10 Tips: How to Train a Trail Dog

Aug 29, 2015
by Lacy Kemp  
Roscoe the trail dog Photo by Ian Coble

Fewer things bring a smile to a mountain biker’s face then a well-trained trail dog. The best of the best can scrub jumps like a world cup racer, take ninja inside lines, stay right on your wheel, and wag their tails with pure delight at the end of a great descent. Training a trail dog takes time, but if done well, you’ll always have a buddy ready to ride with you, no matter what Ma Nature may have in mind. The old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may hold true, as it’s best to groom younger dogs for riding. Considering training your pup? Here are a few tips:

Tip 1: Start ‘em young, but not too young. While training puppies new things is typically easier than older dogs, it is crucial you don’t run your puppy too hard at too young of an age. Experts suggest waiting until the puppy is about 8 months old before you start running them longer distances. If eight months seems like forever, consider starting with shot hikes in the woods with your dog. This will get them familiar with the type of terrain you’ll bike on. Hike on trails with obvious paths so they understand how to follow a trail. Keep them on a leash and heeling close to you so they know to stay near. Once they become comfortable with your pace and surroundings (and don’t have a tendency to bolt), let them off leash. Give them vocal queues to keep them near you, and reward them for doing so. Jog a little bit to see if they are apt to keep up with you. If not, put them back on the leash and jog with them so they understand that they need to stay with you.

Tip 2: Once comfortable off leash try playing hide and seek. This may seem silly, but there may be occasions when you outride your dog and you’re separated. Instead of panicking that you’ve lost each other, a quick game of hide and seek will have you reunited in no time! Go back to the familiar paths where your dog first learned to walk off leash. Have the dog sit and stay while you go hide behind a tree, out of site. Once hidden, whistle, or yell, “OK!” When the dog finds you, reward him again so he knows he’s always supposed to find you.

Roscoe the trail dog Photo by Ian Coble

Tip 3: Teaching your dog how to drink out of a hydration pack is a great way to ensure he stays hydrated on warmer days. There’s not much magic to this, but ensure you can keep a consistent stream of water coming from the hose so Fido gets adequately hydrated. Practice at home before you hit the trails on hot days.

Tip 4: Speaking of hot days- don’t run your dog long distances on days that are too hot. There’s no magic number, but use your common sense. If there aren’t constant streams for your dog to rest in and recharge, don’t take him if it’s too hot.

Tip 5: When ready to move to the bike, start by taking your dog on short rides on your bike while leashed. This can be dangerous, so make sure you’re confident on holding a leash while your dog runs alongside. Make sure the leash is long enough so your dog won’t get too close to your wheel. One thing I do is attach the loop of the handle to my chest strap on my hydration pack. That way if he pulls, he’s pulling from my center of mass and not likely to pull me off of my bike. Go slow at first until you’re able to have your dog trot alongside you without having him pull.

Tip 6: When your dog is comfortable running alongside you on a leash, take him back to the trails you first learned to walk in the woods off leash. While on your bike, have the dog sit. Unleash him and keep him seated. When you’re ready to go, start slow and call for him. If he gets in front of you, immediately give the command, “follow,” and stop and place him behind you. Reward him for getting behind you, so he understands he needs to stay out of the way. Most dogs understand this quite easily, but repeating the behavior until he grasps it will ensure better behavior when on a longer ride or with a group.

Tip 7: Once you’ve mastered your local stomping grounds, take him on a longer ride. The same rules apply. Leash him until you’re ready to go, then ensure he’s following alongside. As he gets more comfortable on more rides he will learn to explore and come back to you. Practice the “hide and seek” rule on rides, too, to reinforce that behavior.

Roscoe the trail dog Photo by Ian Coble


Tip 8: The best rides for your dogs are rides that aren’t incredibly fast. Remember, they’re running the entire thing. A 20-mile ride for you is a massive day for your dog. Try to take him on rides with multiple water sources. Try to stay away from super hard packed, steep descents. This type of terrain is bad on the hips and joints for your dog. Just like us, dogs love the loam!

Tip 9: After a long day of riding, give your dog a massage. Have him lie on one side and massage his hips and shoulders. Stretch his legs. Make sure to do both sides. Just like people, dogs need to recover from a big day on the bike. Choose your dogs rides wisely. Don’t run him every day, and give ample resting time between big runs.

Tip 10: Make sure he knows how great of a job he’s doing. In between segments, stop and tell him he’s a good boy! Dogs love to be rewarded verbally and will always appreciate the positive reinforcement. But the most important thing of all, have fun!

Roscoe the trail dog Photo by Ian Coble
(Roscoe making sure I'm taking the proper line down an old rock roll.)

(Good) photos by Ian Coble

Archer the trail dog


MENTIONS: @lacykemp



241 Comments

  • + 247
 What about cats? I want a trail cat, please give me tips.
  • + 152
 trail cat would hide in the trees and leap into your full face when you pass by. trust me.
  • + 4
 Start them very young in a trailer, then try some slow rides around the house and expand from there. They are more likely to stick with you if they are hungry because they are traditionally independent. Tabby is the best breed.
  • + 90
 I think those are called mtn lions.
  • + 8
 cat in a camelbak
  • - 6
flag defineindecline (Aug 29, 2015 at 21:45) (Below Threshold)
 This shit right here.
  • + 47
 I think cats found find a chill spot to hang and passively make fun of your skills and suspension setup.
  • + 12
 what about crocodiles ? I want a trail crocodile, please give me tips
  • + 87
 "I want a trail cat, please give me tips" ....Acquire a jacked up 4x4, preferably diesel, even tho you never tow anything....or go offroad. Load up your bike and an extra one...preferably with some pink or purple spokie-dokes. Go to a Country Bar or a locals only kinda suburban Pub at 3pm on a Tuesday. The one that's a little too easy to chat up, about 36yrs old in low light...46 in high...Once she has a buzz on, bring up everything awesome about mountain biking. She'll say something like "OMG, omg...I always wanted to try that! I almost bought a bike and everything but my a-hole ex-husband...well, I won't bore you about him." You say Thx. Ask her to go ride, you haz spare bike. She'll say "What about the seats? I heard they're bad for, ya know, your private parts?" You say "Naw...they make Vagduro and Sackduro specific seats now-a-days...no worries". BAM!...you'll be irresistible and she'll go to a trail with you....there you go, Trail Cat... A.K.A....Cougar
  • + 7
 @loopie you shark
  • + 2
 he'll just give you a grumpy look trust me
  • + 15
 I love a little trail pussy!
  • + 32
 I see trail pussies at my local trail spot all the time. All standing there looking at the gap jump.
  • + 2
 Find one of those bike trailers for kids, itll be perfect
  • + 2
 True story.. took in a 4 week old kitten 3 weeks ago because I'm a pushover and soft. She's been on two weekend long camping trips in Utah and Nevada and been on 3 or 4 bouldering days since I've had her. She follows me around in the desert pretty well and now comes running when I call her, and yes it's better when she's a little hungry. Whenever I come back from a ride she gets psyched and starts playing around on the tires and all that so obviously the next step is to rig my pack and take her riding. Dean Potter took his dog BASE jumping, so what the hell.. Worst case scenario? Pack full of pee (need a new one anyway), or OTB disaster (jedis never OTB).

(I'm not a jedi).
  • + 2
 check out @pnwcathikes on instagram for a trail cat
  • + 121
 I used to bike with my dog when she was younger. I learned a few valuable things from my vet. The most important being dogs are sprinters. Anything over 2 to 3 miles of consistent running is too much for a dog. Their anatomy is not built to sustain long distance performance like our bodies are. Even sled dogs trot and slow jog for long durations of time during races. I would typically stop everyone mile or less to see how she was doing and let her drink, cool off and catch her breath. Make sure to give your dog proper and wholesome foods and supplement their diet with a multivitamin to help with their joints and to keep them performing at their best! Also, giving dogs ice or ice cold water can cause stomach spasms in large chested breeds, but most breeds are fine with ice and cold water. The last tip I could think of is to not let your dog drink too much water at once. Control how much they drink so they do not over drink and puke the water back up. Oh, one last thing, keep in mind your dog can run itself to death trying to keep up with you! You are their whole life and they will push themselves beyond their limits to keep up with you! Be vigilant and stay safe!
  • + 13
 Completely agree with you, and sadly I see many people with trail dogs grinding a tough pace and really hurting their companions. I have a 140 lb bloodhound, he can easily do 10-12 miles on a very slow cadence, however throw in a couple high output sprint (DH) and he maybe can do 3 miles before he is gassed.

