Going for a bike ride with your dog can be one of life’s most rewarding and fun activities. But, it’s much more than fun; bike rides with dogs can also do a lot of good for both you and your pup.
It allows you to explore the wonderful world of camping, see new places, and breathe in some fresh air.
It’s also a great way to bond with your dog. Take your pup on bike rides and enjoy the time spent together, away from it all.
The one problem is that if you’re not careful, biking can also be challenging for your dog, and you’ll risk injuring them without knowing it. If you ignore your dog’s needs and ride too harshly or erratically, your pet could end up seriously injured or negatively impacted later on down the road.
And this is where a dog bike trailer comes in. They provide a safe and fun way for your dog to come along on your bike rides without causing any harm or danger to your best friend.
The team at Klapstar.com loves dogs just as much as we love outdoor activities. That is why we wanted to create the ultimate guide on how you can bring your dog along on your outdoor adventures using a dog bike trailer.
You will learn how to know if this is right for you, how to get started, and how to choose the right dog bike trailer. We have also reviewed some dog bike trailers to make sure you get good recommendations from real professionals.
Table of Contents
- How To Know If Riding a Bike With A Dog Trailer Is Right For You
- Getting Your Dog Ready For The Challenge
- Level Up: Ignoring Distractions
- Teach Your Dog How To Run Alongside Your Bike
- What You Have To Check Before Your First Ride
- Helpful Gear & Accessories
- Dog Bike Trailers: A Lifehack For You And Your Dog
How To Know If Riding a Bike With A Dog Trailer Is Right For You
Before starting this journey, you need to determine whether or not to go on bike rides with your dog; using a dog trailer is suitable for both you and your dog. After a long (and fun) brainstorming session within our team and asking experts outside Klapstar, we created a list of questions you need to ask yourself.
First of all, how committed are you?
Going on trips with a dog bike trailer includes a lot of physical training. If you are not in shape, your dog will depend on you dedicating more time getting into shape. If you know that you are committed to this, you can go ahead and ask these questions on behalf of yourself and your dog:
- Do we both like to run around exploring new places?
- Can I control my dog when he is excited by something interesting – traffic, people, other animals, etc.?
- When the dog suddenly wants to get out, do I have problems controlling or stopping my dog?
- Is my dog at least 30 lbs / 14 kg and one year of age?
- Do I have a bike, helmet, and the time to spend quality time with my dog?
If you are committed and ticked off most of these questions, maybe taking your dog on a bike ride is something for you! If not, consider just walking together or some other activities.
Getting Your Dog Ready For The Challenge
When going on long bike rides, it’s evident that we need to be in shape. However, it can be a bit more difficult knowing how to prepare your dog.
The first thing you will have to do is teach your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel. Once they master these, you can start with the following exercises. These are important to have in place before you begin biking with your dog.
Make sure your dog can listen to commands and give him a toy or favorite treat when he obeys. The goal is that he will understand that it pays off to listen, not only when out on the bike.
The Self-Control Game
Play the “Hold it” game, where the dog learns to hold on to a favorite toy until he gets released by you. Teach your dog not to take an offered toy before you release him, but only then! Again, this is important for developing self-control and impulse control.
Practice the release cue so that your dog knows that it will be rewarded with something extraordinary when he comes to you. The release cue can be any cue that tells the dog that it’s OK for him to play again – perhaps “FETCH” or “READY!”. Teach this using a favorite toy and play together at home.
Level Up: Ignoring Distractions
Once you have these basic commands and self-control in your dog, it is time to start with more advanced exercises. These will help you to bike with your dog!
Perfecting the self-control game
This game will teach your dog to listen to you even when there are distractions around. Please pick up a 6-foot leash and attach it to your dog’s regular collar, but do not let go of the leash. Keep a short loose leash where you have control over your dog at all times.
If possible, start with an area familiar to your dog so that he does not have to focus on new surroundings.
