Not exercising dogs is the real cruelty

As a Pet Sitters International accredited pet sitter, who has worked in the pet care industry for 10 years, I have to disagree with the opinion that cycling with a dog is inhumane. (May 23 letter.) The real cruelty lies with the pet owner who fails to provide his dog with adequate exercise. A dog in the wild would travel about 20 miles a day while in a pack. A dog in captivity requires at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. The working breeds require much more.

Dogs that are under-exercised soon become obese, unruly, distraught, anxious, destructive and their lifespan is reduced by years. What the writer describes as a dog being dragged behind a bicycle is actually a well-trained dog that is in the heel position behind the bike’s front tire. Another type of dog cycling is called skijoring. When skijoring, the dog wears a harness and pulls the bicyclist or the cross-country skier. All of these dogs work off of voice commands much like the sled dogs. Because not all dogs make a good cycling dog, it is important to have a vet check done beforehand. Also, never cycle in hot weather and always remember to bring along a water bottle.

Your dog should know his voice commands before cycling begins and don’t forget to dress him in a reflective orange vest.

Now get off the couch and go have fun with your dog.

SUSAN EWING

Arlington

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