For SOCal folks; the rattle snake vaccine works great, they buy you a few hours to get to the vet, worth every penny!

General trailing tip: all dogs can sniff very well, train them to follow your smell and if they loose sight it isn't no big deal, they pick the sent up and keep rolling!
  • + 8
 Is anyone able to list ideal trail dog breeds? As well as any common misconceptions, e.g; dogs that might seem like good potential trails dogs but are not all.
  • + 14
 I think that my border collie thinks she's to smart for "normal" trail dog stuff. While I'm flying down a trail, she disappears into the woods, and is waiting for me at the bottom. She is very weird and unusually wayward for a border collie, but she can always find me or her way home even in a new place. Too late to train her to be the model trail dog, but our system works great for us.
  • + 6
 I have an australian shepherd and since he is a herding dog he is awesome at staying with me. I've never ever had him run off. I don't ride with him much because he can out run me if I'm pedaling hard in my highest gear. Also herding dogs will have the instinct to try and guide you to whichever location they see fit, so sometimes the purposefully get too close to you. It's fine running, but makes me worry about clipping my dog with a pedal.
  • + 2
 Just ride with your foot on the outside of the pedal a little bit. They actually like bumping into it when running beside you. My dogs favorite spot to be, although I sometimes put fresh tracks on the sides of the trails.
  • + 4
 I have a Border Colie also, Super smart dog, can find me no matter how far we are apart. In fact most times he just bolts of in front of me and Is waiting up ahead, especially on the climbs. They have an insane amount of stamina and endurance as they are bread to keep sheep at bay during long herding periods. However they have very peculiar mentality and are common to be very shy around strangers and have a "lose bolt in there heads", not all are like that but it is common. I have noticed living in Spain that during the warm months there stamina is goes total downhill as they are double coated but I guess this is with most dogs.
  • + 4
 Some breeds indeed are sprinters, others not. Mine is a Finnish lappland reindeerdog, or whatever the hell the english name is. That thing just never runs out of steam (if its not too hot). She's about 40 lb and looks alot like a border collie. The breed has been used to heard reindeer in the fells for 200 years or so. Now picture how much you have to run to heard reindeer... lots. 3 months old i took her with me xc skiing the first time, 20 miles 1,5 hours and still sprinted past me to the car. There is no way i can tire her unless i'd only ride dirtroads with a crossbike for a few hours. Too much heat of course is dangerous.
Shepherd dogs in general should be pretty good traildogs, since they want to keep you close and dont really care that much about hunting squirrels, birds and moose. And if you havent seen a huntingdog or a shepherd in real action you really have no clue how much those animals can run.
  • + 12
 Australian cattle dog mix, I am going to have to disagree about the first comments of the generalization of dogs being sprinters. To argue with a case study, he has done over 1500 kms this year and roughly 6000kms since i adopted him 3ish years ago. Proper diet, hydration on and after the trail, along with some joint meds. keep his weight down over the winter is also important. We ride 3 -4 days a week. It is what he is meant to do. Working dogs are working dogs. Period. If it is the case though, personally I would rather him retire from biking then just sit around the house all day and end up like every other dog i know. On the trail he either leads or is right of my drive side tire. In a group he likes to be behind the first rider , which could me a km away from me Wink . I make him wear a bell in case he does get lost. Great opinions though, Dog and trail and rider must be considered in the equations. By way of comparison my adopted 5 year old 120pound Italian Mastiff, has two bad hips and tendinitis on her left knee. Has maybe done 100kms of slow technical trails over the last five years. Not a trail dog. Just bread for stupid people to have a dog that looks like it could kill someone. Different breeds for different needs. Adopt Dont Shop.
  • + 5
 Yes some dogs can run long distances like you guys have mentioned but the average mutt should not. The herding breeds were bred for it and you seem to be doing a great job taking care of him or her. Like every generalization there are exceptions.

I maybe should have been more specific. 10 or so miles per hour for a dog is not a fast pace. Especially in the winter dogs cool themselves mainly by panting and through their paws or just jumping into cold water. My last ride I averaged just over 18mph/29kmh over a 2.5ish hour period. That pace for that duration is too fast mid summer for my dog. I would have to stop quite often to let her drink and cool off. As I write this though I realize, dogs are as diverse as everyone of us. Some are top performers in the running category so just play it by ear and talk to your vet. Like @steve9train said ADOPT ADOPT ADOPT!!!!
  • + 2
 I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that has been an amazing trail (and lap) dog. He's about 6 years old and doesn't get out much anymore but between 1-5 years, my friends were constantly pissed when my super cute 16 lb dog with floppy ears would fly past them. No joke here - this little dude was crazy fast and handled some serious rides. It's all in how you train them (started very gradual as a puppy). The only thing that got old was people constantly asking if we carried him on rides because its so uncommon for his breed.
  • + 4
 Our Aussie was a total natural. We started him really young but never really us to do any training aside from teaching not to pass. He's fast and loves it always stays right on the rear wheel. Is think any herding dog would be great but I'm hugely biased towards the Aussie.
  • + 2
 JahWorks I hear you I have an English springer spaniel and boy can he run he loves to sprint but at the same time that is the problem he goes all out all the time even when I slow down he stops and waits and the off again until he can't see me. He is just over a year now and we have only done two or three very short rides together to see where I need to train him over the winter on the trails
  • + 1
 My Siberian husky was a good trail dog but took a lot of extra work to train off leash. I now have a brown mutt, about the size of my husky but longer legs and a thinner body, no idea what she is. She's 40lbs and 12 months old. She'll do 20 miles of trail and then just sprint right by me at will. She typically runs in "heal" right next to my dérailleur, she's the perfect mix of whatever breeds. She even has super tough pads. Rule of thumb has always been 10 miles or shorter under 75*. But she's done 20 on a few special occasions.
  • + 1
 Rattlesnake anti venom is a good idea....I'm going to see about getting some for my dog. As far as breeds go, mine is an Australian Labradoodle, about 35lbs and all legs. She hauls ass and can easily keep up for quite awhile.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the great suggestions guys. One thing I was hoping to read in the article but didn't was how you should go about training your dog to do it's business off the trail. Any tips?
  • + 2
 I got nothing for ya, I wish I did, but my dog has always just gone off trail on her own. I wouldn't take her if she shit on the trails.
  • + 2
 Shame them when they shit on trail... Next thing you know, they find a bush
  • + 1
 Hungarian Vizslas? I hear they are super intelligent, and because they are gun dogs they would have to be able to run a fair distance!
  • + 1
 Any herding breed is great. They're bred to last for longer distances than other breeds, are very obedient, very trainable, fast as fuck, very intelligent, and love to FOLLOW rather than lead. I've taken my Australian Shepherd both mtn biking and backcountry skiing. He's too old now though.
  • + 0
 You could give boiled and pulverised/crushed egg shells to your dog, I've given my lab egg shells for years now, they are a great calcium supplement, and really good for joints.
  • + 0
 Ive had pretty much every breed of trail dog....Kelpies, vizslas, blue heelers, pointers etc etc. By far the best breed Ive found is Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Theyre bred for plodding endurance. Don't need much food, or water thry just get it done. Good up against black bears too.
  • - 1
 oh and @m-t-g theres NO such thing as an Australian Labradoodle. Theres nothing Australian about them fella. So sorry.
  • + 4
 @GetMounted There's definitely a such thing as an Australian Labradoodle.....I have one. www.australianlabradoodleclub.us/about/about.htm
  • + 1
 @m-t-g: is your Australian labradoodle still making a good trail dog? I've just spotted one for sale.
  • + 2
 @samfr1000: Yep, she loves to run behind bikes. The biggest challenge is their hair vs fur of a normal dog, which catches debris and packs with snow/ice easier. But, they're smart, loyal, don't shed, and love to run.

