However, in general I don't like to bike my dog much, because I don't want him to be trotting/running on hard surfaces for extended periods of time, as I was told it can lead to arthritis later in life. Dogs were not designed to run or trot on hard asphalt or concrete (it would be like us jogging on hard pavement barefoot, OK to do occasionally, but not healthy to do on a regular basis throughout your life). I like my dog to do the vast majority of his running on grass or dirt. Therefore, even though I love the WalkyDog and how it lets us bike with our dog safely, we don't do this activity very often.
My husband used it once with our dog while on a dirt trail. Big mistake! husband wiped out on the bike (don't ask me how, the trail was flat and non-technical and he is a good rider but I guess it had a pothole or loose gravel that he wasn't paying attention to), and it was only sheer luck that he and the bike didn't land on top of our dog!! I have forbidden my husband to bike with our dog on dirt trails unless the dog is off leash, but that opens up other difficulties....
I've had a Walky Dog for about a year. LOVE IT!! And so does Luke. We go about 3.5 miles 3-4 times a week. After Luke was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia his vet told me the best thing he could do was run. No jumping, no quick stops or turns..which meant he could no longer participate in agility. The vet is quite experienced with GSD's, as he is the vet for most of the police departments and seach and rescue organizations in this area. He's highly recommended and I value is advice and opinion. Although he never mentioned anything about running on hard surfaces I do try to run Luke on the inside so he's able to run on grass whenever possible. The Walky Dog was the best thing I've ever done for him. He's much more confident around traffic, dog's on leashes, kids on skateboards, etc.
Having breeds most of my life that are prone to hip dysplasia I very often hear and read about running on hard surfaces and it's bad effects on dysplastic and healthy dogs. Being an ex-runner (sidelined after back and knee surgery) I am also very aware of the bad effects of humans running on concrete as opposed to tracks or grass. So I too prefer my dogs to run on softer surfaces. Concrete can also get very HOT and hold heat into the night. I suggest testing the surface with the inside of your wrist. If it's uncomfortable for you then it will also be for your dog.
Young dogs or dogs that have not been OFA tested for dysplasia shouldn't be run for long distances period. The test can be done at 2 years. Until then a large dog of pure or mixed breeding shouldn't run distance, allowed to jump high, or down out of high vehicles. Around two years their bony growth plates mature and stop growing. This is a safer time to run the dog and I suggest a OFA x-ray before running and jumping to be sure you don't have a dysplastic dog.
If your dog is dysplastic you can have a full active life with him by altering a little what activities he does and possibly prevent or slow any symptoms or pain. Allowing exercise that starts chronic inflammation and resulting scaring and calcification sets the dog up for pain and musculoskeletal disease later in life. With a little simple prevention and knowledge you will know just what activities are right for your dog. If you have any questions ask your vet or an orthopedic vet.
I just bought one of these yesterday so I can run my husky. I will let you know how it goes once I have trained her to use it. I am proceeding by walking with her next to the bike, and calling left or right whenever we turn. Then I will just coast slowly with one foot on the pedals and the other one dangling, in case something happens and I need to keep from falling. Then I will probably coast with both feet on the pedals but, again, standing and not pedaling, in case something happens. Then I will progress to actually riding. I plan on using it only in the morning or late evenings. Once she is used to it, there are several parks with concrete walkways with no curb, so she could run on the grass next to me.
Does that sound like how you would train them to use it? I am afraid she will pull the bike over, because she does pull on the leash. I am working with her on that, but she is very stubborn! Any suggestions about that? I read one thread where someone said to walk around in a circle so she has to come up behind/beside you, or where you stop and walk backwards. It works a little bit, but not much. I realize consistancy is important, but how much of the walk should I focus on this and how much should I just let her walk? I am walking her at least three times a day. The morning and evening walks are long (40mins to an hour), and any other walks during the day are much shorter. I am trying to increase the am and pm walks every few days, and I take her on different streets periodically to mix it up for her.
So we actually used it for the first time this am. YEA!!! I'm starting out going shorter distances, so we went around the block, and then a little later we went around the block again. She seems to really like it. Until I'm used to it, and she's used to it, I want to stick close to home, or maybe go to the dog park where there is a concrete trail for walking. That way if something happens we will have help close by.
WHoops a little late, but I have the Springer and it's great. I think it is superior to the WalkyDog USA since it hooks up to a harness instead of the collar, and it has a big spring for shock resistance. (In case the dog decides to suddenly pull or stop)
I have been using it now for a few weeks, and I have to say, this is THE BEST investment I could make! It's a great way to burn energy before walks, so she doesn't pull much, or just to burn off energy whenever. I usually take her as soon as I wake up, and in the evening, both times before the walk. If she gets to anxious during the day, and it isn't TOO hot outside, I will take her ONCE around the small block. She is so into it I barely have to pedal. I do, of course, but I can see I really need something for her to pull. Hence the decision to get a harness when I can afford it. At least then she can pull the bike!
Jean, it's now called the K9 Bike Jogger. I don't know if this is what you're speaking of, but it has 3 big springs inside the metal tube, so you can adjust the length of the lead for different size dogs. I took one spring out and left two in, but I'm thinking of putting it back in. I don't see why I couldn't hook it up to a harness, and I'm probably going to buy one as soon as I can afford it. She does sometimes get distracted and try to stop or pull away (like if she sees a cat or another dog), but I pedal really fast so she can't, and she gives up and keeps going. At first I was afraid she would pull me over on top of her and we would both be hurt, but so far nothing like that has happened. (knock on wood)