Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bikejoring

During Ray's visit, he introduced us to bikejoring. He has found bikejoring to be an excellent way to exercise his border collie, Nap, because it allows the dog to travel at a speed the dog desires and the human can easily keep up.


Ray uses a sled dog harness (custom made for each dog) and attaches it to the front of the bike. I imagined it to be an accident waiting to happen. I assumed if a deer crossed the trail, the dog would jerk off to the side, and pull the bike out from under you. The truth is that you actually do have quite a bit of control. You can stop the bike by applying the brakes. You can maintain your position on the trail even if the dog is pulling off to the side. Obviously, the stronger the dog is, the less control a lighter person will have, but the average dog and person manage just fine. An occasional squirrel or deer on the trail up ahead keeps the prey drive stimulated and the dog moving forward especially during initial training.

Ray allowed Stephen and I to each have a turn with Nap and we both had a blast! Ray and Nap will sometimes bike for miles.


Naturally, I was hoping to find a greyhound who might also enjoy this activity since Ray enjoys it and has easy access to miles of trails with good footing. We hooked Jet up to the bike and he did really well his first time out. It helped that the girls and I were jogging along with him. It remains to be seen whether or not Jet develops a desire to pull or not.


I think Riley would be very good at bikejoring and I think it would be a great way to exercise her at a faster speed. Reagan... not so much, but she could free run along side. We discovered that we have an excellent trail for bikejoring. It is flat and has excellent footing for the dogs (this is not something you would want to do on asphalt, concrete, or a near a road with vehicles.


I think bikejoring would be a great way to exercise coursing greyhounds who I fear are almost always not fit enough for how hard they run. If you had a suitable trail and a greyhound who enjoyed the pulling, I think you could really get some good aerobic exercise and work the galloping muscles over quite a distance.


All in all, Stephen and I had a good time getting to know Ray. We took him to see some lure coursing and he and I talked a lot of clicker training and agility. Ray was able to see Katie, Riley, and Reagan work and picked up some tips for working with Jet. Not exactly a vacation I could package and sell, but I think Ray enjoyed his trip thoroughly.


Jet is settling in with no problems and has won Ray's wife and daughters over (thank goodness Jet has a good personality :-). He has taken Jet out on the bike twice now, I believe, with mixed results. The second time was much better than the first though. Jet seems to be mastering everything Ray has been practicing with him, but is also a nice companion for just watching TV in the evenings.

15 comments:

BrittBeah said...

Ray, if you are reading this you must get a blog and fill us in on this bikejoring. I am intrigued.

Maybe I could hold a lure on a stick in front of Set and get him to run (like a cheese in front of a mouse on a wheele), if he is too tired to get into trouble that would be a big plus.
I've heard stories of mushers getting greyhounds to mix/breed with their sled dogs to creat faster dogs. This way the greys don't have to get cold :) Did anyone mention to Ray that the greys are only good for a mile or so worth of gas? I bet the border collie comes full- leded.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Ray does read the blog. I'm not sure we'll get a blog out of him, but I will force him to take pictures occasionally.

I've known a few greyhounds that jogged with their owners for as much as 6 miles. Just depends on the greyhound. I tried to find a greyhound with a lot of endurance, but it does remain to be seen.... Also I think Ray's point in getting a greyhound was to finally have a dog that didn't have to be stimulated 24/7 (border collie). Something to train and exercise, but then just to enjoy as a pet at the end of the day. I think he'd be quite happy if Jet biked a good mile.... and if he doesn't, he's fine with that too.

Jen

christie said...

I have often thought about taking my bike out and Gemini and the same time, but could never quite figure out the logistics of it without risking SEGA coming back and taking Gemini away from me. This is AWESOME!! Thanks Ray for figuring this out and thanks Jen for posting it!
Now, where did my bike go?

Hiking Hounds said...

This looks really fun! I had thought about trying it with Zephyr but figured I'd be pulled over. Maybe I'll give it a try now. I have also though doing this with X-Country skis would be fun, skijoring I think.

Snobound said...

Dogs and bikes...man do I ever have some horror stories to share with you when we meet up. Granted, we're not talking about using a civilized number of dogs (1 or 2), nor are we talking about using a full sized bike (more like a kids Huffy bike), but I can assure you I laugh about these things now....not while sprawled unnaturally across the trail, watching my dogs drag a mangled bike across the road and into a pregnant ladies yard...only stopping when their lines were such a tangled mess that they couldn't go any further...did I mention they were chasing a loose Pomeranian? Dogs and bikes = DISASTER!!!!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Snobound, After experiencing how fast the border collie liked to pull, I think one reasonable dog will be plenty for me. :-) I am looking forward to your sled dog stories. Iditarod in a few short weeks!

Jen

greytblackdog said...

That is so cool. Again, I am so jealous. Neither of my girls would do anything this neat. I need them to get motivated to be good at something. I'm focusing on the pool this summer. Biking will not be it - for me or them! :)

Sientay L said...

Bikejoring sounds like something Dino would enjoy...with Paul. I know Dino can't wait for the weather to warm up again and me ready to workout again. He misses our 3-mile jogs and daily long walks.
I'm glad that Ray is settling in well with Jet.

BrittBeah said...

It is nice that you posted this. I just got a new bike and have been deviously trying to plan on how to incorporate the dogs into my bike riding. The only option I've seen is either hold the leash in one hand and ride or there is a spring loaded attachment that goes on your back wheele and you attach the dog to this. Well the idea of the spring loaded attachment is that you attach it to the collar. I'm not so keen on it 1) it attaches to the collar 2) if your dog has other ideas about going off if just looks way to easy to be yanked side ways.
This looks awsome. Now to figure out the harness and who to torture first...

Katie said...

I biked with Luce next to me a bit before she blew her knees. I never had the courage to try to put her out in front- too much prey drive and too little control.

I'd love to try with my BC pup once he gets old enough. We have a rails to trails that is flat, well-cared for cinder trail. It's busy on weekends, but weekdays not so much. It'd be great for biking a dog.

Zan said...

I'm impressed with Ray's ingenuity. What a great idea!!

Snobound said...

For those of you who are interested in bikejoring - you can get the proper harnesses, tuglines, shock absorbers, panic snaps, and even dog booties from several different mushing websites (we're all crazy and we don't need snow to work our dogs!). One of the guys we buy most of our gear from is Jack Beckstrom of Adnac Sleds - we've done business with him for dozens of years, and his prices are very good, he ships things very fast, and the quality of his gear is outstanding. He even has bikejoring kits; and the multi-purpose harness is perfect for both bikejoring and skijoring. His website is www.adanacsleds.com.

BrittBeah said...

Snobound: Thanks for the web site. I checked it out. I don't see a sizing guide. Greyhounds can be hard to fit to standard products because of their narrow/ deep chests.
Also, the harness they offer looks like a standard harness with padding?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Britt, go to the website www.adanacsleds.com. Click on Products, click on Harnesses. Look at the Zima harness. There is a measuring guide. Jet fit into the Border Collie's harness, but it was no long enough. Ray has ordered him a custom harness.

Jen

Snobound said...

Britt - there is plenty of 'hound' in the sleddog world, that's for sure. If you're unsure about the multi-purpose harness (it's called an H-back) then check out the Zima harness - that's what most mushers use (also called an X-back). Those usually extend the length of the body and stop a couple of inches before the tail. The harnesses are really well padded too, so your hound will be quite comfortable. There should also be a measuring guide - if not, call Jack, tell him what you're looking for and he'll be more than happy to walk ya through it. He's quite nice. Best of luck.