Now if the local land managers weren't such a*sholes about it, she would get to go with me more often.
  • + 1
 @m-t-g: thank you for reply. I've just missed out on the last from a litter but I'm definitely interested, so I'll keep my eyes peeled for another one. Cheers.
  • + 2
 @kickstand1: I Know this is an Old Post. but I recently adopted a Siberian Husky, Iv been working with Him Basic stuff on walks and Hikes mostly I'm establishing a Bond as I Know that is the Foundation of Companionship with a dog. but On the Obedience side of things Iv been working on a good call back with a Long Training Leash I can Get him to sit and stay until I say Come, he is getting good at that. I also Take Him on Long Hikes some times having him Heal beside me then I will Put his Training Leash on and tell Him to go ahead, I will let Him walk ahead and then Randomly call Him back and Reward Him when he dose so. iv taken him on some short Rides with my Hands Free Leash so he has gotten used to the Bike and I have Just started to take Him bikejoring I got one of toughs bike antennas so he can run out front on single Track and It is Funn for the Both of us for now But i would Like to Eventually Trust Him off Lead on some Trails.. so do you have any further advice/tips? that would be Nice thank you.
  • + 2
 @allen87your-name-here: Sounds like you're doing all the right things. My husky was all about "working" if I could make her think she was working she was on it. If she thought she could go for a run and go smell the world, she was gone. Keep him working, keep his attention, keep the bond you're building. Be consistent. They're incredibly smart and great dogs, but they're a booger off leash at times.

Also, get micro chipped, and if you can find a reasonably priced GPS collar do it, no matter how good he is, no matter how well trained, there is always a chance as a husky he'll go off to the smell the world, so protect him by being able to find him again.
  • + 1
 @kickstand1: Thank you some good Tips and Yes he can be a Bugger his Main distraction is squirrels lol I will Defiantly look into a GPS Collar thank you I did not even think of that and Yes even if they Respond well most of the time Never let your Guard down with any Dog But for sure with Huskies lol very Independent and smart Breed..
  • + 95
 My dog has excellent trail etiquette. If I shout the command "Strava" she moves over to the side of the trail and let's me by no complaints.
  • + 121
 I just taught my dog to run trails solo and attach the gps to it. I can post times while I play Angry Birds back in the car.
  • + 9
 although i do sense a tad sarcasm i still feel like your being serious?
  • + 29
 I actually have a phone for my dog to run Strava she has her own account and everything, and yes she had a QOM or two...
  • + 1
 HOLY Fck Thats impresive 0.0
  • + 2
 That's fucking awesome. I hope you're serious
  • + 2
 I was mistaken I guess she doesn't have any QOM, But shes not far off either. I haven't been able to take her out lately due to her being ill.

ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb12629815/p4pb12629815.jpg
  • + 25
 Trail mice - require no training, can be kept in pockets or packs - useful for wiping sweat off goggles /glasses.
  • + 2
 Best comment I've ever read! Smile
  • + 17
 Nice article. But really, taking your dog out on the trail is not as good as hiking or running with the dog. You don't get the exertion that the dog must put out to keep up. It is really hard on the dog. Your dog will never complain or refuse to go out with you. It will be injured and never let you know. Just make sure that you empathize with the dog. Take your dog to the Vet for check ups to ensure you not doing irreparable harm to your best friend.
  • + 7
 Ever seen a dog chase a moose have you? They tend to get tired after about 12 hours, if the moose doesn't get shot first. Now go and give it a try if you can chase a moose/caribu/horse/cow or something with a bike.
  • + 1
 That's a little bit alarmist, albeit there are some good points that you have to allow them some rest/cool off time throughout, and getting feedback from the vet is a good thing. My dog LOVES going riding, and the vet has nothing but good things to say about her health.
  • + 1
 Depends on terrain. My average speed for a two hour ride in Whistler or North Van is only around 6 or 7 kph. Most trails are pretty soft and not too rocky. My labs have always been able to keep up but I do not take them out in heat and if it's dry like it has been this summer, we only do trails where we can access water for a drink and swim. And I watch his activity. Not too many consecutive long hard rides. Easy days in between just like for me. He's a smart dog and learned the trails fast. I should have called him Herbold because he always cuts the course.
  • + 0
 I have never seen a dog chase a moose but I have run from one.

Valid points but I have seen dogs that are so loyal and dedicated partners that they would do anything their owner asked from them. This includes doing things while injured. They do not have the same pain/self preservation inhibitors that we have. All I am saying is keep in mind your dog does not think like you do. We would say I am in too much pain, I am done. The dog says to itself why cannot my owner see that I hurt? Then you stop and give you dog attention which the dog appreciates. But yet again you ride on and your dog dutifully runs after you... Just make sure you empathize with your animal. They are amazing companions that deserve us treating them better than we treat ourselves...just saying.
  • + 12
 The ratio of shi#ty inconsiderate riders with bad trail manners to trail dogs of any kind (great or not) is probably 100-1. My Aussie is much less trouble than these idiots who'd "manual their 40lb dh rigs" over anything in their way, and takes up a lot less room. Too rad to share trail? You must be a real pro then, good luck at Rampage.
  • - 7
flag tobiusmaximum (Aug 30, 2015 at 2:24) (Below Threshold)
 Oh hi! Lol. Read the comment before mine buddy, put it in some context please. But you kinda make a relevant point to mine, most problematic dogs on trails belong to people who have already decided their dog is a) well trained, b) less trouble than other humans, and c) just as validly there. All I was saying was a) I don't know if your dog is well trained, b) most dog owners prefer their dog to other humans (fact) and c) if you're disrespectful enough to ruin people's day then I'm not going to care if it gets damaged when the option is hurt myself or another rider. Or do you think that these folk who drive into oncoming traffic to avoid an animal in the road, are right to do so? I don't.
  • + 5
 The point is about sharing the trail. If you're about to run over my dog, you'd have to blaze right through the 1 or 2 slower riders that he hangs at the back with sometimes, just behind them or between us. I coach MTB, and until they grow up and learn, most of the kids are a rolling hazard, too. Here in Whistler, if you think you're too fast to slow down ever, just wait 5 minutes and some chick might rip by you even faster.
  • + 0
 if I see your dog on trayl I cast it aside for reel boy
  • + 15
 Tie a bit of meat or sausage to your seatpost and they'll stay right with you, although if you slow down you may get jumped.
  • + 12
 My friends knee surgery cost more then his bike Love my dogs more then my bikes Trails are extremely hard on your dogs joints And there to happy to know when they have had enough There best off the trails and playing at the beach
  • + 9
 Dude there's a new invention. It's called punctuation.
  • + 9
 I'm very lucky. I wanted a trail dog so I got a Springer Spaniel based on some research. Drove 4 hours to get him from a top breeder. As soon as I got him home I tried it out up and down the sidewalk. That's all it took. He instantly knew what to do. He stays right by my left foot every time as long as the speed isn't too fast. The only trouble I've ever had was he was scared of getting in the truck until this summer. But if he ever runs off, all I have to do is get the bike. When he hears that freehub, he comes running. I've found any more than 4-5 miles is too much, and even then I only take him to trails where I know there are streams and creek crossings so he can cool off. It's true that dogs will push themselves beyond their limits to keep up with you if you let them.
  • + 8
 For those of you who are super anti-trail dog: if a trail allows dogs you have to be prepared to encounter a dog. Everyone has a right to the trail and if dogs are allowed they have the right to have their dog on that trail. It's that simple.

That said, for those who bike with their dogs: leash laws and other restrictions are there for a reason and sometimes that reason is for the dogs own good. If a trail doesn't allow dogs don't bring your dog. Others won't expect it and might even be using that trail because they really don't like dogs and want to avoid them. If a trail requires a leash it also isn't the greatest idea to take your dog on that trail. When a rider comes barreling down and you can't get your dog off the trail or out of their business that's a problem.

