Sup With Pup: Training Dogs for Bike Trailers, Pt. 1

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Article & Photos by Maria Christina Shultz, SUP with your PUP This looks silly, I know. But before our Burley Tail Wagon arrived I started thinking about how I was going to introduce the dogs to it. Riley and Kona don’t like crates, and I’m thinking that a small enclosed space like the trailer might be a hard sell. Like any other project I tackle, I know I have to break things down into small pieces. So I think – what are the most important basic things I need to teach my dogs?
  • I need to introduce the trailer in a super positive way
  • The dogs should hop into the trailer willingly
  • They should both sit or lay nicely
  • They have to stay in the trailer and not get out until I give the signal


Enter the clothes basket! The clothes basket is a familiar object to both dogs, and Kona used to sleep in one when she was a puppy (it was so darn cute). It’s also a semi-enclosed space that the dogs can get used to hoping in and out of. This simulation should help the dogs build some foundational skills that we can transfer to the Tail Wagon. So week one the dogs took turns sitting and staying in the clothes basket, getting in and out on command, and I was even able to drag Kona around the living room to introduce some movement. Riley on the other hand did not like the movement – he’s going to be my problem child! I’ll keep rewarding Riley for getting into the basket, and keep moving it around little by little until he feels more secure. As we work on training during week two, we’ll move exclusively to the trailer while I resist the temptation to take it outside for a spin. I really want the dogs to love this, so I’m planning to feed them meals in the trailer, get peanut butter filled KONGS in it, and maybe some hot dogs! The more I reinforce the trailer as a good safe place the easier the rest of the training should go. For Part 2 in the Sup With Pup Training Dogs For Bikes How-To Series, Click Here.