The two of you will play the self-control game for short periods (5-10 min). You may need to end a session before your dog is ready if he can’t handle distractions. That’s OK. Make sure you end on a positive note and do not let your dog drag you around.
Give your dog the COME command, and then take up a position where you and your dog is facing each other. Show him a favorite toy or treat and lure him to sit in front of you with the toy/treat.
Take up a position about 10 feet away from your dog, in a place with distractions around you. Start calling your dog in an excited voice while running backward away from your dog, “FETCH…. COME….. FETCH”. Throw the toy/treat when he comes running to you and then start running away again, repeating the same calls. Repeat this several times until your dog is “addicted” to the game. When your dog gets better at it, vary the position of the toy/treat and run in different directions around you.
If your dog has trouble focusing on you with distractions around or cannot listen to you with excitement, then end the session before he gets too excited.
- If your dog understands the COME command and the self-control game, try this exercise with you standing still. First, call your dog in a happy voice while playing by himself, then walk backward a few paces and throw his toy/treat for him to fetch. Practice until your dog comes running to you from about 10 feet away, whatever you do.
- Once your dog has got good at this, try the exercise when walking away from him. Make sure that he understands that when you stop and call him, it means to come running up to you.
This exercise will help your dog focus on you and learn to obey the COME command, even when there are distractions around. You can practice this everywhere, and it is a lot of fun! If your dog gets excited quickly, end the session before he gets too excited, and do not drag him around by his collar. Always end on a positive note!
The “LEAVE IT” Command With Distractions.
With a 6 foot leash attached to your dog’s collar, do the following exercise.
Take up a position about 10 feet away from your dog where there are distractions around. Show him a favorite toy or treat and lure him into a sit in front of you with it.
Give your dog the COME command, and then give him his favorite toy or treat.
While he is eating the toy/treat, back away with your hand outstretched and call his name “LEAVE IT…. LEAVE IT …… !” in an excited voice.
Do NOT look at him or watch him. When your dog drops the toy/treat, praise him quietly but calmly for doing so.
Practice this several times until your dog has reasonable control over his “leave it” command.
You can practice with you standing still or walking away from him. When you can walk up to your dog and ask for the toy/treat without him grabbing it, then try releasing it back on the floor within his reach (he should NOT take it).
Repeat this several times until your dog has reasonable control over the “leave it” command.
- Once he has learned to focus on you and leave things when asked, then gradually build up the time, you ask him to leave a toy/treat before giving it back to him again.
The key in all of these exercises is to end on a positive note. Never drag your dog around by his collar; always let him come up to you and never discipline or punish your dog when training. It should be a positive learning process where he feels safe and relaxed.
Teach Your Dog How To Run Alongside Your Bike
The key to training is patience and consistency. It takes time for your dog to learn commands and new tasks. Make sure that you spend lots of time with your dog; positive training is the most fun way for both of you!
- To teach your dog to run with you when riding a bike, tie a 6-foot leash to his collar and attach the other end to the back of your bike seat. Only use this method when you are in an area where cars cannot come or if you want to go for a ride on the beach! If you teach him in a place with cars, make sure that you keep him on a long leash and away from the road.
- Make your dog understand that when he pulls at the lead, it leads to discomfort. Your dog will learn this very quickly, and once he realizes that tugging at the information is no fun, he will learn to run next to you instead. Again, make sure that you end your training on a positive note!
- Practice with treats every day until he learns the exercise well. Start by walking slowly and then build up the pace gradually. Walking is much easier for dogs (and their owners) than running, so teaching them to run with you takes longer.
- Once he can run next to you, keep him on a 6-foot leash and attach it to the back of your bike seat again if you wish. Let him run along with you while you cycle slowly in circles in the same area. If he gets too close or tries to grab your tires, then stop immediately and give him some slack on the leash. Sometimes controlling with sudden movements will scare him, and he will learn to stay away from your bike. Practice this for up to 30 minutes at a time (if you can) because dogs get tired quickly and should not be overworked. Keep up your training at least once a day, but do not overdo it.