And last but not least... AT THE VERY LEAST BURRY THE DOG POOP OFF THE TRAIL. I've never understood why this is so hard. My dog is a huge pain and crops in at least three different spots everytime and I still pick it all up, so no excuses.
  • + 3
 Oddly enough my dog won't even pee on the trails, she does her business off in the underbrush, I am thankful she does, I hate dealing with someone poopies on the trail
  • + 11
 Yet horses are fully allowed to leave huge piles of shit in the middle of the trail and people are ok with it....
  • + 0
 Because it's grass mate. Chewed up grass. Kids can handle manure and be absolutely fine. Let your kids pick up dogshit? This is the kind of skewed logic that I came here to see.
  • + 3
 Cryptosporidium can be passed on from horse manure, so get off your high horse.
  • + 0
 I'll take my chances with manure thanks. You stick to dogshit.
  • + 3
 @tobiusmaximum How about you come pick up all the horse shit from my local trails then? Sounds like a perfect situation.
  • + 1
 You put me up and I'm there bud. I'll shovel shit for fellow bike riders. No sweat. Well, probably a bit of sweat.
  • + 10
 Cool blog my 2 dogs are too old now ,but they were great on trails and probably faster than me .miss not taking them
  • - 12
flag erikthefatty (Aug 29, 2015 at 21:13) (Below Threshold)
 You miss not taking them? Do you force them to run every ride with you now or just stuff them in a backpack?
  • + 9
 Not the usual article but I really liked it. I love having a trail dog with me and a well trained one makes it that much better.
  • + 6
 Came here to read the 'leave them at home' comments. Wasn't disappointed. I love dogs, but ride with them on empty trails or leave them at home. Because the bottom line is, when someone is ripping, they don't know if you've trained your dog properly.. and most civilised/sensible people are not prepared to find out by killing themselves, or your dog. It's just plain off-putting. Tbh, if I run over your dog because it was in the middle of the trail, you're the a*shole for causing me the inevitable guilt, not me for causing you huge vet bills or a dead dog.
  • + 17
 In order to hit my trail dog you would have to literally ride through me because he runs with his nose about 2 feet behind my rear tire and just a bit to the left.
For every dog that has given me an issue on a trail there have been 100 bikers/hikers that are far worse...
Pro Tip: If it isn't a closed race course, it is a safe bet you will have to avoid other trail users. Ride in control.
  • - 6
flag iqbal-achieve (Aug 30, 2015 at 0:44) (Below Threshold)
 Then the issue would be not so much that I may hit your dog but you're holding a whole load of people up going slow enough that your dog can keep up. Leave them at home or at least keep them off the fast trails, take em on the recreational and family trails. Ride in control!? Might as well just end it now.
  • - 6
flag tobiusmaximum (Aug 30, 2015 at 2:33) (Below Threshold)
 The 'my dog is less trouble than some humans' thing doesn't wash with me. Because I know it almost always stems from a standpoint of 'I prefer my doggy to other humans'. Also, if your dog is always at your wheel.. Then I dare say you and your dog are not the problem bud. I would wonder how it stays on your wheel though, not really feasible unless it's a bionic wolf, or you're hurting it. Or if like Thom said, you ride slowly.
  • - 4
flag pigman65 (Aug 30, 2015 at 3:08) (Below Threshold)
 Regardless of blame , if anyone hit and injured my dog , I'd be going to jail
  • - 5
flag tobiusmaximum (Aug 30, 2015 at 3:16) (Below Threshold)
 Are we missing a vital part of that statement? Or is there legislation that makes you culpable for your dog getting hurt? I think I know, just checking.
  • + 9
 So when you catch a slower rider on the trail you just run into them?
  • - 5
flag tobiusmaximum (Aug 30, 2015 at 4:49) (Below Threshold)
 No, clearly that's not what I'm saying.
  • + 1
 @pigman65 if you have a dog off the lead and it runs in front of someone then thats your fault and you are liable for any damage to the person or bike. (even on the lead you are liable for the dogs actions).
  • - 1
 I'd like to hear from pigman65, especially since me asking for confirmation seemed to muster so much negativity. Maybe I should have been clearer, it sounds like he's suggesting 'run over my dog and I'm gonna commit gbh'. Which is why I asked if there was something I had missed. I just want him to confirm that.
  • + 8
 @pigman65 I'm reading between the lines here so forgive me if I've got the wrong end of the stick...somebody accidentally injures your dog because you had it on a bike trail, you then get physical with the rider and subsequently go to jail? You're not doing much to change my opinion on arrogant dog owners tbh.
  • + 10
 I have to struggle with barbed wire, nails, wooden embargos, etc. that suddenly occur on the trail.. or people that try to run into you to keep you from riding in the woods..
seriously.. traildogs are just cool.. and if you are capable of going fast it is inevitable of beeing in controll of you and your bike, and as a consequence you can stop fast enough to not kill or injure anything.
In addiotion i would advise you guys .. just for your safety.. ride fast and smart.. (safer and more fun) and don´t just hit anything that blocks your trail.. just because you can, or feel offended by someone beeing stupid enough to somehow annoy you with his or his dogs presence, that could eventually lead you to slow down..
Still i have to admit.. yes.. keep dogs from crowded trails.. for the dogs and users sake
  • + 1
 I take my dog to crowded trail centers all the time I always get compliments because she gets out of the way when she hears people coming down the trail. But I'm sure Tobias would go off trail to try and run her over if he could because he hates dogs.
  • - 1
 You're an idiot mate. Learn to read, I love dogs. Not so keen on some of the owners though. I was under no illusion that most of the people reading this thread are gonna be super sensitive. I don't care, if your dog and you are genuinely good on the trails, instead of thinking me and the people who agree with me are the problem, go out and try to advise the arrogant folk who don't give a shit about other trail users.
  • + 3
 Sounds like you would run over people if they were standing in the middle of the trail to then since you rip so hard. So your the one who dosnt give a shit about other trail users because you have to rip so hard you could never stop for anything or anyone on the trail.
  • + 0
 And yes I don't like when riders or dogs are blocking the trail like yesterday after some people were standing in a berm right after a 5 pack of jumps but the amount of times I've had this happen with people happens way more then with dogs so maybe we should ban people from busy trail centers by your logic otherwise I can't rip so hard
  • + 1
 It's nothing to do with 'ripping hard'. I'm going to explain this one last time, but I imagine it won't get past your one-sided* filters. We are involved in a dangerous sport, unless you 'pootle'. (If you do, then maybe you would think I 'rip hard'). This is either a) made more dangerous by poorly trained dogs or b) ruined by being considerate to people's poorly trained dogs. At the point where people like kickstand are going to basically say, 'f*ck you, my dog likes bike rides', I am well within my rights to say 'fine, don't expect me to give it a second thought if it ends up under my wheels'. You don't know me, I was stupidly considerate for years and still am fairly so, I don't stand in berms, on corners, on jumps. Any of it. But people like me will get vexed when it's not reciprocated. And that is what I see too much of. Anyway, I'm going out for a walk. With my dog. Logical people will see that I'm not saying anything unfair, if you and your dog do a good job that's great, carry on, just don't think that you represent dog owners on the whole, from a consideration or intelligence point of view. Because you don't. Think about it please, even just off the trail, or doing what you think is right... Your dogs presence is going to make many people super cautious... And at that point maybe it's you that is inconsiderate. This is why I said dh bike in an earlier post. Wide open trails and slower speeds are fine, I can avoid a badly trained dog. But think about braking distances.. Having a dog around is a bad idea when visibility is low or speeds are high. It's just rude. Like I said, do you believe it's considerate to expect people to not indulge in the very reason they went there in the first place? Sorry if you can't ride at a fast pace or don't want to. Many people, especially those with DH bikes, have enough to deal with without having to worry whether you've trained your precious mate enough to not jump out or get in their way, which like I said means they will alter their pace. Which is being considerate to people with no consideration. And like I said, when the owner acts like a dick about it.. My honest opinion is, I'm going to save my neck rather than your dogs because I feel you can take them elsewhere. Sorry if you think honesty isn't PC, I think it's important. Just employ a bit of common sense and consideration.
  • - 12
flag tobiusmaximum (Aug 30, 2015 at 10:43) (Below Threshold)
 P.s. Using the neg prop makes you a bit of a little girl anyway. Using it with a vendetta makes you a weasel. Whoever you are. Never has my desire to not ever use it, been tested so hard as in here.
  • + 1
 I'd just like to add that I also like dogs. But there are many things I don't like about this whole 'trail dog' trend. I fear people will see it as 'cool' (it's not guys) just like the fluro carbon fibre Santa Cruz atop their 15 plate VW. Look at me and my trail dog, wouldn't you like to stop and talk to me about how cool it is and how much you'd like one too? I'm sure there are genuinely great folks out there who enjoy a ride while they walk the dog and do so responsibly which is great. What we don't need is a load of dogs all over bike trails, when you're riding you're riding, taking the dog out should be a separate thing. Anything like a blue level and up or just plain popular bike trails should be just that; not bike & dog trails. As has been said before, your dog may very well be well trained but if I come up on you, being the considerate chap I am, I'm obliged to slow down and to assume a worst case scenario, anything less would be rude and could be dangerous regardless how well your dog is trained.
  • + 2
 All I'm saying is I catch a lot of people because I ride pretty fast and I have way more encounters with people in the way and I have to alter my pace for them way more then dogs so you make it sound like you won't stop for dogs but it's ok to stop for people
  • + 3
 So by your logic we should ban slow mt bikers as well because they make you change your pace so they are being assholes your words not mine. So if it's ok for bikers to ride slower then you then why are you so upset by dogs that you have to slow down for seems like your racist towards dogs. I don't like it when I come across a dog that dosnt know trail etiquette either but it happens less for me with dogs then people
  • + 6
 Some trail users ride slow, some have kids, some have dogs, some are on horses, some even ride uphill on trails that are more suited for downhill riding (the horror!). You will encounter others that have every right to be on the same trail that cause you to have to alter your course. You can live with that and have a good time, or you can get all pissy about it and rant online.
  • + 0
 Please don't take any of my comments as personal insults against dog owners. I don't think anyone was name calling and I certainly didn't call anyone an a*shole. My intention is to have a discussion not a bitching contest. There's no need to get aggro, maybe you can change my mind if you show me a good argument. My point is I'm happy to slow down for other riders, or even pull over for faster ones. Same for any other trail users that are using a multiuser trail (even dog walkers but they'd better be aware of us too). But on a trail intended for bicycles with bicycle features such as jumps, berms, etc. there is no place for 'trail dogs'.
  • + 2
 There is plenty of room for all trail users if you can't deal with it go make your own private trail. You sound like a hiker who can't stand bikes when you talk about dogs on the trail like that. If you can't avoid other trail users maybe you should take a course on bike handling skills. And by the way I was referring to tobias not you when I said assholes
  • + 2
 If you take your dog to busy trails you accept the responsibility for it. This includes if it gets hurt because it ran in front of someone's bike. If the trails are not busy and/or your dog is well trained, this will not be a problem. If a dog runs in front of me I will do whatever I can to stop or avoid it. If it runs out at the last minute, should I slam a tree to save your dog? If I cannot stop in time I will inevitably feel bad (because despite what you think I like dogs, people, kids, horses, etc) but this could have been avoided by people using their common sense and taking dogs to quiet trails. What happens when someone avoids said dog and breaks ones fingers on a nearby tree (for example. It seems people here don't get hypothetical situations)? Are you going to pay for the time off work? I'm amazed this is so tricky to understand. Sharing trails is great, but who with and on which trails? What happens if my right to walk fifteen zebra straight through a dh course, collides with your right to enjoy the dh course?

