Rollerblading with a Hyper Dogby Todd Bowerman
A helmet is a necessity when skating with your dog.
While some dogs are content to spend the day sleeping, staring out the window or generally lazing about the house, others need vigorous exercise in order to expend their boundless energy. Hyper dogs will often turn to destructive behaviors such as chewing, barking and digging when there is no other outlet for their energy. Taking your hyperactive dog for a quick skate around the block or neighborhood is an excellent way to release that energy and help your dog (and you) stay healthy and fit. All it takes is the right mind-set and a little preparation.
Work with your dog on basic obedience commands. You should not attempt to rollerblade with your dog if he cannot stop on command and reliably stay by your side during walks. Your dog should also know to always stay on one side of you—otherwise you risk being tripped up by your leash.
Evaluate your skating skills with honesty. Before proceeding with an on-leash skate session, you should be able to comfortably turn and stop on your skates.
Place your dog in the harness and ensure that it fits snugly. Attach the leash to the harness and perform a few practice walks and runs to get your dog used to his new gear.
Put on your skates and protective gear (a helmet, at minimum) and start skating at a slow pace with your dog following beside you. If your dog keeps pace and seems comfortable, speed up until you hit a natural skating stride.
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- Protective skating gear
- Water bottle
- Skate only in areas that are skater-friendly and devoid of heavy traffic or pedestrians. Follow what are known as the SLAP rules when skating: smart, legal, alert, and polite.
- Stop frequently to reward your dog with small treats and give him a quick sip of water. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated while exercising.
- Start with shorter skating trips while your dog grows used to the process, then move up to longer trips based on his endurance and enthusiasm.
- Do not attempt to rollerblade with your dog if you are not certain of both your abilities as a skater and your dog’s abilities as an obedient pet. Rushing into a skate session could put you, your dog and the people around you at risk.