Rollerblading (which involves travelling at greater speeds than walking or running) is an amazing way establish a bond with your dog and at the same time, enhance his fitness and overall health.
Given that roller skating involves safety concerns for the person as well as the dog, it is imperative that you ensure that there is complete trust between you and your dog, and that he understands your basic commands during the activity – specifically, stopping when you ask him to stop.
A well-trained dog who has the ability to run along with you (without dragging) and isn’t distracted by things and people around him, can give you an ideal start as you train and teach him to run by your side as you roller skate.
Tips for Roller Skating With a Dog
We have shortlisted some very helpful tips and tricks that you can use whilst roller skating with your dog – this guarantees you and your dog a memorable time each time you step out, in a safe and secure manner.
1. Proper Skating Technique
A lot depends on your skating skill levels as well, and not just your dog’s temperament.
The best and grounded position whilst skating with a dog would be a knee bend. It needs to be slight, so you have a stable position to do both – maneuver yourself and control the dog too. This position involves bending both, your buttocks as well as your ankle, eventually resulting in faster speed and more control.
2. Safe Roller Skating Gear
This one is obvious and cannot be emphasized enough. You cannot compromise on wearing proper fitted and appropriate protective gear. This includes a helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, and should always be worn, regardless of your skill level at roller skating. We have countless examples of skaters (within family, acquaintances or generally through observance) who routinely get injured by being over-confident, negligent, or under-prepared. It is not only you at risk of injury, it is your dog too this time!
3. Train Your Dog
If your dog isn’t trained to stop on your command, then you shouldn’t be considering taking him with you during roller skating. This is asking for trouble! You are only exposing yourself to trip on the leash, as your dog goes in all sorts of directions.
As you both move in slow and tandem motion, always use commands that you dog is familiar with. Practice these commands slowly on him and on regular intervals to check that he understands them during skating as well, and that he is committed to this new exercise regime. Try to use as many commands as possible to get his attention, such as ‘stop’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘wait’, ‘heel’ and ‘leave it’.
If the dog is obeying your instructions and diligently following them, you can always increase the distance you both intend to travel on the rollerblades. This training should be a slow process where you both are getting the hang of this new routine and requires patience and positive reinforcement for the dog.
4. Choose the Right Leash
Always opt for an exercise leash which will ensure that your dog always stays close to you. This also means that you can always retain the control on your dog during your roller skating maneuvers. It is always a prudent idea to practice with a tight leash prior to releasing or using a longer leash.
5. Check the Weather
Weather will play a big part in ensuring that your dog enjoys the experience. The weather needs to be stable and nice, so the dog feels comfortable running alongside you. As a matter of fact, you should only opt for roller skating with your dog during cooler days. Keep them hydrated throughout or prior to the journey. Dogs are natural workers and would continue to pull you through even when they are exhausted. This can be exacerbated by inclement or hot weather conditions.
6. Start Slow
Once you have your rollerblades on and have set yourself in a position to go, start cautiously by holding the leashed dog as close to your body as possible, before and during the skating process.
Try to roller skate in vicinities that you and your dog are comfortable with, particularly, where there are no distractions or has lesser traffic. This ensures that there is no panic and you both start with a coordinated effort.
7. Avoid Animals and People
You need to pick a trail that is quieter and doesn’t have too many distractions – such as people around, traffic, or other animals. This is to protect you and the dog from any risk of injury whilst roller skating. In view of this, a very good option to start off with can be your driveway or an open space within your house, if available.
Whenever you travel past another dog or a pet, always ensure that you leave ample space between you two and the other animal. It is only natural for the animals to feel anxious and inquisitive when close to each other.
When dogs interact with other animals, they tend to display a variety of behavioral options, depending on how they feel about the presence of other animals or humans. This includes fight, flight, avoidance or acceptance. If they are in a fight mode, you may find them moving towards your skates, as a protective step. This may be dangerous and cause a trip or an injury to you and your dog. You always need to be vigilant for other dogs and people around your pet, which can be challenging whilst on the move on roller skates. These other animals may be looking forward towards you, which means they have adopted a hunting position, and you need to stay away from them and keep your dog at a distance too.
Never get nervous or anxious when you see an animal or human coming towards you, as you speed along. It will help you (and your dog) if you keep moving at a fast pace in a specific lane, away from other distractions in a calm and composed manner. Always remember to keep your safe distance from humans and animals – you cannot go wrong with this technique.
It is a self-explanatory statement to make that you should know the basics of rollerblading before you invite your pet to accompany you on a ride. Equally important is the fact that you should be comfortable in riding with skates as well as managing your dog on a short and long leash at the same time.
Always ensure that you and your dog are on the same page when it comes to giving and obeying commands, and whenever in doubt, always take it slow with him, and spend some time practicing them. It is important for your dog to be comfortable with and around your rollerblades, which is something they are not used to.
This guide is meant to be a quick reference guide for all the dog lovers out there who would love to take their pets on a jog, and at the same time, indulge in the activity of roller skating, which is an alternative to a simple walk or run that may get boring over a period of time.