And while we using different threads on each other, for the last time, what sort of response do you expect when people say shit like kickstand did? I meet plenty of dumb, inconsiderate humans* and dogs on slow trails.. I don't want to do it at high speed.

So since I'm such an a*shole, you tell me what to do... Steep or fast trail, riding on the 'edge', untrained dog runs out leaving not enough time to stop. What happens next?

People like kickstand and pigman have created my attitude.

*you can tell a dumb human that they're a dumbass and most will get it, and if they step out they take their chances. When it's kids and dogs... Their owner/parent has put them and the rider in danger. I'm old fashioned, I think that's inconsiderate. That's what makes me unusual here, I won't bend over backwards to support this twenty first century right to be an a*shole inconsiderate parent or dog owner.

Again, what should I do in the freeze frame moment, doing high speeds with a dog running under my wheels?
  • + 1
 How many times have you had to bail to miss a dog I'm guessing none just like me because I'm a good enough biker to stop at any point when I'm on a shared trail system with other users. I've only brought my dog a couple of times to dh trails beacause it's usually to fast of pace for her. And I only bring her because she gets off the trail when she hears people coming. But my question to you is why do you go to crowded trail centers and ride on the edge of control where you might not be able to stop if something happens. If you really need to ride that fast go enter a race but when I'm on crowded trails I take it back just a notch on blind sections of trail otherwise I have no trouble stopping for whatever's on the trail. And yes if a dog or kid or something gets in the way at the exact wrong moment something might happen and that's the risk you take In This sport. And that risk goes up the more out of control you ride. It sounds like you need your own private track so you don't have to worry about any of your hypothetical accidents happening. I've been riding a long time and it dosnt worry me at all you seem scared maybe.
  • + 1
 @jibber420 I'm not sure how much of my comments you read but I have said a number of times I'm happy to accommodate other trail users on multipurpose/ multiuser trails. I'd argue that dog walkers are often passively inconsiderate to all other trail users on such trails. I think one problem we're having here is that we're talking about different kinds of trails. Over here in the UK I've seen a rise in 'trail dogs' on trails that are specifically bicycle only. Ones where you can only ride bicycles...yet having a dog running all over the place is apparently totally fine (it isn't guys). I'm also arguing that taking your trail dog on some (not all) multiuser trails is a dick move, it can be inconsiderate to other cyclists, horsey people, walkers, hikers, wildlife. Dog owners are inherently inconsiderate about how others will interact with their dog, some are better than others.
There is a time and place for walking your dog, a bike trail isn't it.
Don't go out and buy yourself a trail dog then leave it in the garage to rot like that £5k bike that's also only been out once since you bought it.
If you wanna go out to a bike trail and...ride your bike(!) then go for it, however fast or slow you like, have a blast! Just be a considerate human being as most of us are.
  • + 1
 Jibber.. We are on about hypothetical worst case scenarios buddy. Yes, it hasn't happened. But as Thom says the trend is growing, and not in equal measures to the consideration or training. I'll deal with whatever life throws my way. But given the increase in human beings lack of responsibility, plus the attitude of Mr pigman and people like him, I think I'm rightly concerned. What I'm looking for is a hint at what you think should happen. Like I said, freezeframe it, what happens next? Kickstand stated 'deal with it'. That's pretty inconsiderate I think.
It's clear from almost every comment I've made, that the likes of you, and many dog owners, are not the problem. But like most things, a small minority ruin it for the rest. So just tell me this.. If the worst happened (be realistic, stating I was going to plough through a dog was a kneejerk reaction to kickstands jackass attitude, the reality is I would do anything to not hurt someones dog. So say I injure myself because somebody's dog got in the way, what then? I'm left unable to work and trying to sue? That's crazy) should I have to trade blows at the side of the track with the owner? Because it sounded like that was what pigman was saying.

