The appreciation of all things bike related is an inter-species activity in my household as my puppy dog has her own collection of bicycle baskets for dogs.
We all know how dogs love to put their heads out the window when they’re riding in car. Still, the first time I put her in an old milk crate I had secured to my front handlebars, I wasn’t sure that she would be as excited about joining me on my neighborhood rides as I was. It was important to me that her first experience was a positive one. So, I decided the slow and cautious approach was best.
What’s the best way to hold a dog’s attention?
Well, everybody knows that’s FOOD. And in my girl’s case – human food. Not silly dog treats or bland doggy biscuits. No, she had a taste for all the things I loved to eat, but rarely allowed myself the pleasure. Ice cream. French fries. Lots and lots of cheese. My plan was to encouraged her participation with lots of tasty treats placed inside the crate. We’d just hang out for a while, letting her snack and get used to being up high in the little nest I had made for her. I decided to opened with my favorite guilty pleasure – BACON, and take it from there. Well, I thought her little tail would wag right off her little but!! She was so preoccupied with her bacon love, she didn’t even notice as I gently rocked the bike back and forth and turned the handlebars slowly from right to left. She was perfectly happy to just sit there, waiting for the next bacon from heaven to be dropped into her little nest. I made this a nightly routine for a week, with each night progressively adding more and more walking time around the backyard with her in the crate.
Saturday morning would be the big day!
When it came time to go for our first little spin, although I felt confident that we would have no surprises, I secured her leash to my handlebars so that she could not jump out. I walked out to the street giving her lots of loving words and scratches behind her ears. She seemed fine, happily looking around with wide eyes and sniffing the air with enthusiasm. With that, I got on the bike and set off on a slow roll down the street. Turns out, it was probably more of an adjustment for ME than it was for her! 🙂 She was having a blast checking out all the sights and sounds as they went by. While I, on the other hand, was having to concentrate a bit with the new weight on my handlebars, being concerned about how she was taking it, and watching for traffic and such.
Our first trip around the block was a stellar success! Much better than I had planned, and the start of another species’ obsession with one of the finer past times in life – bike riding. From then on, all I had to say was “Wanna go for a ride??” and she would be heading for the door.
Now, my best friend has several bike baskets at her diposal! Long gone are the days that she’d be seen in town with her head poking over the edge of a tacky red milk crate, temporarily attached to my handlebars with zip ties and duct tape. Oh no. Now days she has a dog bike basket for every season and weather condition. She has a wicker basket for those hot summer days, when the extra ventilation wicker provides help keep her cool and comfortable. She also enjoys the comfort of a quilted, fleece lined one when the temperatures start to drop. On a beautiful Spring day like today, she has selected a pretty pink little number that makes her feel just as pretty as the wildflowers lining the back rounds we are riding.
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