- For you and your dog to have fun while running, get a bike with a basket attached so that you can put toys or treats in it! Your dog will then run happily beside you, thinking about what he will get when he obeys!
- Make sure that you end your training on a positive note (i.e., with praise and encouragement) and pet your dog on the head when he gets back to you. He will learn very quickly if you are patient!
Dog training is an enjoyable way to build a bond between yourself and your dog while teaching them new things at the same time.
Any training should be done in a safe environment and always end on a positive note. Your dog will love you for the time you spend teaching him new things and the fun he will have!
What You Have To Check Before Your First Ride
Before you and your dog start your first biking outdoor adventure, be sure to check a few things.
Check Your Dogs Health
Assure that your dog is healthy and fit enough for this kind of exercise. Not all dogs can do it! Ensure that you avoid heatstroke by only exercising in the cooler hours of the day (mornings or evenings).
You might also want to check in with your vet and ask them to check for heart and breathing problems (it’s the same as in the case of a very active dog).
Remember that if you’re biking with your dog, you pretty much become responsible for their safety too! Riding a bike is quite an athletic activity, and you need to make sure your dog is at least as physically fit as you are.
Otherwise, they might get sick or injured from carrying their body weight for miles and miles (remember that dogs aren’t designed for walking too far!). Also, remember that if your dog does get sick or injured, it’s up to you to help them! You can’t just wait for a veterinarian to show up.
Ask Experienced Dog Bikers
Before you set out on your first ride, talk with other experienced dog bikers and ask them about their experiences. Find out from them what worked and what didn’t from their point of view.
Some riders would recommend tying the leash to the seat post so that it doesn’t interfere with your pedaling but still gives the dog enough freedom so they can run alongside you. Others would recommend a special kind of biking harness that will keep your dog’s body close to yours.
Be sure to find out how much distance they covered with their dog(s) from other bikers. The more experienced bikers might even be able to help you choose the right breed for biking.
Check Out Good Places To Go
Next, find out where you can go! Some people might not mind going on roads with their dogs, but some roads are too dangerous (lots of traffic, no bike paths). To find out before you head out where the best routes are for biking with your dog.
Start off exercising in quiet areas and slowly but surely work yourself towards busier roads. When working with a young or older dog, do not go very far at all, to begin with!
Helpful Gear & Accessories
No special equipment is necessary to start biking with your dog, but some gadgets might make things easier for both you and your dog.
The simplest thing you can do is attach your dog’s leash (Sponsored) under the seat to hang down in front of the bike. This way, your dog doesn’t get tangled in the handlebars or pedals.
Another popular solution is to use a bike harness that attaches around your dog’s body and has rings on both sides (one for the leash and another for your bike).
Most biking harnesses are designed to work with the leash attached on the right side (it will interfere less with your pedaling or braking), but some people prefer to connect it on the left side (this way, you can use your right hand instead of your left to control the dog while biking).
Most dog harnesses (Sponsored) also have a top handle, making it easy to grab hold of your dog if you need to slow down or stop. Not all dogs will respond well to the idea of attaching the leash/harness to your bike frame (some might pull or resist), but those who don’t mind it can feel safe and secure knowing that they can’t escape.
Also, some harnesses and dog leashes (Sponsored) are designed especially for biking with dogs, while others are intended to be used mainly on walks. The right choice depends on how you’re planning to use your dog! Make sure that the harness is fitted correctly around your dog’s body so it won’t chafe or irritate them in any way.
Portable Dog Water Bottle
Another handy accessory for biking is a reliable dog water bottle (Sponsored). Dogs can quickly get dehydrated even on short rides, so make sure you provide your four-legged friend with enough water during your ride (bring some along in your backpack or attached to the bike itself).
