When our new puppy, Reggie, came into our lives, we wondered what effect he’d have on our status as a cycling family. To be honest, our cycling – once central to our lives when we lived car-free in the city – has been minimal during our transition to being a small-town, small-farm family, but we still love to cycle and have wanted to be sure that we could do it together when time and circumstances permit. Our older son is a regular cyclist to school and work in the warmer months, and we have a cheap mountain bike that three of us use to get around on our land for certain tasks, but I’m referring to family cycling here.
Our dog’s breeder and trainer has given us some great tools, including an approach to getting Reggie comfortable in riding in an old bike trailer. He is already very comfortable in his harness for walks and rides in the car, and so we got some tips on making the leap to the trailer. Turns out, Reggie seems to be keen on the whole idea and didn’t need a lot of persuading.
When my younger son and I got back to the house from a midday walk with Reggie, my husband and older son were just finishing up getting ready for a bike ride on some local trails. Thinking ahead to the next bit of training we wanted to do, my husband had brought our old bike trailer (used for bike camping in the past) into the garage. Reggie was immediately intrigued and hopped in with little encouragement. We decided to have a test ‘drive’ in the driveway, and Reggie was totally game.
Obviously, we’ve got a bit of work to do with securing the back of the trailer, and of course Reggie would be in his harness and buckled in when we ride.
Feeding treats throughout the first experience to make it a positive one is key in this approach, but I got the sense that Reggie would have both endured and enjoyed the ride regardless. We graduated to full riding in our very first session.
I’m already dreaming about the local bike trip my older son and I can do with Reggie next weekend when the other half of our family is off on a camping trip.