Sunshiney greetings to all, Jet here - Miyuki's favourite playmate.
Miyuki has asked me to write a guest post about the health benefits of Vigorous Activity. It's one of the Essential Elements of Health according to Dr Renee, and Miyuki thought I would be an expert on the topic, given my breeding - I am a Kelpie Crossbreed, and anyone who knows Kelpies knows that we LOVE our EXERCISE!
In fact it is absolutely essential to wellbeing for all us doggies, and for you humans too. Exercise gets those feel-good endorphins pumping, making me oh so happy. My tail wags all day long after a good run on the beach or ball retrieval session, and I feel less of a need to chew stuff, which makes my people smile too.
So given my qualifications, I got the job of trying out a doggy bicycle leash. There are a couple of different types available - I was trying the Walky Dog, there is also one called a Springer, both are available in Australia, and both work in a similar way apparently. They are a fixed leash that attaches to a bike beneath the bicycle seat, with a flexible mechanism that absorbs tugs and movement, meaning the adventure is comfortable and safe for both dog and bike rider. Much safer than having a human hanging on to a leash while trying to ride a bike, or not having a leash on at all.
The bike attachments are best used for medium or large dogs, and you need to put your dog in a harness rather than a collar for their comfort and safety. Dr Renee also suggests buying some comfy dog boots for your furry friend's paws, especially if riding off-road trails. I was running on a bike path and tarmac and managed to cut my paw pad so I think boots are definitely a good idea. Ruff Wear make great boots I am told.
It doesn't take much training to work out how to use these. As long as your human can ride a bike pretty well, and you like to run, you're set! I was a little nervous of the bike at first, but once I worked out that I wasn't going to get caught up in the wheel (the attachment keeps you fixed at a safe distance to the wheel), I got more confident. We went pretty slowly because it was my first foray into bike riding, and Dr Renee didn't want to scare me. She started out by walking the bike for a little while to get me used to the feeling of being attached to it, then got on and rode short distances nice and slow, talking to me the whole time to give me lots of encouragement, and she got off a few times to give me lots of pats and cuddles and happy words to make me feel good about how I was doing. By the end of the ride I was trotting along beside the bike like I'd done it all my life!
I highly recommend one of these to any doggy people who have an active dog breed as their companion. Many dog breeds who are relegated to suburban environments these days were actually bred for important jobs like herding cattle or sheep, or retrieving game, pulling sleds, or even hunting lions (I think that sounds pretty scary don't you?!), and need lots of exercise to stay happy, healthy and out of mischief.
Dr Renee says that most doggy 'behaviour problems' are actually just lack of exercise and/or training problems, and she thinks these bike attachment thingees are just fabulous for packing really effective, efficient exercise into the day - for doggies and their humans! She said that if you need any other ideas for creative ways to exercise your canine pals (and felines, apparently cats need exercise too?!), to visit the Roar Kingdom website as she has a pet exercise and play fact sheet that details all the exciting ways to exercise and play with your pet.
Now get outside and ride a bike!