Some dog water bottles come with additional features – they can combine multiple gadgets: water cup, food storage cup, poop shovel, and garbage bag storage.
Pet Travel Bag
What do you think about a long ride? Don’t forget about a pet travel bag. It’s the best solution if you’re planning to go on a road trip or cross-country cycling with your dog! There are many options out there. Such a bag is a perfect way to take all you need with you: dog food, toys, collapsible bowls, and much more!
Some small dogs like riding in a bike basket. Even if that is not the case with your friend, a bike basket can still be a valuable dog accessory – you can store treats and toys there and have easy access to whatever your need.
Dog Bike Trailers: A Lifehack For You And Your Dog
If you want to go on long trips, your dog won’t learn how to run alongside your bike, or your dog’s health isn’t suitable enough for the trips you want to take, a bike trailer for dogs quickly becomes the biggest lifehack for both of you.
They come in many different sizes. Bigger trailers can carry a lot of weight and will be perfect for long trips, while smaller ones will give you more portability and comfort (and they’re cheaper too!).
Most dog bike trailers attach to the back of bikes or trikes, but some also offer unique solutions like hitch attachments or removable storage attached to bikes or scooters.
With the variety of options out there, we wanted to include a guide on choosing a dog bike trailer to make it easier for you to navigate the market.
How To Choose A Dog Bike Trailer
Buying a dog bike trailer can be more challenging than you might think. It’s not an impulse purchase but will require some research and effort to find the right product for your family situation. There are several factors to consider when choosing between brands and models.
1. The Size Of Your Dog (or dogs)
A small, frail dog will not fare well in an unsupported bike trailer or travois. If you have a large, strong dog who loves being with you on your bike, then the choice will be more straightforward. Small dogs are best off in a buggy pulled behind the bicycle rather than towed behind it. This way, they are lower to the ground and better able to enjoy the view.
2. Age Of Your Dog
As with humans, dogs become more fragile as they age. Older dogs may not be up for an hour or more of strenuous activity like young ones can handle. They also are at risk of injury (such as arthritis) that the bouncing movement could aggravate. Different models offer different levels of suspension. The most basic trailers do not provide any suspension- they are rigid, similar to a child trailer. Better quality trailers will have some form of shock-absorbing system (air-filled tires or flexing panels), which can make them easier on your dog’s joints during longer rides.
3. The Fitness Level Of The Person Pulling The Dog
If you are already an avid mountain biker who spends hours riding the trails, then pulling a trailer with your dog is not going to be too much of a stretch. However, if you are new to exercise or bicycling, lugging around a heavy bike trailer can make for an awkward experience. In an unsupported bike trailer, your dog’s weight becomes just another load to manage. Extra weight means extra effort. Consider the terrain you’ll be riding over and your fitness level before deciding which product to buy–or whether one at all will work for you.
4. Type Of Riding
An unsupported trailer gives your dog the benefit of being able to move around more freely. However, they are not easy for a cyclist to control. An unsupported trailer can make steering a bicycle difficult and frustrating.
Front-wheel suspension is not necessary on a smooth, flat surface other than to help dampen the ride for your dog. Front-wheel suspensions are more likely to cause problems when riding off-road or over bumpy trails where wheel slippage can be an issue.
If you will be going over bumpy trails or riding off-road, it’s recommended that your dog is in a supported trailer instead of at risk of being bounced out of the back end!
The more stable the trailer, the better it is for high-speed riding and bumpy trails with poor traction conditions. A front wheel that pivots is less durable than a front wheel that is fixed in place. A trailer with a broad wheelbase has more support and is less likely to tip over than a narrow frame with wheels at the end of short suspension arms. If your bike tends to wobble or weave from side to side too much, then you may want to look for products with features that will reduce slippage.
