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BICYCLING WITH YOUR DALMATIAN

Mercedes and Bill Haase enjoy a run at the park

Having your Dalmatian running alongside your bicycle is a wonderful way to burn off all that excess Dal energy! If your Dalmatian is under one year of age, though, it is not advisable to bicycle with him/her because of the potential for damaging his/her leg joints. It's best to let your Dal finish growing first.

For safety purposes, you should use specialized equipment to attach your Dal's collar or harness to your bicycle. Currently there are three products on the market. This includes a springer.

Once you have a safe method of attaching your Dal's collar or harness to your bicycle, you are ready to begin. The first few times you take your Dal out with the bicycle, you may wish to walk the bike to teach your Dalmatian to stay alongside the bicycle and to be able to correct any lunging or darting that might occur.

Even the best attachment product can't completely prevent spills caused by a sudden Dal lunge. A Dalmatian who has successfully completed a basic obedience course makes the best bicycling companion because he/she is more focused and more willing to listen to your commands.

Mercedes and Bimmer are eager to go!

When you feel your Dal has the idea of walking nicely by your bicycle, you may attempt to ride the bicycle. It is best to do this on a grass or dirt surface in case of mishaps and because your Dalmatian's feet will not be toughened to withstand hard running on pavement. You should gradually build up the distance you bike with your Dal and check his/her paws after each run to make sure there are no scrapes or blisters. Your bicycle speed should be such that your Dalmatian will trot to keep up with you; you may go a little faster for short distances to give your Dal a chance to gallop but don't try to maintain this pace for long. Keep an eye on your Dal and make sure he/she isn't panting too hard or showing any signs of distress. Also keep in mind that heat and humidity can be dangerous for both you and your Dal if you exercise too hard and too much. It's a good idea to bring along a water bottle for you and your Dal to help you both stay hydrated.

Exercising your Dal with your bicycle is a wonderful, healthy activity for both of you. Give it a try! A tired Dalmatian is a happy, relaxed, non-destructive Dalmatian.


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