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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I had a few questions about mountain biking with a GSD. I should start off by saying that I do not have a GSD; however, I’ve wanted one for years. My family is into mountain biking and running and while the GSD would be a great companion for the latter, I’m not so sure about the former. Would mountain biking put to much stress on the hips and elbows? I understand that steep declines would require us to slow down quite a bit, but would two and three hour trail rides in the mountains be too much over the years? This is assuming that we build him or her up to that level stamina wise and weather (temp) permitting. I tried using search but could not find any info or posts specific to this topic. Thanks.
 

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My last dog ( An Australian Kepie ) used to go everywhere with me on my mountain bike and I would ride at warp 10 . Most of it was flat-lands single track so no real stress there. I just bought a new bike last week so i can run Karma and she loves it. She instinctively runs right next to the bike whilst on a lead and if I arc up the cruiser to mach 2, she loves it. Assuming the ground is forgiving to your dogs paws I am sure your dog would love biking with you out in the woods.No doubt you will stop to drink yourself so just keep her hydrated and you will have one content and well exercised dog. Once i drop a few KG I am going to invest in a nice GIANT and then get back into the game as w have some SWEEEEEEEEEET riding over here. The cows leave single track everywhere !!!
 

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Hi thanks for the quick response. The Kelpie has that body structure that I think bodes well for trail riding, somewhat slight but very musculature especially toward the back, very cool cattle dog. My concern with the GSD was if it would cause any issues as he or she aged. In other words, would mountain biking on trails cause damage that would not have been present if the activities he or she did revolved around just running and walking in the parks. I know that this question calls for speculation, but I was curious if anyone bikes with their GSD’s on a continual basis.
 

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I take my dogs out with my mountain bike on the trails. I don't do endurance or really long distances. Im probably under 2 miles with the dogs now. I don't take my older dogs with the bike when its really hot. I found over the years it's easier on my knees than long walks, I get a little more distance than walking them and the pace is a little faster, more like a slow jog. Just like any exercise, you need to build your mussles up. Daily training at slow & short rides. About 20 years ago I used to take my GSD out with my horse for miles and miles. He was totally fit and used to want to play ball when we got home. I don't push my dogs now, I just keep them fit. I don't think I worried about health issues years ago like I do now. I heard a story, something about when kids train for sports really hard at a young age it can lead to joint problems earlier as they get older. So same applies with dogs.
 

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You'd have to work up to the longer distances and steeper hills.

Puppies (first year or so) I'd really tend to do more hiking/running on the same trials because you'd be better able to access their fatigue based on YOUR fatigue!

As long as you were then able to OFF leash start up with the biking you would be able to access how well your dog is doing based on all the previous runs. If the trails aren't near creeks/streams/ponds you'll have to take water.

Truthfully, my dogs can hike all day, and I'm not kidding. So that's miles and miles and miles. So you can easily build up the distance with the dogs, so just the heat, elevation, and speed will have to be considered.

Learn your dogs. Watch your dogs. Realize if they have problems you'll have to get back to the car with them so have a 'I'm halfway now and they seem fine so we can head back and still make it' plan.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses. I understand that I would have to bring water and perhaps a few small treats when we take extended breaks. Also, I’m not looking to bike fast, all out for extended periods of time. I would also be very cognizant of the weather and would leave the dog at home when the weather got warm. I would also build up the distance slowly and we would of course be running with the dog. I was just concerned that if the dog ran the mountains if it could problems later in life but it sounds like it would be fine as long as I take it easy and build the endurance and pads. Would a working dog be better than a show GSD, he or she will be a family member?
 

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A workingline dog is generally going to have better structure and more drive for this type of exercise; they also make great pets. They can be a lot of dog, so exercise and obedience training is going to be huge plus So long as your dog is structurally correct and enjoys it, I see no reason not to do this with him.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Elaine, with the working group will it be more difficult to deal with the prey drive? I kind of thought that the working class would be better but I want to bike off leash and will obviously have to train the dog to stay close behind me. A modified form of heel I suppose.
 

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It has everything to do with training. You should not have too much trouble teaching him to bike with you off leash.

I guess, even for my dog, I would put an e-collar on him for off-leash back-of-the beyond biking just in case a deer or something popped up so I could stop him if needed. Just yesterday I was out mowing when my boy flushed a rabbit and I couldn't get him to stop for several houses, which on the back trails, he could have gone over a cliff, tripped another biker, run into a barbed wire fence. I would want an emergency stop ability.
 

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Depending on the trail type, you would need some training for the dog. Not sure 'heel' is necessary though. I'd just a soon have them running in bit in front and to the sides (not liking behind cause you won't know if they are off and away). A narrow trail wouldn't allow them beside you....

