How To Train A Trail Dog…
Do you have a Trail Buddy? Not necessarily another rider but a dog! Having a trail dog is one of the coolest part of our adventures. They say a dog is man’s best friend. Now take your best friend and have him chase you through the trails. It puts a great big smile on his face, your face, and your other riding buddies’ faces.
Adventure Buddy is an avid camper hiker, rock climber, kayaker, SUP boarder, dirt bike rider, motorcycle rider, beach goer, and best friend. Make sure you and your furry buddy always come prepared. Bring a life jacket for you and him when boating.
Some people wonder how he is so good, and wish their dog could be like Buddy without running off. Truth be told, I am no dog trainer. The most important piece to the puzzle is trust. This goes for dogs and children. If you keep your dog on a leash his or her whole life, the second you take them off they are going to bolt. They want to explore while they have the chance! Most trainers would disagree with me, but as I am writing this, I am in a park on a peninsula. Buddy is swimming, exploring, and saying hi to others, all while checking in with me every ten minutes or so.
Buddy is rarely ever leashed, and it’s been this way since he was a pup. Now he is three. There was a little bit of a rebel stage in his teen years, or around 1.5 years old. That took a bit more due-diligence to pay attention to him. It is important to let him know if he’s been a bad boy and reward him when he’s a good boy. I found it very helpful to keep treats with me so if he was off adventuring, I would call him. When he came, I would give him a treat. He liked this and learned to come when I called him. If he didn’t come I would make him sit and go nose to nose with him without saying a thing. I would stare into his eyes feeding him my disappointed energy. He knew what he did was bad. Now, if I give him “that look,” he doesn’t sit or wait for me to even get close to him. He comes to my feet, then rolls over with his arms and legs in the air waiting for me to say it’s okay.
If you trust your dog or child to make their own decisions to an extent, they will be more respectful to your orders because it will be their choice to follow them. I learned this from my parents growing up. This is how they trained me. They gave me a long enough leash to explore life on my own while still keeping a close enough eye on me. This allowed me to learn self-dependence and understand why I should or shouldn’t do something.
Here is an example:
If you baby your child all through high school and don’t let him off your leash, that energy and curiosity will be kept inside waiting to explode. The second he has a chance to be off the leash, things can get bad. Like everything, drinking is okay in moderation, but if your leashed children never experience that, as soon as they go away to college or to the real world, they might party too hard to catch up on all the years they missed. This could lead to a downhill spiral towards alcoholism, mischief, or even drug abuse. This theory goes for your adventure dog too. Trust is key.
I personally take my Riding Buddy with me every ride we do. He’s a trooper and switches on beast mode for our rides. He’s a little thirty pound Beagle / Border Collie mix and he not only hangs with us, but usually ends up running past and waiting on us. On the downhills though, he is in hot pursuit.
You can say Buddy is a competitive rider. He doesn’t like being in the back of the pack. He likes to battle with us through the single track, both of us skimming trees in the process. On the downhills when he realizes his little legs can’t quite keep up with the RPMs of our bike wheels, he gets a little frustrated.
Bark! Bark! aaahoooooooo! Barking and howling at us to wait up for him, he chases us as fast as his legs will take him until we get to the next uphill as he dashes past us to take the lead again. He will sit at the top of the hill with his tongue out patiently waiting until we reach the summit, then he takes off again. Buddy is a well trained trail dog…unless he catches a scent of something. Then off he goes barking and howling again, but this time not at us rather another animal. Usually, we will keep on riding at a slower pace until he hops back on the trail farther down the line without skipping a beat.
No matter what the adventure is, Buddy will be there with us for the excitement. Having Buddy with us makes our adventure complete.