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My dog attacks bikes

Many dogs have issues with wheels – bikes, Rollerblades, strollers, wagons, scooters, motorcycles, wheelchairs, skateboards, even cars.

The issues vary from dog to dog. Some act out aggressively, lunging and barking. Some would actually bite a person on a bike if they could. Other dogs pull frantically at the leash while trying to chase or flee.

Some dogs even shut down out of fear and crouch as submissively as possible.

No matter how inappropriately your dog acts around bikes, she is most likely acting out of fear and uncertainty. Dogs often act aggressively when they are afraid. So if your dog is lunging and barking, she isn’t “macho,” she is insecure.

Here are some tips for helping your insecure dog get control of herself around “wheels.”

I’m going to stick with bikes in this post, but the same concepts can be applied to anything.

Get your dog used to strollers, bikes and Rollerblades.

1. Master loose-leash walking.

My dog doesn’t have issues with wheels, but he used to get overly excited over other dogs. The best way to get him used to new things was to take him out as much as possible. So, start walking!

Get consistent on obedience. Carry treats on walks, and go out on weekends and after work when there is more “excitement.” Most importantly, teach your dog to heel. A dog that walks at your side is under control. A dog that is all over the place on a Flexi leash or even pulling on a 4-foot leash is more likely to respond negatively to bikes.

2. Buy the best training collar for your dog.

It might be a pinch collar. It might be a Halti or a Gentle Leader. The point is, you need to be in control. That isn’t always possible on a regular, buckle collar. A choke collar isn’t much better unless it is kept high on the dog’s neck. I recommend a Halti.

3. Practice obedience next to a bike.

Set your dog up for success. That means think of training in the tiniest steps possible. Practice some sits and stays in the backyard or your garage next to an unoccupied bike. Reward your dog when she sits calmly next to the bike. This will be easy for most dogs, but it is still a good place to start. If your dog reacts to a bike that isn’t moving, then you know how much work you have ahead of you.

4. Get someone to ride the bike near your dog.

Continue to practice obedience. Ask someone your dog knows to slowly push the bike around the yard. Pretend that you don’t even notice this person or the bike. This will help your dog learn that bikes are no big deal. Depending on how your dog reacts, that person could slowly ride the bike. Work on keeping your dog’s attention and reward calm behavior with highly valued treats like hot dogs, cheese or jerky.

5. Walk with your dog on one side and the bike on the other.

Go for a walk while wheeling the bike on your right side, with your dog on your left. You will be between the dog and the bike, with no one on the bike quite yet. You are teaching your dog that there is no reason to be scared of bikes. Go at a slow pace. If your dog is uncomfortable, ignore her and reward her with food once she is calm. Correct unwanted behavior like barking or pulling. If your dog is obviously very panicked or stressed, don’t force her to continue. Instead, go back to previous steps where she can be successful.

6. Ask a family member or friend to bike by you and your dog.

Again, reward your dog for calm behavior. If your dog lunges or barks, correct her with a leash pop or redirect her attention with food. You will probably need the person to bike by you 10 or 20 times and very slowly at first. If it doesn’t go well, try again on a different day. Once your dog is able to ignore the bike, ask your friend to increase his speed. A lot of dogs are fine around bikes at slow speeds but become agitated when bikes go speeding by.

7. Purposely walk by strangers on bikes.

If you want your dog to get used to bikes, you’re going to have to stop avoiding them. Continue carrying treats during walks so you can keep your dog’s attention and reward her when she’s calm. Some people like to stop and make their dogs sit when bikers go by. If this works for your dog, then do that. I prefer to keep walking and act like the bike isn’t there. Remember not to be too tense or your dog will also be tense. The calmer you can be, the better your dog will be.

8. Stay calm. Don’t get angry.

I can easily loose my temper with my dog when he doesn’t understand what I want. But I also know this does nothing to help either of us. If my dog is confused or acting “badly,” it means I need to change something. That’s probably why I lose my temper, because I’m mad at myself! Dog training is not a quick process. Take it easy and remember that getting angry only makes the dog more confused, insecure or scared.

9. Continue training.

Dogs will regress if they don’t keep practicing. So continue to work on all of the above steps as needed. My dog is well behaved in our own neighborhood, but he gets more excited when we go to new areas. Don’t be surprised if you go to a new park and all the sudden your dog is freaking out around bikes again. She might also behave when you walk her but not when your husband or daughter walks her. That’s why it’s important to encourage all family members to take part in the training. Be patient and continue training your dog every chance you get.