The type of trails are important, what's also important is that most of the entities in question cannot move as fast or erratically as a dog. A horse and rider are over ten foot tall, a bike and rider are also very visible, but a dog? A dog can decide it's gonna chase something or make a fresh decision on direction, at any moment. Forget 'out of control' if that doesn't mean much to you. But stopping a dh bike that's going flat out, doesn't happen on a dime, despite what brake manufacturers would tell you. And yeah, I am of the opinion that if it's a grown up that steps onto the track at the wrong moment, they take their chances. A kid or a dog should not be put in that position. More importantly, the likes of me and Thom should not be put in the position of having to live with the guilt of having ACCIDENTALLY killed your dog or worse, just because people like kickstand want to say 'my dog likes it, deal with it'. I hope I've explained my concern, and that the main problem is that his attitude stinks, and caused me to say 'hypothetically kickstand, f*ck you too!'. Also I don't ever want to deal with injuring pigmans dog and then injuring him because he attacked me, all on the same day. Because believe it not, I've never harmed another human being or animal. And I don't want to start now. Sorry this all got so heated, it's clearly a passionate issue. And if we all stop for a second, it's easy to see that most of it is born of not wanting the worst to happen, not wanting to hurt somebody else's dog. Because I do understand how important they are to people. And sorry I made the Ken Hom joke, probably bad taste in here. But I was just a joke.
  • + 2
 I agree that dogs don't really belong, in general (there are certainly exceptions), on trails that are specifically designed for downhill or freeride.
However, in my part of the world (Oregon, USA, which is well known for fantastic MTB opportunities) whenever there is talk of limiting ANY type of trail users access, it is almost ALWAYS mountain bikers who are facing exclusion because the vast majority of trail users (who have the advantage financially and at the polls) are hikers, walkers, backpackers, birdwatchers, etc. Many of whom do not like us...
I always want to keep the conversation about responsible SHARING.
  • + 1
 I totally agree that some people ok maybe most people suck at being dog owners at least here in the USA. And I've had a buddy's dog run out in front of me well I was going 30 plus on a fast section of trail, but beacause I was paying keen attention I got around him on the right and gave him a little tire buzz he always got out of the way after that when he heard someone gaining on him. My dog was riding with me on leash at 14 to 15 weeks and I spent a lot of time training her as most people don't and that's why I can take her anywhere and know she well stay out of the way. I always get compliments from other riders on how she gets out of the way without them even saying anything. It sucks that I'm in the minority among dog owners. But still if your riding at busy trail centers your gonna have to deal with gapers. Hopefully mt biking never gets as bad as skiing does were you deal with almost endless gapers all over the place. Just ride smart pay attention and you should be fine your way more likely to hurt yourself anyways.
  • + 1
 I followed my dog on the beach with a four wheeler and she was running at 25km/h. On the beach. So going downhill or uphill in a trail, she's going a lot faster. So yeah, a dog can run fast enough to stays on your wheel. Some dogs are made to run, like shepherd or cattle dog.
  • + 5
 I am having a hard time with my dog developing blisters on her pads on even short, 3 to 4 mile rides. I take it really slow, but she still seems to get them. Its a vicious cycle: she gets blisters, can't go ride and then gets out of shape. I take her for an easy break in tide and she pushes it too hard and gets blisters. Any suggestions?
  • - 1
 talk to your vet for sure, but i would try and rub some vasaline into her pads every night/every other night and keep them clean. same as above to stay vigilant but she will callas.
  • + 3
 i use this one

www.amazon.ca/Excel-1-75-Ounce-Paw-Wax-Protector/dp/B000FPJ80I

vaseline wound soften the paw and it is not advisable to apply vaseline if there is a skin breakdown.
  • + 3
 You could try some of the
dog booties they sell. The more expensive ones fit quite securely and have extra padding for their paws. My pooch uses them in the winter when we hike in the snow for long distances. It did take her quite some time to get used to them though! The cheap ones you find at petsmart and the like are total crap and will fall of within the first 10 seconds of running.

These are some top notch ones
www.ruffwear.com/Barkn-Boots-Grip-Trex_3
They also sell liners for more protection and for winter insulation!
  • + 2
 Well right off the bat I would say you might need to consider that 3-4 mile rides aren't really short as far as the dog is concerned. They are running, not riding a bike like you are. Your dog may just not be able to handle what you want her to do.
  • + 1
 I'm far from an expert but I've herd of people getting dog shoes. Bootie type things
  • + 2
 Dogs feet can toughen up if you ease them into it, but definitely keep the trail surface in mind. My dog was doing great on a 5 mile loop that was mostly loamy. I took him on a trail that was mostly hard compacted dirt with some rocks and he was limping from blisters and torn pads on both of his back paws within a mile...
  • + 1
 My Weimaraner and I ride together almost daily. But 2-3 days a week is all his pads can handle. A lot of the issue of pads is the surface you ride.
If you ride in moist loamy trees in the NW you are probably getting more mileage on their pads.
If you ride in Norcal grit over hard, a little less.
If you ride deeper decomposed granite like in the Sierras you have to be very carefiul as they will quickly blister up in short order. Anytime I'm in granite/pumice I'm thinking booties.
  • + 1
 I keep an eye on my dogs paw pads, and the terrain makes a big difference for how long she can go before her pads get torn up. Soft dirt is ideal, but in CO, that's few and far between. If it's hot and the trail is steep and Rocky, I have to take her on shorter routes. I've tried the booties....she kicked em off just about instantly. The pad wax seems to help a little. Maybe if you can get your dog to keep the booties on, that'd be ideal.
  • + 4
 My dog shreds trail harder then most bikers. He always comes. He listens to basic comands ive taught him like stop, go, left, right, move, follow that kinda stuff. I tell people that we ride with to tell him to move and he will. I trust his judgment 100% and urge my friends to as well. Its just like riding with another friend. The more your learn from each other the better it gets especially if you both know the trails. Some dogs should stay off the trail though. Just like some people.
  • + 1
 My dog is great at everything except "move". Any tips to get him good on this? I've nicked his heels once or twice and almost gone over the bars avoiding him a couple times. Because of this I only take him on super flat and mild rides, any advice would be greatly appreciated so I can get him back out there with me for more rides.
  • + 1
 Try to teach move off the bike while walking. My dog kinda just got it. He relized what move meant after i almost hit him a couple of times. Now i just hold my line and say move. Also have trust in your dog. If hes smart and quick he'll figure it out last second and move. Or you'll run his ass over and he'll get it next time. I didnt formally train my dog. We just ride a lot and he picked things up.
  • + 4
 Just a thought but how do you know if your dog has pooped when out riding?. As you may well be riding ahead of your dog and you won't see him or her take a dump. Then some poor guy comes riding along and goes straight through the poop and it could splatter all over him, not nice.
  • + 2
 Unlike humans dogs usually have the brains to shit in the forest, not on the trail. They're not stupid (unless they're trained to be).
  • + 1
 Most of them leave it there just like the dog walking brigade.
  • + 1
 Get real on the dog poop issue. Trails I ride are literally covered in tons of livestock (cows and horses) crap. My dogs little turd dries up and is gone in a week. (I've watched it). The idiots who bag it up and leave it on the trail to be preserved for eternity are the real bad ones here. Let your dog shit and move on , it is not a big issue in the big picture.
  • + 1
 Yeah true.. but don't you think doggy poop smells worse than cow pat...But agreed some of those cow pats can be quite big and when they're fresh can sometimes be really squishy...but hopefully you can see them before its too late unlike the little doggy turds.
  • + 1
 My GSP never poop on the trail, she always goes on the side. Intelligent dog don't poop where they like to run. She usually does it when we start biking or during a climb so she can easily catch up to me.
  • + 1
 Alain-I don't think intelligence has much to do with it. My dog cycles back and forth. Sometimes he is a genius and goes in the grass off to the side. Other times he runs up front on a climb 200ft. ahead and drops right in the center of the trail. Sometimes it is right on top of another dog's poop. So it really is driven by other factors than intelligence and more related to territory claims I think.
  • + 2
 chasejj - your probably right. Maybe I should say my dog is a real lady and she doesn't poop in my trails!
  • + 5
 Love dogs, love biking, love this post. Dogs at the races always gives the kids big smiles. On the trail would be majical. Is there a "Trail dog picture post" on Pinkbike?
  • + 2
 I'm gonna start one Smile
  • + 1
 Allright. Thanks for your initiative.
  • + 3
 I stopped reading the comments half-way down after the all the wholesomeness ended...
But one thing is for sure- When I'm all grown up, I'm getting me a Collie!
And don't worry all you dog lovers out there, I wont wear him out. My riding is shit! :p
  • + 3
 I used to love riding with my German shepherd but since the massive growth in popularity of mountain biking in recent years, the trails I ride have gotten too busy for me to feel comfortable taking her. I think out in the sticks it's fine but as far as UK trail centres are concerned, unfortunately the dog is best left at home for everybody's safety.
  • + 2
 Love riding with my border collie, only on my local non-mtb specific trail though. If he smells something nice he can stop front full sprint in 2-3 feet and he's a little tall to bunny hop.