6. Dog’s Temperament
Some dogs are more tolerant of being in a trailer for long periods, while others cannot stand it. If you have a dog prone to running off when not restrained, an unsupported bike trailer may not be a good choice if your dog bolts from the rear end of the trailer; an unprotected bicycle wheel or handlebars may injure them. If your dog tends to dart around in the back of the trailer, you should consider which product will be more straightforward for your pup to adapt to–a rear-loading buggy or a front-loading bike trailer?
7. Size And Strength Of Bicycle
You don’t want to buy a trailer with 20″ wheels if you are riding a full-suspension mountain bike. On the other hand, if your bicycle has small-diameter wheels, that could also present problems. The axle width on the trailer should be about the same size as your bicycle’s front axle–this will provide better support and control when stopped or riding at slow speeds.
Not all products are created equal, and they don’t all come cheap! Expect to pay from $150-$600 for a quality product depending on your needs. Front-loading bike trailers tend to be less expensive than trailer hitches, while the most rigid frame designs add high costs over basic models. Consider what features and materials will be most important to you and how long you plan on using your new dog hauler before making a purchase decision.
9. Ease Of Use
It would help if you considered whether you would be able to load and unload your dog with a carrier that has a front door. If not, then a rear-loading buggy is probably best for ease of use. The less complicated you want/need your product to be, the less it will cost–but if you want things like shock absorbers, suspension, and the ability to fix flats on the fly, then expect to pay more for these features.
10. Manufacturer’s Reputation
Other riders have tested popular dog hauling products from well-known companies, so you know what problems might be familiar with a specific product line. Please do your research and find out what problems other owners have had with a product before buying it. The company can usually correct a few minor problems here and there, but you don’t want to purchase a trailer with major structural flaws that cannot be easily repaired or replaced.
The Best Dog Bike Trailers On The Market
To make the hunt for a perfect bike trailer for dogs easier for you, we have reviewed over 30 models recommended to us and selected the ones we believe are the best ones on the market. You should be able to find a good fit for you and your four-legged friend.
Burley Tail Wagon Dog Trailer
This is a very stable and durable all-terrain trailer that has plenty of room for your pup to ride comfortably. It has 16″ pneumatic rubber wheels, an adjustable canopy with a viewing window, and locks to keep your dog securely inside. The four tie-down loops are located on the floor (and won’t scratch your bike frame).
This Burley model has the most features of any dog hauler on this list, but it is also one of the more expensive products you can buy. If your furry friend is well-behaved and loves to go biking with you, then why not enjoy some quality time together inside a high-quality product?
Retrospec Rover Waggin’ Pet Bike Trailer
Retrospec’s Rover Waggin’ Pet Bike Trailer is a rear-loading bike trailer that accommodates dogs up to 50 pounds. The mesh material on the side panels provides plenty of ventilation without compromising security.
Quality is high as long as you don’t overload the product with weight or overstuff your dog’s carrying bag. A challenging and well-made product from a reputable company!
Schwinn Rascal Bike Pet Trailer
The Schwinn Rascal Bike Pet Trailer is a stylish dog trailer that holds up to 50 pounds. The sturdy metal frame provides support, while this product’s 16″ pneumatic tires are easy to inflate at the gas station for extra miles on your trip. An adjustable canopy offers shade or protection from wind, rain, and snow, depending on the season.
This is a higher-end product with tons of space (can hold up to additional 12 lbs. of gear). This might be the perfect choice for bikers who want to enjoy biking in all seasons or live in areas known for extremely hot or cold weather during certain parts of the year.
PetSafe Happy Ride Aluminum Dog Bike Trailer
This PetSafe product is a durable and flexible model suitable for biking, running, and hiking. The aluminum alloy construction allows this dog bike trailer to be lightweight, while the low center of gravity ensures that your pup will stay safe during travel.
The non-rusting frame folds flat, which makes this product extremely portable. It also has a mesh floor that’s easy to keep clean and provides good ventilation. Three pockets on the outside of the trailer allow you to bring your pup’s leash, treats, water, and poop bags along on your adventure.
