This Thanksgiving I was reminded of how thankful I am to have dogs in my life, and how thankful I am to have A LOT of dogs in my life. Thanksgiving weekend brought 4 additional dogs – bringing the total in the house to 5 – all from different walks of life, different breeds, different sizes, different ages (the oldest is 15!) and different energy levels (and no rehab: this was Thanksgiving, after all). Moreover, all of the dogs got along as if they’ve always lived with each other. How? By the Pack Leaders bringing BALANCE and calm, assertive energy into the equation from the dog point of view. Was it balanced from the very beginning of their stay? No, but each brought a balance of sorts when they came by. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a personality of their own. What’s the goal? We want the personalities to stay the same, but everyone is balanced about it.
A couple of them had to be corrected at first, not because of bad behavior but behavior that didn’t conform to the rules/boundaries/limitations in this house, and those are rules that HAVE to be there with 5 dogs and a lot of cooking going on before visitors come calling. Visitors in the form of my son and their year old “I don’t have to do what you tell me to do” puppy. As usual, the balanced dogs took the reins to correct behavior instead of the humans…, which, if you’ve never seen it before is freaking awesome.
Nevertheless, this post is about another thing I hear quite often from people seeking advice for an energetic dog. When I ask them what they do to drain off some of their excess energy I hear, “I take him/her for a long walk/run.” Which is great if they know how to walk with the dog; most don’t. When I ask if they ever bike ride with the dog the answer is that they don’t because they are afraid the dog will pull them down or run into their path and they’ll crash. I have never had that experience because I 1) keep them going at a pace where they have to keep moving forward, and 2) I don’t give them that much leash – it has to be just enough for space but not too far forward of my legs.
Yet, it started me thinking: If one can walk 5 different energy level dogs at one time with no issues (even passing by other strange dogs), could you bike more than one dog at a time? Capone (Boxer) and Ajax (chocolate Lab) are both great runners and they have a lot of energy so they were great choices for the “experiment”. Capone also acted a little bit like a brat when Ajax first came over and had to be corrected twice with a lot of protest. Then they were fine, 3 minutes start to finish. How about riding both of them? And why the bike?
Frankly, I generally have to sprint on my beach cruiser to keep most of the dogs I ride engaged. In my wildest dreams and younger days, there is no way I EVER ran that fast. Not that I am that poor a runner. If you have multiple dogs that means multiple rides and yes, sometimes time is a factor. After the first ride you’ll probably looking at the hopeful, waiting dog and say, “Gosh, you know, he really doesn’t look like he needs a run today.” This is, once again, a human inventing what the dog is thinking.
So below is the outcome of the two-dog bike ride. Yes, it can be done with the same principles as one dog. And thanks to Capone and Ajax, I got the opportunity to do it with them!
Until next time, stay calm and get out on the bike!