Jenni Williams said:
Not to start a big argument, but....is biking with a dog good for joints? I wouldn't sacrifice my dog's physical well-being just so he annoys me less in the house. Please, please, everyone: DO NOT bike with puppies! I know most everyone knows this, but unless I'm totally misinformed, running is nowhere near the best, healthiest exercise for your dog. How 'bout taking Fido for a swim? Sorry to hijack; should we move this?
Biking with puppies is a bad plan. I didn't see anyone advocating that here, but maybe there were puppies involved in the biking posts....?
But a lot of exercise is what dogs have evolved needing. For me, it's walking and training. This has nothing to do with my dogs annoying me less in the house (I'm pretty sure that was a joke, right?); it has everything to do with their physical and mental well-being.
An overweight dog or a dog with joint problems shouldn't be running behind a bike or a skateboard or rollerblades either, IMO. In fact, I'd be very careful about doing several types of exercise on a regular basis, including throwing something for the dog to catch, repetitively, landing on just his back legs. I think that's joint problem waiting to happen, from everything I have read.
As far as running goes (just running, no bike), there are lots of ways to assure yourself that you are not overworking the dog, that he's not running in a damaging way, and that he's a good candidate for running, period.
Dogs need weight-bearing exercise.
Swimming is *wonderful* exercise for us and them, and it can be especially great for a dog with joint problems. In general, though, if we are reasonably healthy and don't have ruined joints, we all (we and the dogs) require weight-bearing exercise, like walking, to maintain bone health.
I like this article about taking all the precautions before our dogs run regularly:
This one includes warm-up before running, and gives examples of other exercises:
I'd like to read more here, btw, if anyone has more ideas. My own dogs do great with long walks twice a day and short ones frequently in between, plus training, but I understand now that this isn't the case with a strong working dog.
I see that the most authoritative trainer sites agree 110% with you guys who advocate brainwork along with the exercise!
Also, it would be great, if others too think that running is not a good canine exercise, to get a discussion going. Does that mean full-out running? Or trotting/jogging? And wouldn't the surface make a huge difference?