My dog, as you can see from my profile pic, loves to bike with me but seems to forget every spring what a mountain bike is. This is only his third season riding but in the peak of last year he was doing 14+ mile rides with me in the Kingdom Trails, no problem.
This year he seems extra hesitant to get back into the biking spirit. My first three attempts with him have been met with some initial success, closely followed by failure. He's a great dog off leash hiking and running, and gets a lot of that all year round in VT. Something just seems to click when we're biking and he goes from running along with me to bolting back to the car in the drop of a hat - his one truly saving grace is that he's got a great sense of smell/direction and always finds his way back to the car. He definitely has a fear of bikes but is something he's gotten a lot better with over the years.
I know that he'll get over this hump, as he has the last two seasons, but I was just wondering if anyone else out there has worked through similar situations and had any tips that might help my guy get back into the swing of things?
Yea, I've definitely been bringing treats and doing as much positive reinforcement as possible (when he does follow me). I've yet to take him riding with another dog this year too, which has helped in the past and hopefully will again this year!
has your bike changed at all? different noises, freewheel etc? any chance he encountered something on a ride that scared him (animal, sharp object/plant etc?). is he in shape enough to carry the distance early season? sounds like he gets out enough, but miles of riding pace seems different than hiking pace.
I did upgrade from an old 2001 specialized fsr-xc to a new cannondale jekyll this year - but the bike make considerable less noise than the old one so I don't know if that's it. It is a little bigger though so could be adding to his apprehension.
He's definitely in shape - I've been training for a half marathon and he's been running over 20 miles a week with me. It is getting much warmer though so that may be playing a factor.
We did have a much more successful ride this past weekend when I went with a friend and his dog. Though it took some coaxing to get him going at first, once he's on the trail and an easy exit isn't in site he's good to go. However, once he picks up that we're heading back towards the car it's hard to get him not to take off and see himself out. Think it's just going to take time but I'm sure he'll be back into the swing of things before long.