Roller skating with Dean, I've got some questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Roller skating with Dean, I've got some questions

I had originally wanted to rollerblade with Dean, but it's been too many years to count since I've been on them, and I have a wonky foot that didn't like the lack of stability the single line of wheels offered. So I hope roller skates go better.
Dean is only 11 months old, so I have a bit of time to get myself used to them before we go out and do anything, and even then I don't think we are gonna go fast lol
But I am wondering if anyone else here does outdoor roller skating with their dogs? How did it go? What were some issues you ran in to? And what kind of harness did you use? Did you have them beside you, or pulling you, and did it make a difference in what kind of harness you bought?
when did you start your dog? I have heard everything from 5 months to 3 years. I was also wondering if we could start earlier if we only did less than a mile with him on sand, or walking next to me while I went slow and tried not to fall on my face or rear lol
I plan on getting him into biking later on too, but I figure roller skates are going to be easier to take to shows when we go, so I have a way to burn off his extra energy.

~Melissa~
Dean the gsd
Ella the EB
Minnie the cat
Herbie the cat
Cas the baby cat
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Unread 05-26-2019, 11:57 AM
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If you're thinking to pursue this for a good energy drain, you'll eventually want to train him to pull - they work harder and use up that energy more quickly that way!

I would wait until at least 1 year old for "real" running, and definitely no pulling before that. Sand is harder work to walk in, just like it is for us - so even if you're only going 1/2 mile, it will be roughly equivalent to 1 mile. But starting smaller distances is a good plan (especially on lower impact surfaces), and this is also a great time to work on control! I'd also make sure you're really comfortable using and maneuvering in the skates before you bring Dean with you.

Before you get going on wheels, take time to train those control commands first! (They're eminently useful.)

I bikejor with Zage, and these are mostly what we use:
Hike = go
Hike up = pick up speed
Easy = slow down
Whoa = stop
Gee = right
Haw = left
On by = pass that(ignore that)
Straight ahead = no turn (at an "intersection")
Gee(haw) over = go to the right(left) side of the trail
Line out = go out (until you feel tension on the harness)

As far as harnesses go, there are a number of options/styles, even within the pulling world. I use an X-back (custom fitted for Zage), and see many many other shepherds in X-backs. I see other styles as well, but can only speak from experience for the X-back. If you decide you only want him to run next to you, I might skip the harness - because no matter the style of harness, they are meant to encourage pulling. And if he has any kind of pull drive, he will!

- Kayla

Dover von Ziegeln Zage (GSD, 3 yrs)
Dutchess Lena of Black Lake RATI (Keeshond, 12 yrs)


“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Unread 05-26-2019, 12:38 PM
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Many years ago DH used to roller blade and put the dog in a harness and let her pull him fast in an abandoned area with no traffic. They had a blast -- until the day a squirrel crossed in front of them and the dog's prey drive kicked in.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Unread 05-26-2019, 02:04 PM
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I used to rollerskate with our family dog and we had fun, but we also had some big crashes involving bandaids and bloody knees!

If I was going to exercise my dog on skates, I would...
- look for a flat route with no car traffic (i.e. a path around a lake in a park) OR a big empty parking lot with no car traffic (i.e. an office park on a weekend)
- wear kneepads, wristguards, helmet
- train the "Whoa" command at least (and the others listed, if possible!)

Our crashes mostly happened rolling downhill (brakes don't work that great sometimes, and holding a leash, you can't skate in a zigzag pattern to slow yourself down),
and when things were passing and we had to get out of the way fast (cars, pedestrians, bikers).
It's fun moving at dogspeed though! :-)

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Unread 05-27-2019, 12:32 AM
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Hi Datura. My boy used to rollerblade 3-4 times a week starting when he was 10 months (he's now approaching 2 years). We stopped because... I lost one of the rollerblades when I moved to a different area 2 months ago 😂 We lived in a area which had a stretch of 6miles, minimum people, especially after 6pm.

Based on my experience, the most important thing when rollerblading with a dog (esp a large breed dog WITH high prey drive such as GSDs), is that you're physically able to control him while you're rollerblading and holding a leash with one hand. We use a harness and of course attach it to the back clip, and because of that, he will naturally have more power in pulling. Sure it can be smooth sailing, but it's very dangerous when there's another dog in your way and it's barking at your dog and your dog reacts or if he sees a squirrel and he pulls fast instinctively. It happened to me a couple times, I fell once or twice. When we started rollerblading, he was probably 60lbs. Now he is 90lbs and the difference in his physical power is just astounding. So keep that in mind too.

I taught him some commands 'Halt' for stop, 'Slow down' and 'Full stop.' and it has to be reinforced from time to time even if you don't need to, so that he keeps learning. Also, watch out for uneven surface!

For me personally, I like rollerblading with my dog. It's risky, but it's a great structured exercise and it challenges his mind too because I gave him a job that is to pull or to heel.

Since then, we've now been biking. We have a metal pole attached to my bike which goes to his harness. From this position, it's kinda hard for him to pull me, but as long as he heels along, I'm fine with it.

If I had to choose, I'd choose rollerblading with my dog than biking, I find it more challenging for him and it's just a little more fun for me too.

Just remember to be confident in your skills in rollerblading and to have him under your control at all times. HAVFUN!
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post #6 of 5 (permalink) Unread 05-27-2019, 10:57 AM
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For me the safest way is to have the dog off leash and under voice control. That's how I bike with her.
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