10. Bike with your dog.

At this point, your dog will probably be much more comfortable around bikes. Now you can even take your dog along on bike rides. I recommend a dog bike attachment which is a hands free bike leash. Don’t forget your helmet!

Does your dog have any reactions to bikes and strollers? What do you do?

Have a good Memorial Day weekend!!

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Chris

Sunday 23rd of October 2016

My dog is 8 , she was in a kennel until I got her . She is a little basset griffon.She does not lunge or try to attack,she just goes berserk wailing and crying non stop,if She sees a bike close or in distance , she does nor stop and treats are of no interest . Previous owner said a postman use to cycle by and chuck biscuits over the kennel. Could it be this, excitement ? Am not sure , reading up all comments it could be fear ? I live in Scotland loads of mountain bikes , today though worse I ever saw her absolutely beside herself .i have two of them and they both livedtogether he does not bother so much gets a little excited but that's all . Am at wits end . Do have some place bike free . Both on leads as they are scent hounds and cannot be offllead as they disappear .on scent . Any suggestions , is this learned behaviour ? Or fear .. Did someone chuck something which hit her .all supposition. But any answer would be good.

Allen Doak

Friday 11th of December 2015

I am in a power wheel chair & whenever my neighbors dog sees me it goes wild . It got through a hole in their fence & came right away into my yard & kept trying to bite me. The owner heard me & came out & got it but it did manage to bite my elbow. The owner is making the fence more secure & can only hope it does not get out. In the meantime I have gotten a pepper spray pistol for protection & only hope I do not have to use it

Vanessa

Tuesday 4th of December 2012

My dog completely freaks out at the stroller but.it's only when my oldest daughter is with us. On the way home without her he's fine with it. I don't even want to take him for walks anymore =/

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 5th of December 2012

I hope some of these tips are helpful for you!

jen

Sunday 19th of August 2012

My dog is very fearful on a leash. She gets aggressive towards men, other dogs and especially bicycles. I take her on bike rides all the time and she is fine with me on the bike but still reacts poorly to other people on bikes. I am afraid she is going to accidentally bite someone one day. We work hard trainibg her and it just doesnt seem to be enough. I get very worried now whenever we are walking. :(

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 19th of August 2012

I recommend you check out the book Feisty Fido by Patricia McConnell. It has some good tips for dogs that react aggressively out of fear while on a leash. I also have a post on leash aggression you may want to check out. Also, don't hesitate to contact a trainer in your area who might be able to give you some useful tips.

http://www.thatmutt.com/2010/05/18/dog-leash-aggression/

L-A

Tuesday 14th of August 2012

Wow. My Aussie mix just bit someone on a bike today. He was off leash and gets triggered by some things I seem to be able to identify, and others that seem completely random. He barks and lunges at trucks/buses, one jogger in particular in my neighborhood, and bikes. He can pass 20 bikes with no problem and then bark like crazy at some. Tonight was the worst. He bit this cyclist's leg and drew blood. I think it is insecurity--he's very anxious under certain circumstances--loud noises etc. He's a new rescue, only a year and half old and been with me since 10 months old. He's not used to the city life and has improved in some areas (used to snap and nip at me until I made an adjustment to be a stronger pack leader) but then this incident was just the worst. I called in a dog behaviorist and hope she can help. Any feedback would be appreciated. Also, I've had my fair share of aggressive people who scream and yell at me for being a terrible dog owner when the dogs have WALKED in their path or just been really excitable (then even more excitable when they start screaming at me). I try to stay as calm as possible and have noticed that once people get past their fear stage they tend to be fairly reasonable. Even this guy that was bit was reasonable after I stopped, apologized, checked if he was ok, gave him my info, etc. Then there are those people that just are nasty no matter what. Thanks for this thread--very comforting to know I"m not the only one with an insecure dog. I feel like such a bad doggy mama sometimes! :)

Linda

Saturday 25th of January 2014

L-A, if you are still around, your dog sounds EXACTLY like mine, and he is a mini-aussie also. My dog is 6 years old and has always been in the city and around cars, bikes etc but still attacks them. He didn't start out as bad when he was young but it got worse as he got older, and I think my teenager daughter who took him out all the time made him ever more insecure since she was such a drama queen and he was around that all the time. Anyways, my dog is defintely insecure outdoors, he's always looking over his shoulder and scouting the area like he watching and waiting to attack. I keep confident on the leash with him but so far it isn't stopping him a bit. I've heard mini-Aussies are more prone to this behaviour due to some bad breeding.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 18th of October 2012

Aussies also have such a high drive to chase and nip in their attempts to "herd" things, as you know!