A working line dog would be great for you cause the biking would allow you to be able to get the exercise they need and want. You would need to make sure TRAINING in general was going on for any dog (not just while biking) so at the same time you are doing a puppy search you may be looking at a 'good trainer search' too. Nothing like raising and training your puppy properly from the start to end up with the practically perfect adult dog we all want!

And you CAN start with tons of off leash HIKING that will not stress/strain a puppies bones and joints. Many of the good habits you develop on these hikes will directly coorelate to your later biking.

 

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I agree with everyone that a high drive working lines GSD should be more than able to keep up with you.

But if your looking for a dog with alot of energy and endurance you might also want to try the Weimanraner, Vizsla, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Thai Ridgeback, Belgian Malinois or even a German Shorthaired Pointer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great video and two beautiful GSD’s. Just to reemphasize I do not plan on barreling down the hills as fast as possible, as many of the trails are quite technical. I’m sure the dogs can handle the pace at the time; I was just concerned that it may cause issues (arthritis) as the dog ages. As far having the dog behind, I thought that it would ensure that he or she does not cause any accidents from other bikers ahead. Also, I could see what’s coming up first and help negotiate the terrain somewhat. Lastly, I’m leaning toward a rescue GSD, young adult, who is friendly/socialized from the WA rescue. I’m about one to two months away from this. Thanks for the tips!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I agree with everyone that a high drive working lines GSD should be more than able to keep up with you.

But if your looking for a dog with alot of energy and endurance you might also want to try the Weimanraner, Vizsla, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Thai Ridgeback, Belgian Malinois or even a German Shorthaired Pointer.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve spent a bit of time with Malinois’s and you are right they have loads of energy, but from my experience they are very high strung. The Weimaraner is also one that we have considered but I think the GSD is what we have our hearts set on. This will be the first dog I can truly devote a lot of time to training (impending layoff planned for quite a while). For the first six months to a year I will have the time to attend training and work with the dog myself on a daily basis.
 

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my good friend brng his gsd mtb all over the dog has ran more trails than most of the mtb er i know haha , even moab ! the dogs great keeps up and loves t he slows down and goes fast stops for water and breaks and give the dog a clffbar haha dog loves it ,
 

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i think a 2 or 3 hour ride is way to much at
any given time for your dog. i walk 5 miles
in the woods with our dog but it's a slow
5 miles. we stop for rest and water many times
before completing the 5 miles. we slowly built
up to the 5 miles. my dog was close to 2 yrs. old before
we started going 5 miles.

I understand that steep declines would require us to slow down quite a bit, but would two and three hour trail rides in the mountains be too much over the years?
 

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A lot of us have way more active dogs than that. My dog would think nothing of running that far and he would still complain that I was too slow and we hadn't gone far enough.

OMD, make sure you get a very active dog if you are looking at getting a rescue and preferably a workingline dog.
 

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I have a 5yr old GSD that has been hard core hiking with me since she was 6 mon old. We have snakes, buffalo and elk in the mountains along with other creatures and she ignores them. Though she is now showing signs of joint problems and is on meds for it. She doesn't have the high prey drive but is very ball driven. If I hold the ball or frisbee as we run, she quietly focuses on where the ball is, good sign of a good dog in my opinion. I never have to leash her, because she doesn't make a move unless I tell her to.
Now my other GSD I adopted last year, she has a high prey drive. Anything moves and she is hitting it fast and hard. I would never trust her off the leash because her prey drive is so strong she doesn't respond to my recall.

When making a selection on your pup, really make sure you work on the ball drive, it seems to really help keep them focus in training. Work with the dog in your yard or safe park until you see how it responds to the bike.

oh, the other hiking dog I had that was the best was an Austalian Shepherd, he hiked with me for 12yrs.
 

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Now my other GSD I adopted last year, she has a high prey drive. Anything moves and she is hitting it fast and hard. I would never trust her off the leash because her prey drive is so strong she doesn't respond to my recall.
Please be aware, this is a simple training issue. The craziest high drive dogs I know can be trained to be reliable off leash. I start off at home, then go to dog classes, and if I have to then use the e-collar to get the off leash thing solid so I CAN hike with my dogs off leash, then that's a training method that's available so I use it.
 

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@Maggie, Not to offend original poster for changing thread lol.
But Sasha was kicked out, yes kicked out of obedience class even with a muzzle for psychotic behavior. The instructor worked with us outdoors each week for 9 wks. she is excellent at commands except when other animals make movements of any kind the she attacks at super speed with her eyes glazed over no response to me at all.
She is a dog I rescued/accepted quickly and the aggression did not manifest itself until she entered our "pack".
I purchased an e-collar but have been afraid to use it being untrained with it. I was warned with her extreme aggression that it might make her worse to use the ecollar.
 
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