Two tips from me;

Make sure your dog fears/respects your front wheel. When going slow, a little nudge will keep them in check.

When I go out with mine, I attach some falconry bells to his collar. Let's you know that they're still behind you with looking and alerts hikers and other dogs that you're there.
  • + 7
 I have a tortoise ^_^
  • + 5
 my Jack Russel is all good to stay until she sees a small fluffy creature, which is much more exciting and she fucks off lol
  • + 4
 I love dogs but they just get in the way, and other people's way. No matter how fast they can run. Just another thing to worry about
  • + 1
 Not true of a well trained trail dog.
  • + 9
 Typical dog owner comment, "It's not my dog that's the problem..." Trail dogs aren't a problem for the owner just everyone else who's behind the owner. I get wanting to bike with your dog but unless you are seriously the only person out there it's kind of a selfish move and you shouldn't be surprised people aren't as stoked on your dog as you are.
  • + 0
 well not to mention most people who claim to have them trained well end up being that dickhead that won't even call to them when someone is coming the other direction. Because it's well trained it must be as smart as a human to move right?
  • + 1
 I didn't make any claims of my dog being well trained not of other people liking her out on the trails.

I use discretion and take her out during low traffic times, I have also yet to encounter any complaints, in fact almost everyone I have encountered calls my dog to them and pets her.

But go ahead and make more ridiculous assumptions, my dog rides right on my dérailleur 99% of the time.
  • - 11
flag nyles (Aug 29, 2015 at 19:19) (Below Threshold)
 Those are some cute justifications you have there....
  • + 8
 I don't need to justify anything to you. I'll continue taking my dog on the trails as I see fit.
  • + 6
 I'm with you, I'm just not a fan of dogs on the trails. I just think it's dangerous for both the people riding the trails and the dogs themselves. I own three dogs but have never considered trying to train any of them to go riding with me. I just wouldn't be comfortable with it even if they were well trained. No matter how well trained they are it down mean every person on the trail is. I mean if some asshole were to be riding out of control and potentially hit me its one thing. As a rider I know what to be alert for. I know I'm on a bike trail and understand the potential hazards. My dog on the other hand would not. All he would know is that he is supposed to stay close to me. And if anything ever happened to my dog on the trail I'm not sure I'd forgive myself for putting it in danger like that.
  • + 6
 A bit selfish to think human bikers should have the trails to themselves. Do you require dear fencing to keep them out too?
  • + 4
 Maybe just use some common sense? Take your dog on lower forest trails where it's not very steep and you have a clear line of site to where your dog is at all times. That way IF there's another rider you can call your dog to you, be out of their way, and have everyone be happy. As the article says, carefully choose the rides that you take your dog on. If you're off doing steep terrain with big jumps, leave the dog at home for its well being and that of your fellow riders.

Other than that with responsible dog ownership it really shouldn't be an issue unless you go out of your way to make it one.
  • + 1
 Love taking the dog, when going on a ride for the dog. I also love to use a leash and keep them close beside or behind me. Dogs can be very smart, but you never know when you might need to yank on that leash. Whether to keep them back from another dog or animal, or pull them off the trail when they're not paying attention. Plus riding with one hand helps a ton with balance, although I sometimes wash out on flat high speed corners. The dog is a Huskie and it's so fast if I let another biker by. Also, it's easy to tell when the dog wants to slow down a bit when it's right by you.
  • + 3
 My dog can run faster then i can ride, So if he is in the way then i must be in the way as well.
  • + 2
 ok, nice tips BUT... there's dog and dog. Mine for example isn't a runner but an hiker, he loves going at is own pace which is not really the same of a bike during a descent.
He stops, sits, stares at me like saying:"ok buddy, i don't want to run like that, slow down!"
  • + 3
 Love my trail dog. Any day here on the North Shore you will see a bunch of people on the trails with there dogs. I guess people here know how to ride and know how to train pups.
  • + 2
 Great read; I don't take my dog out because the trails here don't allow it.
But it does make me see how oblivious we can be to their bodies, thinking they are fine.
I'd be shattered if anything happened to my girl - Blue Heeler x Kelpie
  • + 2
 used to ride with my buddies Doberman, she was fast. I had a husky, and they would both keep up, but that was back when there was only 2" of front suspension on a hard tail . We would do about 20 km rides once a week. the dogs loved it. the Doberman would start freaking out if we were to slow with the pre ride beers and start nipping at us to get going! lol some of the best rides ever !!
  • + 2
 My trail dog is the evolution of the street dog, she is 8 monthes old and is doing very well on our first attempts on the trails, we go for 1-2 hour rides, when she wants to go on a ride she stays besides the door, but if she's tired she remains on her bed with a look that says it all.
  • + 5
 taking your dog out for a walk if fine but keep them off busy trails, thats just stupid.
  • + 2
 I love Dogs above most else things in the world. Even more than biking itself. But i can't stand it when people bring them to trails other than their hometrails. its just dangerous to others who are not ready to encounter a dog on a trail. And articles like this dont prevent this from becoming a dangerous trend. Because in this selfish age people just dont care about how much they inconvenience others and many dont care if they hurt their dog as long as they can have a life that is worth recording and sharing online... hope i dont sound too bitter
  • + 1
 @lacykemp - Thanks for the suggestions. However, tip #5 is a huge no no. Never do that as you can and almost guaranteed to hurt yourself and the dog. One of the most basic rules when riding with a dog, is to not ever leash a dog while riding.
  • + 3
 It can be a huge no no for you, but it worked great for me. These aren't rules or laws. Merely suggestions. If you find something that works better for you, go for it. We only had to do this a few times - and at a very slow pace- for him to understand to stay close until he was comfortable. I understand the inherent danger. I also know how to handle my bike and my dog, and while I was always very cautious (because you're right- this can be super sketchy), I was confident with his ability and we never had a problem.
  • + 1
 I love animals but it just seems like too much of a pain to have dogs on most trails. For every ten riders (or runners) that think their dog is trail worthy, only one probably is. I have had the instances where I nearly plowed a dog (runners are usually more guilty of this due to slower speeds) and several times had to exit the trail at speed. rarely is any apology offered. More power to you if your dog is capable and trained enough though.
  • + 2
 l have a retired trail dog. 15 year old golden retriever mutt. in his prime he could ride all day. l guess l run him too much for him to last this long. he still perks up when l load my bike. makes me sad to leave him home.
  • + 1
 I had two collies (one mutt, one border, now deceased). Each was a wonderful riding companion, exploring, swimming, and generally enjoying on the climbs. The only down-side was that I could not let-er-rip on long downhills. The intact collie, in particular, would literally run his pads off to keep up. The bike I have now is so much more capable than the ones I rode back then, this would be exacerbated today.
  • + 1
 My GSP rides in front of me (quite far) except for fast downhill where she moves on the side to let me pass. At intersections she slows down and I whistle if she take the wrong turn so she can run back up front in the right trail. Pointers can walk in the woods all day long, healthy ones can bike for hours.
  • + 1
 Been taking my Carolina Dingo out for some jogs or just hikes. Also read to train them by walking your bike next to them, they learn not to cross the bike when you gently tap them with the front tire.Fast guy-cant wait to take him ridin when he turns1-will use a leash to begin with.
  • + 1
 I have a Staffy - Daschund cross..... I would love to take her on long rides, but with stumpy legs, and a fairly chunky build she aint suitable.. However, DH days... different story!! Guess she loves the sprint, and the shade of the trees, and the fact she can recharge on the uphill...
  • + 1
 I got 2 dogs, who come all the time on my trails with me when I'm building new jumps, etc... I just let them go in the woods and they're 100% free. I usually take some water too for them, when I stay more than 2 hours. I feel like this is the way to make your dog(s) happy! and it's not by running after you riding your bike, trying to catch you up, that a dog is gonna have the most fun...

