Running with Your Dog… Leashed to a Moped?

“That’s never going to work.” Just two seconds into watching the above video those were the words that came to mind. After watching the whole clip and seeing that running a dog with a moped indeed did work - in this case, at least - I’m certain that this is not a safe way to exercise a dog. Speaking of exercise, the person riding the motor scooter clearly isn’t getting much of a workout! Couldn’t she at least be riding a bicycle?

There was a dirt road near my childhood home that my family frequently used for walking our two dogs. Occasionally we saw another lady with her dog on that road - the problem was that only one of them was walking while the other was driving. The lady drove her car with a leash dangling out the driver side window, attached to her small dog who jogged alongside. I cringed every time I saw them — I was afraid that one day she’d accidentally run over her poor pooch! I never learned why she felt the need to drive rather than walk her dog, but she was certainly putting her companion into a very risky situation.

Using a moped to exercise a dog isn’t a horrible idea; in fact I find it rather creative. Here are some reasons to be in favor of the concept:

  1. If exercise wears you out well before your dog starts to feel winded
  2. Mopeds are probably safer for dog running than any other motorized vehicle (golf carts would be next in line here)
  3. Mopeds are cheaper than any other motorized vehicle (except maybe motorized scooters)
  4. If you are experienced operating a moped
  5. If your dog is relatively well-behaved on a leash
  6. I think we can agree that those are five relatively good reasons (or at least well-intentioned reasons) to exercise your dog using a moped. What about the cons? Let’s start with safety issues:

  7. The risk of running over your dog with the moped
  8. The risk of your dog pulling you off a moving moped, especially if you aren’t wearing a helmet (as the rider in the video wasn’t)
  9. Running your dog with the flow of traffic as if you’re a cyclist, but forcing motorists to pass you and your dog as if you’re a pedestrian
  10. In this case, putting the dog close to moving traffic while the moped rider hugged the shoulder
  11. Unknowingly over-exerting an exhausted dog because you have the power of a motor to keep the pace moving
  12. When my wife watched the video her first reaction was to point out reason #6. While your dog might cause you to trip when running on foot, your injuries will be far less severe than wiping out on a moped. Even though this pair was running on residential streets, I noticed a fair amount of vehicular traffic. When I run with my dogs (on foot, of course) we’re on the left side of the road facing traffic - after all, we’re pedestrians. Further, I ensure that my dogs are on my left so that I’m the one closest to traffic - as long as I’m clear of the passing vehicles, then so are my dogs. If my dogs ever become more exhausted than me, I definitely feel them lagging on the leash and I’m nowhere near strong enough to drag them beyond the point of collapse.

    Safety issues aside, there are other reasons to avoid motorized exercise with your dog:

  13. You get zero exercise sitting on a moped
  14. You have to devote your attention to driving, which means less attention and interaction with your dog
  15. If you have to stop for any reason you need to find somewhere to pull off the road, e.g. without a curb, avoiding private property, etc.
  16. Keeping your dog hydrated becomes a challenge
  17. You can’t use trails or pathways that are off-limits to motorized vehicles

Assuming one could find a way to effectively mitigate all of the safety issues, these last five reasons would still make the experience less beneficial - and let’s face it, less fun - than just running or walking with your dog. Owning a dog is a great excuse to keep yourself fit, and taking them out for a stroll is an effective way to interact with your dog as “one of the pack”. If you run out of gas you can simply rest for a while; if you or your dog need a drink you can stop and take a swig or lap it up. Most fun of all, you can explore beautiful trails that you otherwise wouldn’t see in a motorized vehicle.

I’m glad that the dog and rider in the above video were successful, but I hope it’s not something they do often, or even again. Why take on extra risk of harm to you and your dog when it’s even more fun and beneficial to everyone to keep your feet on the ground?

7 Responses to “Running with Your Dog… Leashed to a Moped?”

  1. Carol says:

    At local shows, I frequently see a Dobie breeder who exercises their dogs using a station wagon. In this case, their assistant sits in the back, holding the leads, and yelling commands to the driver. They’re also doing it in a closed area, usually a running track. I’ve never had an issue with their methods, since they’re obviously hyper careful, and only do this in pairs.

    The moped thing? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  2. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    Could it be that they were just wanting to find out how fast the dog runs? He obviously enjoyed the run, and was not hurt or forced to run. I watched the tension of the leash during the whole clip and it was loose. I don’t think I would have done that with a choke chain on the dog, though.

  3. Mr. Ed says:

    Instead of thinking up all those points in isolation, you should have spent the time reading about dog sports - especially those that sled-dog breeds are good with.

    Many breeds can run lots faster and lots longer than people can, and it’s just not possible to keep them in top condition by walking and running. Unless you’re a super-ultra-marathoner competing in 1000-mile races (the same distance as the Yukon Quest and Iditarod.)

    Start with http://www.workingdogweb.com or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_sport and check out bikejoring, carting, scootering, and skijoring. Join an internet group on one of these topics or on dogsledding or on one of the working breeds that has all-day stamina.

    And dog help you should you ever lose the ability to walk or run! Maybe you’ll change your elitist views about motorized assistance while you exercise your dogs. You may not notice us cripples today, but we’re out there. And we love animals too.

  4. Run Dogs says:

    The rider of the moped needs to wear a helmet and for safety reasons the dog should be wearing a harness.

    I excerise 14 sled dogs (at one time) using an ATV–can I keep them hydrated? You bet and I do. Is it done safely–of course it is.I suspect this person has found a way to help keep their dog in shape and has practiced it before venturing out onto a road with traffic.

    Another issue if you are looking for things are the feet. Even people that walk their dogs on sidewalks–it is not good for their feet, shoulders, elbows, hips, etc. to be coming down on the hard surface.

    Run dogs, run silent

  5. 2CatMom says:

    I have a friend that walked her dog while rollerblading. Unfortunately, the dog took off after a squirrel and my friend ended up with a broken collar bone.

  6. Tony says:

    MORON….Moron…Supermoron….How would she like to be force to run..non stop..You know something? There are these things called bicycles…..they’re not new!!!They sure would help with her fat #!#$#@!!

    Tony

  7. Lynn says:

    Where I live there is an older gentleman confined to a motorized wheelchair who has trained his dog to walk ahead of him. This has been going on for almost ten years without incident. Luckily in this part of town bicycles are not allowed on the sidewalks, so there’s no fear of that problem.

    However, a couple blocks away there’s another older man who walks his dog using something akin to an electric golf cart. [We have a lot of those here as a lot of tourist traffic creates heavy congestion in the summertime.] Now this man walks his dog at a good walking pace for the dog. The first time I saw this I almost had a heart attack since he was making a u-turn in the middle of an intersection. I just KNEW the dog was going to be hit and went running out into the street to save it. Turned out the dog was trained to sit on command while the human drove the cart around the dog in order to complete the u-turn. Amazing. Since I’ve observed this phenomenon for many years now, I’ve come to the conclusion that the human and dog have it all down pat. It’s probably safer than letter a four year old walk the dog. But still, I worry that some tourist is going to accidentally kill the dog one day.


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