Introduction: Cycling Lead for Dogs
My dog Lucky is half German Shepherd, and half Border Collie. His ancestors spent all day running around the hills, variously herding large flocks of sheep and protecting them from wolves.
Problem is, his energy levels are the same as his ancestors but there's no hills for him to run around and no sheep for him to guard. Two walks a day just don't cut the mustard. So how do I make sure he gets more structured exercise, whilst making sure he's safe?
Cycling is the only way I could keep up with Lucky over the sorts of distances that he'd like to cover, and it's something I really enjoy. Problem is if he was on a lead he might run into the bike, which would really hurt him, or pull me off the bike which would really hurt me. I could take him off the lead, but if he was distracted by another dog I might not be able to control him.
So I've made the cycling lead for dogs. It keeps him a fixed distance away from my bike, and because it's attached to the seat post it's much harder for him to knock me off if he pulls.
DISCLAIMER: This works for me and my dog really enjoys it, but that doesn't mean it's going to be right for you or your dog. I don't know anything about either of you, I'm just showing you what I've done. I'm not a dog or a bike expert. You are proceeding at your own risk, and these guidelines are provided on this basis.
If you're riding with a dog and he looks tired, stop. Don't try to go faster than him, and for god's sake don't drag him - you could hurt or even kill him.
Likewise, if you're not confident that you could control your dog when he's on a lead, don't ride with him on a bike! Lucky walks perfectly to heel on the lead, if he was difficult to handle I wouldn't have even though about this. Get advice from a professional.
Step 1: Ingredients
To do this you will need.
1. A dog (duh).
2. A working bike.
3. A redundant bike frame that you can cut into pieces. Lots of these lying around.
4. Short length of chain.
5. A pair of dee shackles.
6. A suitable harness for the dog. Collars are not a good idea for this project.
Step 2: The Knackered Frame
Take the seat post out of the old frame, then use a hacksaw to cut the end of the top tube where it joins the head tube and the seat tube. You may also need to remove the chainstays.
You will be left with a tube that is plain on one end and still has the seatpost clamp on the other.
Drill a hole through the end of the tube and pass your dee shackle through the hole. Attach the chain to this, and tighten with the pliers.
Step 3: Attach to Bike
Take the saddle off your working bike, slip the end of your tube onto the seatpost, then tighten. Replace saddle at desired height. Slip the dee shackle through the hole you've drilled in the tube, and attach the chain to the dee shackle.
Step 4: Attach Chain to Dog
Use the second dee shackle to fix your chain to the dog's harness. I had a chain with a clip at the end, but the photo should give you an idea. Cut any links that are smacking the dog as he runs along.
The chain should be short enough to stop the dog running sideways into your bike, but not so short the dog is being lifted off the ground.
UPDATE: After feedback, I just wanted to add a bit to say use a harness that fits around the dog's ribcage. Do not use a collar or anything that tightens when the dog pulls.
Step 5: Ride!
Enjoy yourself! Start out with a run of just a couple of miles, and keep off the roads until you're both happy.