MTB Trail Dog Tips 101
In this video Will from One Track Mind Magazine gives a breakdown of the best tips for getting out on the trails with your four-legged friend. Will and Oliver the Springador head out to their local trails to do some epic trail riding and also share some trail dog tips.
Trail Dog Tips:
Bring a lead
It’s important to bring a lead with you. Whether it’s to cross a road safely, pass through a field with livestock or just to control your dog. You could potentially put your dog, others at risk or in some circumstance break the law. Make sure you carry the dog lead sensibly. You don’t want it around your neck in case you snag the lead on a branch. Keep it in a bag or pocket but somewhere easy to access in a pinch.
Bring Plenty of water
Just like you, your dog needs to drink a lot more during exercise and if your dog is anything like mine they exercise hard and need to drink often. On shorter rides close to home I will take a bottle of plain water with me on my bike that I can share with my dog letting them have priority. I also keep a bottle or two in my van in case I need to top up. On longer rides, I will take more water in a bag to ensure my pup isn’t getting dehydrated. This also hopefully stops them drinking from dirty puddles.
Bring Poo Bags
This should be obvious to all dog owners. No one wants to ride or walk through dog poo. So be responsible and bring poop bags with you. However, if you are out in the woods then burying poo is acceptable.
Don’t you just hate seeing all those bags of poop being left? Once you’ve cleared it up dispose of the bag in a designated bin or don’t use a bag a burry it.
You are responsible for your dog
As the dog owner, you are responsible for your dog. You can’t expect other mountain bikers around you to know how to deal with a trail dog. So if your dog likes to chase bikes down a trail or is unpredictable I would suggest riding in a quiet area where you are able to train your dog to follow you in a safe and predictable way.
As you can see from the video my dog is very excitable and loves to be in front. He is so fast down trails so making sure he doesn’t get in other riders way is my responsibility for both the dogs, my own and others around me safety.
Make sure you don’t overdo it
Don’t do too much. Some dogs, particularly working dogs will want to keep going all day but they do get tired and like us can make silly mistakes when tired. If your dog is new to trail riding then you should ease them in by starting off slowly and only doing short rides to begin with.
I also think it’s important to ease your dog in on each ride. Help them to warm up and make sure they are following commands and not getting too excitable and distracted.
How long a ride you should do is down to the experience, age and breed of the dog. There is no one answer and you will learn from reading about your dog’s breed and personal experience. Looks out for signs that your dog is getting tired. Make sure to have regular snack and drinks stops too!
Take plenty of breaks, water and snack stops
All this trail running can use up a lot of energy. Make sure you take plenty of water and snack breaks to ensure your trail dog is fuelled up for the task.
If your dog is snack motivated you can also use snacks to assist you in your trail dog training. My Springador isn’t snack motivated so I have to bring a toy such as a rubber stick or tennis ball to train him. This also stops him from picking up actual sticks, pinecones and other things that could cause him damage if swallowed.
More trail dog tips
There are plenty more tips and tricks for training and riding with a trail dog. Not all trail dog tips will work for you and your dog but speak with other trail dog owners. Join the Facebook groups and share any tips and tricks that work for you.
What do you think of these trail dog tips? Do you have any other tips you can recommend to others? Disagree with any of my recommendations? Let us know in the comments below.