Booyah Dog Stroller & Pet Bike Trailer
Booyah’s Dog Stroller and Trailer is a versatile and affordable model used in various ways. This convenient product comes with everything you need: a sturdy frame, wheels, safety belts, and a canopy boot to protect your dog from the sun.
The product is made from weather-resistant materials, and the thick mesh allows for excellent ventilation.
This trailer can be used as a stroller or bike trailer, making it one of the most versatile products on this list.
Booyah Dog Stroller & Pet Bike Trailer comes in 4 sizes so that you can choose the dog trailer accurate for your pet’s size:
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bike Trailers
We believe we have covered most of the questions you may have, but if there are more things you want to know about going on a bike ride with your dog or dog bike trailers, you are likely to find the answer in our section with the most frequently asked questions.
Is a dog bike trailer safe?
As long as you attach your dog’s leash to the special canine seat belt when using it in traffic, I would say that most models are safe. It gives you peace of mind knowing that your pup is in good hands while allowing him to get some exercise in a fun way!
How much does a dog bike trailer cost?
Most of the models on the market range from 250 to 600 USD depending mainly on the brand, design, and size. However, if you don’t have a lot of space at home or in your car for storing it, I would recommend choosing a foldable model, so it doesn’t take up too much room when not in use.
What are the benefits of dog bike trailers?
It allows you to socialize your dogs with other people and pets, which they usually wouldn’t do! If you don’t have time for long walks or hikes, biking is a great way to allow them to get some exercise while using up some of their energy.
It is also suitable for your mental health! Biking is an excellent way of spending time alone without being isolated from the world. I would recommend avoiding walking or running because biking will provide your dog with more excitement, simply because it’s done at higher speeds.
Most models are foldable for easy storage and transportation, mainly if you have limited space at home or in your car. In addition, you can easily clean them, so it doesn’t become a chore to clean after every trip with your furry friend!
What are the different types of dogs bike trailers?
There are three categories of dog bike trailers that are more popular on the market.
- Single model for one dog with a transportable floor area. This type of model is generally lighter than others, and they provide good ventilation inside since most of them have mesh sides to allow airflow through it. They can be set up very quickly; you need to unzip the cover and attach it to your bicycle.
- Multiple dog bike trailer with storage compartment. This type of model is great for people who have two or more dogs of the same breed. They usually have a roof that prevents hot air from entering in the summer and protects from the rain in winter. In addition, they often have mesh on all sides to provide good airflow and vision for your doggies.
- Modular dog bike trailers that can be customized based on need. This type of model might come with a removable floor, roof, and mesh sides, depending on your preference. They also provide similar features mentioned above and often include accessories like waterproof bags (for storing toys, treats, etc.) for easy storage.
Do I need to buy an expensive super-quality model?
No! There are many affordable alternatives on the market that are good enough for most dogs. Of course, if you have championship show dogs or your dog is hefty, you might want to invest in a quality model that will be able to hold the load.
What are my options?
As I have mentioned before, there are many different bike trailers for dogs that you can choose from. When it comes to size, there is no perfect formula for this – it’s all depending on the build and structure of your dog. However, most manufacturers list the dimensions of dog bike trailers in their product descriptions. It’s good to know your dog’s weight, breed, and size before getting one.
Some brands offer a modular design that will allow you to extend the length of the trailer if necessary by simply adding an extension piece that weighs around 6 lbs (2,7 kg). That is especially useful if you have a small dog that will grow into a full-sized one.
You must attach your dog’s harness to the special canine seat belt of the bike trailer. This way, it will be one hundred percent safe for him while enjoying his ride in it.
Why are there so many types of bike trailers for dogs?
There is a variety of different models for various needs and budgets. Some models are made to carry one dog, others – for two or more dogs. Some people also use regular dog carriers that they attach to their bicycle’s handlebar.