Any dog owner will tell you that life’s more fun when your loyal canine friend is by your side. However, some dogs seem to have more energy on tap than the National Grid and it can be hard work keeping them exercised. On foot, it can be a challenge, but on an eMTB, you’re the physical alpha of the pack, a superhero to your dog. With power comes responsibility, so before you rocket up the hill and leave your dog wondering what you ate for breakfast, it’s time to consider the consequences of ebikes for our most loyal friends.

Owning a dog is a big decision, and if you want your dog to join you on the trails you need to do lots of research first to check the suitability of the breed. Any dog has the potential to make a good trail dog, but you need to be realistic with your expectations as many dogs are simply not physiologically built to run continuously for long periods of time. Trail dogs can be a challenge too. We’re not super keen on the Russian roulette as they dart in front of your wheels on challenging terrain, or when they career off at warp speed after a rabbit, leaving you shouting like a fool into the woods.

However, there are rewards too. No matter the weather or what’s on Netflix, your loyal trail dog will always be ready at the door, eagerly hoping they will get to join you for a loop in the woods. An ebike makes wet weather dog walks less boring and takes the sting out of the steepest hills. However, the added power of a motor on your eMTB give you superpowers, while your dog has none – unless you count the ability to make food disappear.

Forget about your eMTB’s range. Your dog will be the limiting factor.

Dogs are loyal, you can trust them to guard your house, your family and garden – just never trust them to guard your lunch. As such, a dog will follow you anywhere and in their eagerness to stay with the pack they will keep chasing you, even if they are injured. With an eMTB you are the E-alpha, no longer the weakest link and instead leading at the front. Being an E-alpha means you’re responsible for your pack and it’s important to not suddenly turbo out a huge loop. Like you after a winter of guarding the TV remote, your dog is going to be used to a more sedate pace and will initially struggle with big eMTB rides.

No more range anxiety. With care, a trailer can dramatically increase the range of your trail dog. Editor Manne uses the Croozer Dog trailer for his dog Henry.

For pack harmony, keep your trail dog rides at a moderate distance and pace and don’t be tempted by your new physical E-alpha status. It’s best to keep your bike in Eco, keep the rides short and include plenty of breaks for your dog to sniff and catch their breath. Use your eMTB distance display and stop every kilometre or so to let your dog relax and have a hunt around. You can ask your dog to count them off too. What, you didn’t know your dog could count? Put two biscuits in your pocket, give them one and see what happens.

Playing the long game. It’s important not to exercise your dog too much, too early

If your dog is still a pup, speak to your vet before venturing on the trails. During your dog’s first year, their bones are still hardening and are vulnerable. Dogs can suffer later in life if they are over-exercised when they’re young. Also remember that small dogs have to run at a higher cadence to keep up, powered solely by willpower and fury, so keep the pace gentle. Also, don’t forget that in the summer months, trails are dryer and more abrasive and can rub at your little buddy’s feet. If your dog hasn’t done much running on hard surfaces, their footpads might be as soft as a cheap tire sidewall and will really suffer on big rides. Introduce them gradually to longer rides and build up the distances very gently. You’ll already have seen the heartbreaking look on your dog’s face when you tell them there are no more biscuits. Imagine the eyeballing you’ll get if you have given them a limp.

The E-dog instruction manual

  • If your dog is already a fully qualified trail dog, don’t drastically increase ride pace and distance with an eMTB.
  • Your dog runs on biscuits, not watts, and will need regular breaks to catch their breath and cool down.
  • Keep your eMTB on a low assistance mode so your dog can keep up.
  • Try to train your dog to run behind you, so there is less risk of collisions.
  • Teach your dog to drink from your hydration pack or bottle and keep them hydrated.
  • Check your dog’s paws regularly if the ground is dry or hard.
  • Relax, take it easy and enjoy a slower pace.
  • If you have to use a leash in built up areas, hold it in your front brake hand.
  • Invest in a dog trailer if you want to extend your range.
  • Avoid highly technical terrain and jumps.
Some dogs get tired earlier, others later. Our art director Julian Lemme enjoys longer tours with his dog Bonnie on the fabulous trails in Sintra, but always sticks to the limits of his dog!

I don’t want to cut my rides short, can I train a dog to ride an eMTB?

If you want to extend your range, there is a solution, albeit an expensive one. While we’ve yet to see someone successfully train a dog to ride an eMTB, if your eMTB is trailer compatible you can invest in a dog trailer. The best is the innovative € 799 Croozer Dog trailer, available in three sizes for dogs up to 45 kg. Once your dog has mastered staying calm while in the trailer, longer rides become an enjoyable possibility. During our testing, we found the dual-sided parking brake ensures stability as your dog jumps in and the interior is easy to clean in case of any incidents on the way. While you will have to be careful on tight turns to avoid tipping over the trailer, the handling is good enough to make gentle off-road tours a possibility. Here’s a lot more of dog trailer inspiration and a full review on the Croozer.

Teach your dog to use Strava

It’s been a long time since our dogs’ ancestors roamed the plains hunting moose and deer before finding their way back to their dens across the tundra. They can get easily disorientated with trails that split, distracted by unfamiliar smells or just latch onto someone they think is a better hunter/gatherer than you are. Make sure your trail dog has a collar or tag with your name and number and get them microchipped. Failing that, maybe just give them a cheap smartphone and tell them to only use it in emergencies.

Nothing in the world is friendlier than a wet dog

If you have white walls in your home, experience will soon teach you to keep a dry towel in your car or in the entrance to your house. Your dog is a sponge for mud and grime and if you don’t act fast, that mud will end up on your carpets… the walls… and your sofas. If you frequently ride muddy trails and have a long-haired dog, we highly recommend investing in a Kärcher OC3 pressure washer. Gentle enough to use on your dog and compact enough to leave in your car, it can also double up as a bike washer for those ‘emotional’ weather days.

Used carefully, an eMTB can make boring dog walks a thing of the past. If you keep the pace and distance within your dog’s capabilities, you will enjoy the companionship of your most excited riding buddy. Keep it sensible, avoid pushing too hard and you’ll have many happy years of adventures together to come.

The role of eMTBs and the potential for where they can be used are changing rapidly. We offer fresh impetus to that change while helping to maintain a clear overview. One thing is for sure: the future of the eMTB is more exciting than ever before! Our E-MOUNTAINBIKE Theory of Evolution provides context for this and all other articles in our New Generation series, providing new perspectives and broadening the horizon of what’s ahead.

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Words: Photos: Robin Schmitt, Moritz Dittmar, Trevor Worsey