The holidays are near! Looking for a great gift for your dog? While bike riding on the Seminole Wekiva Trail, we came across a biker with a bike attachment for his dog called the Bike Tow Leash. We then went home and researched on the internet, and Amazon all the different products that would allow us to do this. After reading reviews and seeing the different design types, we felt the Bike Tow Leash (BTL) was the best way to go. Another bonus was that the creator of BTL lived right here in Orlando.
This attachment allows you to be able to safely bike while your dog runs or walks along side the bike. I have been testing this attachment with my own dog and a few clients. While at first I was a little skeptical as to how safe this can be, I can say that I feel much more positively about the BTL. My dog Naya has tested the safety of it in many ways. She is a squirrel and cat chaser and loves to go up to people, especially kids. She is a big time puller on walks. We have passed by small children, kids playing baseball in their yard, loose dogs, cats, and even a few squirrels that have dashed in front of our bike. While I have felt a slight bit of tension with the squirrels, it has in no way affected my balance or interfered with the bike. It has caused us to go a little faster. The BTL is also designed as a propelling attachment so when I use this with the Easy Walker we are often moving forward without me even having to pedal or may go a little faster as she gets excited about something she sees.
When first using this there are a few actions that can be done in order to make it less scary for the dog as they become familiar with it. With any new dog, I attach the dog on the right side and I let them sniff the bike and check it out. Once they seem comfortable with the bike, I walk the bike slowly so that they are walking on one side and I am on the other. If they in any way act nervous or fearful, I stop and let them check out the bike again. We then walk a little faster. Turns can often be a little scary for the rider and the dog. So while walking I practice turning right and left. Something to keep in mind while turning left is that you may need to call the dog and encourage they keep up while turning. I use the word “left” to signal we are turning with the hopes that they will eventually associate the word with the action. We also practice rights which are probably even scarier as it may seem like you are turning into your dog. I use “right” and then slowly turn towards them. They very quickly learn how to read you, and the movements of the bike.
Also, when first starting out, it is recommended to start slow and to do short distances. Since most dogs are probably not used to running for longer distances, their paw pads need to build up calluses or thickness so that they do not wear them down. It is also best to have them walking when first using it, as opposed to full on running.
The only issue I have come across with one dog, was that while going downhill, if the dog doesn’t want to run, or go at the speed of the bike, they can go behind the bike and then cross to the other side of the bike. This of course then causes the BTL to rub against the back tire. While it doesn’t cause you to loose balance, it does slow you down and you will want to move the dog over to the correct side sooner than later. This is the one thing that the maker of BTL said will void your warrenty. If you allow it to continue to rub against the tire it will eventually rub a hole into the plastic. This would take quite a bit of time with the dog rubbing the attachment against the tire. The dog that did this has not done it again since that first time.
Often times my dog has also gotten close to the front tire, but the BTL is designed in a way that it makes it pretty difficult for the dog to get near the tire and impossible for them to cross the front tire. If I notice Naya is getting too close, I just use my foot to stop her and tell her “over” or “watch out”. She and the other dogs I have used the BTL with have picked it up very quickly.
As with anything else that you do with your dogs, it is important to know your dog and be able to have some verbal controls. I can often tell by a dogs body language whether they are about to need to stop to go potty, or if they are slowing down. I have had Naya suddenly need to stop to go potty, and it isnt such a sudden stop on the bike. It is just very obvious that she is slowing down.
This is a great gift not just for your 4 legged friend, but for yourself as well. Now you can enjoy exercising, being outside and spending time with your furry friend. iCare4Pets highly recommends Bike Tow Leash. You can purchase it at biketowleash.com or your can request dog running services with iCare4pets using the Bike Tow Leash. Visit our services page to find out more!