Tuesday, February 24, 2009


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.