing happened to Bella her first day at daycare (she was 6-7 mos old as well). They had "smooth gravel" (if there is such a thing)in the yard and her pads were all torn up and sore after the 1st day. They said her pads would toughen up after a while - which they did, but I felt so bad for her!

I tried some of that Musher's Secret stuff after they healed, but she wouldn't let me anywhere near her with it, so I ended up getting booties. I don't know which she hated more, but the booties didn't stink and stain the house and her fur up...and they can be used in the snow etc as well.

She'll be okay - just keep her pads clean (I used a little Neosporin) and limit her walking on rough surfaces for a few days like Shell suggested. I really love the booties for this type of thing...make sure you have your video recorder ready though! (heeheeheehee....I'm evil)
 

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Poor thing, that looks awful and painful...it will heal and her paws will get tougher given time...you just overdid it a bit...but don't we all make mistakes every now and then!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
So, I like BellaPup's suggestion to keep it to 5-10 minutes on the bike. I mean, if she can't handle even that I would just stop altogether though. I just don't know of any other way to get her energy out. Walks never seem to cut it. And she always wants to try to run and I'm just too out of shape to do that which is what gave me the bike idea. She can run and I can keep up.

So, would short bike rides with boots be okay to do until she's ready for longer rides?

EDIT: I have a quick question about boots.
Petco carries some thicker fleece lined ones and some reusable rubber ones. Some reviewers have said that the fleece ones fall off easily and don't allow for a lot flexing of the paw. The rubber ones boast that they're thin enough that the dog can feel the ground and be more confident with walking but they seem like they'd wear out fast. Does anyone have any recommendations between the two?
 

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The bike riding limit isn't about her energy (as in, being able to keep up or "handle it") but about her joints and tendons. What about getting a long line and letting her run in a field or a quiet park? I wouldn't want her running on-leash (like, straight line, on pavement) for more than 10 minutes daily at her age and that won't burn much energy anyway.

I doubt she'll even need boots once she builds up some callouses. I was running my dog about 5-7 miles regularly, up to 9 miles sometimes, on pavement (I ran too) at age 2 with no issue. If you put boots on her now, she won't build up callouses slowly while you wait for her to get old enough to run alongside the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The bike riding limit isn't about her energy (as in, being able to keep up or "handle it") but about her joints and tendons. What about getting a long line and letting her run in a field or a quiet park? I wouldn't want her running on-leash (like, straight line, on pavement) for more than 10 minutes daily at her age and that won't burn much energy anyway.

I doubt she'll even need boots once she builds up some callouses. I was running my dog about 5-7 miles regularly, up to 9 miles sometimes, on pavement (I ran too) at age 2 with no issue. If you put boots on her now, she won't build up callouses slowly while you wait for her to get old enough to run alongside the bike.[/QU
Well, I have tried the long lead in a field and she doesn't run much. She won't unless you run with her and like I said, I just can't keep up. And that's never enough to tire her out. She always bouncing around the house, full of energy.

And that makes sense about the boots. Do you need to do anything to build up their callouses or does it just do that naturally on their own?
 

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I don't do anything to help build callouses other than build up the running slowly. No one I know uses any boots and most people either walk about an hour or jog at least a few miles daily with their dogs.

On the long line, try practicing recalls and tossing a ball to help get her moving.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't do anything to help build callouses other than build up the running slowly. No one I know uses any boots and most people either walk about an hour or jog at least a few miles daily with their dogs.

On the long line, try practicing recalls and tossing a ball to help get her moving.
She's not too huge on balls. Especially outside where she's so distracted. But I'll try her favourite squeeky toy and see how that goes.
 
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