Are there any specific breeds
that work particularly well as trail
Working breeds make the best trail
dogs, such as Australian cattle dogs, labs
or Jack Russells. That’s not to say mixed-breed or rescue dogs won’t work—they
work well in fact. Just look for mixes with
working breed backgrounds. The best trail
dog we’ve seen recently was a Rottweiler/
Australian Shepherd mix named Tonka.
How do you begin the training
process? What’s the first step?
The first step is hiking with the dog to
get it used to being out on the trail. Next
is some basic work in the park to get the
dog used to being around the bike. Herding
dogs sometimes want to run right in front
of you and try to direct you on the trail.
This has to be corrected before hitting
your first singletrack. Build up the distance
gradually. If you take your time and train
with love, you will strengthen your bond.
The dog learns to respect you as the master, which leads to a lifetime of friendship,
love and loyalty. Your dog will quickly
become your favorite riding partner.
What are the absolutely
critical commands the dog
needs to learn?
Your dog should really
understand the “heel” command. This will help to keep
the dog from wandering away
in the forest. “Stay” and “sit”
are also important. These help
when you encounter other trail
users. Moving to the side of
the trail and having your dog
sit will let other trail users
know your dog is in your control and well behaved. It does
a lot for our sport when we
make a good impression on
other trail users.
Photo by Pat Carrigan
Laurie Troy of thepetmom.net
Photo by Bob Ward