For the rider, riding with or without a dog ain't change anything, because the dog usually runs behind the rider.. So yeah, that's my point of view, like the article says it well, most dogs are sprinters, and when they're running, their heart works super hard... On a one mile high speed trail your dog is physicly exhausted and does not particuly have fun .. so don't. Play with a ball in your backyard or let them free in a wood with you staying around and that's the may to make you and your dog(s) happy Smile
  • + 1
 Damn it's good to have a dog. Wish there was some use and from my fish. Just kidding. I don't have the time to invest into the maintenance of a dog, something that my fish don't need. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, it's just that I don't have the possibility to grow him. The fish don't need that much responsibility. Feed them once per day, protect their environment frorm predators (like the one I was reading on arcreef.com/bristle-worms/bobbit-worm-eunice-aphroditois) and that's it. They love you and you love them.
  • + 3
 Best tip I ever learned for training trail dogs is to take them out with other trail dogs who are already trained. The pack mentality kicks in and most "get it" right away.
  • + 0
 Dont like to see this, paws and machinery shouldn't mix, dread to think how many dogs have been messed up since this became a thing. They trust too much in the human and take risks thinking its safe.

cats work too,but only for short distances. my old one could hit 25-30mph running alongside, but cats are smarter, it stuck to the pavement while I used the road.
But then they do like to play touch hunting too once they know the areas, so the helmet pouncing comment is legit :/
  • + 1
 German Shepherd?
  • + 1
 Great lookin pooch. Love the pick.
  • + 3
 Now that I know how to train my dog to become a trail dog there is only one thing left to do... Get a dog.
  • + 1
 If your dog likes you he will follow you! Treat them well.... Take care of them, don't leave them alone for hours on end and they will be loyal to you. You don't need to train them.
  • + 2
 Proof - if ever it were needed - that it is possible to argue about anything on the internet. Next week on PB - why post ride beer is bad, bad, bad.
  • + 3
 Your dog is the cats ass! God damn, did i have a smile. Showed my kids and they just loved it. That is one vool pooch.
  • + 1
 Supposed to say cool, not vool. Sory for the typo.
  • + 1
 Thanks! Yeah sure am lucky to have such a great trail dog.
  • + 0
 I've got the perfect trail dog, a 1.5 year old 50 lb super lean and hard driving Lab mix named Trooper. I can't touch any bike gear without him licking my leg trying to convince me to bring him along.

Our dog was already well trained, but we recently started using an e-collar to reinforce many commands. An e collar is only 1 tool, and you have to be very patient and smart with how you use it. But, it has allowed me to really be able to trust that when I recall my dog or tell him to get off the trail and sit, he will do it 100% of the time, even if I'm not right next to him.
  • + 2
 I think you guys have forgotten the all important high fives that are needed at the end of a trail
  • + 4
 Rosko peeko train
  • + 1
 There is now a trail dog thread I've set up on the forum, I've started it off with a couple of pics of my dog, thought it might be nice to see pics of other peoples
  • + 2
 Great article! Easy to read, good structure and lots of valuable content. Shared and bookmarked!
  • + 1
 I find hooking the leash to my hip worked better than a chest strap. Just a suggestion, seemed to pull better on my center of gravity that way.
  • + 6
 I think both ways are not smart. A fixed attachment between you and your dog while riding is a crash waiting to happen. It's way better to just hold the leash loosely in one hand on the bars. That way if your dog stops suddenly to sniff something, etc, you can just let go or move your arm, so you don't crash and die like you would if it was attached to you.
  • + 1
 Never had a problem in 15 years of doing it this way. My dogs run with me on leash in town and I let them off on the trails. I don't like holding the leash because they can tug on the bars far to easily and suddenly.
  • + 1
 Best thing I did with my boarder collie was train his recall with a whistle. One or toots with the whistle and he's right by my side.
  • + 2
 How about ten reasons not to bring your dog on the trails?
  • + 2
 Dogs train people to feed them and watch them crap. People train dogs?
  • + 1
 just got a dog 2 weeks ago, ill have to get my parents to let me bring my dog
  • + 3
 Love my trail dog!
  • + 2
 I think my dog is too dumb.
  • + 3
 BrenDOG
  • + 1
 My Australian Kelpie kicks my ass everyday on my local trails, even downhill.

www.pinkbike.com/video/411656/#top
  • + 2
 I want your dogs autograph!
  • + 1
 I called my dog Minnaar and that's all! He's running like a boss on the trails Smile
  • + 2
 Awesome job telling us this. Good stuff
  • + 2
 How did you end up in the ER ?
"SQUIRREL" !!!!
  • + 1
 Are there any specific breeds that are better than others?
  • + 3
 Dalmatians were bred to run alongside horse drawn coaches back in the day. Just get a breed that's light boned and leggy, but not a sprinter like a greyhound. Collies, huskys, gwp or gsp's are all the right size for a 15mile run. Spaniels and smaller are capable but perhaps not so physically suited. Don't even attempt to use a mastiff or Great Dane, that's just irresponsible.
  • + 2
 100% agreed kipvr - you know your MTB breeds. I have two Viszlas (part of the pointer group of breeds) and they are perfect.
  • + 1
 These guys are right on. I have a GSP that can run circles (literally) around me. She easily does 20 miles at a stretch. She weighs about 35 lbs., and is quite lean, as you would expect. Awesome dogs.
  • + 1
 I have.a 1 year old rotwieller that loves a trail,plus she can always clear the path if hill walkers etc see her coming although she's harmless lol,also super singly fast for a big dog but I took a few rides before se stopped attacking my wheels
  • + 2
 Xanadu trail kicks asss
  • + 1
 First thing first, BUY A DOG!
  • + 1
 My dog is almost 2 is that too old to start training her?
  • + 0
 No, it's perfect.
  • + 3
 If she is healthy and a hardy breed or a mutt I would say go for it, but the shorter lived breeds like great danes and such I would be cautious. Just to be sure talk to your vet, he or she will know best!
  • + 4
 @bigbadbikeman Thanks!! My dog is a coonhound mix (A rescue) so I think she will do fine. I will of course talk to my vet beforehand
  • + 3
 @ brandamnesia 2 years is good, actually a better age than the advised 8 months at the start of the article. Long bones are not fully grown until about 18 months and dogs should not be exercised too much before that time. I waited until 18 months with my Border Terrier and then went for small ride/ walks at the start and made sure that I was on less used trails that were no where too close to a road. Recall training (ie I called and she comes to me) was fairly solid before we went trail riding. I spent most of the frist few rides empacising that I wanted her to follow me and introduced the command "follow" and reinfriced with a clicker and treats. I tried to stick to more natural, laomier trails to begin with as well.

She can go for 2-3 hours at a steady pace ( carry snacks and a water bottles for her) but I have to watch her top speed (she will happily try and do 30 kmph) as her paws will cut more easily at high speeds on gravel trails. Happy trail riding with your dog.
  • + 0
 what kind of dog is it ? Follow me the real trail dogs who runs are border collies !
  • + 2
 "Long bones are not fully grown until about 18 months and dogs should not be exercised too much before that time" Thats only true for some breeds that look like something taken out from a cartoon. Remember they're just wolves - you think mommywolf wont let the kids run till they're 18? The breeds used for actual work (mostly hunting, pulling or hearding) can easily outlast our fat butts on the trails before they're six months old. I started training mine 2,5 months old, skiing and running for 4-5 kilometers at first, making sure she can keep up. 2 months later she needed to make sure I can keep up.
  • + 2
 @RedBurn Not 100% because it is a rescue but I think she has coonhound in her. Definitely a mix of something though.
  • + 1
 toaster29 - I agree with you. I started training my GSP when she was 2.5 months. My vet, who has been breeding GSP for more than 20 years, said it was fine as long as she was taking vitamin c for her joints, no more than 10 km until she's a year old and keep her super lean. My GSP is now 16 months, she is faster and more agile than 99% of the dogs we meet on the trail.
  • + 0
 no way
  • + 1
 I know want to get a dog and train it for this purpose.....
  • + 1
 anyone know name of trail??
  • + 2
 Yeah it's called "Your Mom". I likes to be ridden hard.
  • + 1
 alright ill go look for Your Mom
  • + 0
 There any enduro stuff for dogs?
  • + 1
 Step 1: Don't.
  • + 0
 More helpful than all the tech Tuesdays combined.
  • + 1
 Well written! Good job!
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