My catahoula loves to go unicycling with me. Tips please?

So my wife and I went to the ASPCA and adopted this catahoula mix that had been abandoned in the Bronx.

Whenever we’ve dog sat in the past, every dog seemed to enjoy doing several miles with me on the unicycle–the dog running beside me.

I use a long retractable leash for safety.

Since this girl, Gala, is only a puppy (they estimated 6 - 9 months old), and her previous owner did god knows what with her, she arrived pretty rambunctious, chasing and barking after anything that moved; people, kids, other dogs, shadows.

So I took her to a quiet section of the park, and we started riding. A roller blader came by with 2 small dogs. Gala went for them, but with a gentle yank, she got in line next to me on the ride. This happened a couple times, then she learned to stay with me.

Then I did 2 laps around the park (no car traffic allowed), prolly 7+ miles total, and she was doing fine.

One problem I could use some help with: She isn’t alert to when I’m making sharp turns, and I’m also trying to train her to do circles and figure 8s. The problem is she just doesn’t get it. When she’s on the outside of the circle, she cuts behind me to take the short cut to the inside, much like the back wheel of a bicycle does.

On the inside, she doesn’t seem to get that I’m going in a circle, she just doesn’t get it.

I use lots of treats to train her to sit, lay down, and shake hands, as well as house training her–with great success.

I’m not exagerating when I say this dog is a genious, who will prolly get membership in Mensa soon. One problem is I cannot really deliver rewards effectively from the unicycle when we need to continue forward motion.

Any ideas?

PS So far I’ve been using a Coker. I’ll prolly use a smaller wheel when I try to get her to run obstacle courses with me.

Doesn’t anyone else do this?

Different leash, harness, and collar styles will cause the dog to be more responsive to the direction that you’re traveling towards.

Did you get the dog instead of the fishtank then?

Have you tried the Coastal Halti Headcollars? They work much like a halter or lead making the dog much more responsive to change in direction and eliminates all pull.

Our lab loved to pull and doesn’t any more.

Your mistake is in using a “rewards” method rather than a “punishment” method. I recommend throwing firecrackers at the dog when she misbehaves. Firecrackers are sometimes ineffective even with small breeds but it’s a good start in the right direction. If unsucessful, progress to rocks, bricks, pipe wrenches, and, as a lasy resort, a bullwhip.

One question: how does the dog know what you’re going to do? Perhaps a verbal indication like “Figure 8” or something would let it know and plan its movements.

I’ve riden with my neighbor’s dog a few times, and I found it easiest to just reach down close to the collar on the leash and kinda direct her if she doesn’t go where planned.

How about a long stick/poll (retractable antenna) with that “treat” on the end. When you want her to turn, say “over” and wave it to the left or right of her depending on which way you are turning? After a while she will get the idea to look which way your hand is out when you say “over”.

With Lucy, when she was learning as a puppy, if she turned the wrong way I would just run her over.:smiley:

Good Luck


don’t make me call the aspca on you harper…
when training at home, give a treat and then positive re-enforcement (ex:pet the dog and say good girl and stuff) then eventually wean off the treats for training and get to more verbal re-enforcement on the uni. and after rides give treats for good behavior. also using a dog clicker helps, you click then give her a treat till she knows that a click means she will get a treat. eventually legnthen the difference between click and reward. hope this helps. ask questions if needed.

What is this “dog clicker” to which you refer? Is it a Taser or mild electrocution device of some type? That might be a helpful tool.

Thanks for all the tips. I truly appreciate it (even Harper, for the comic relief :D).

In talking it over with dog trainers, I realized the task for the dog when walking or trotting is called “heel.” It’s something you may have seen at dog shows on TV.

Clicker is also prolly the way to go, when it becomes associated with the treat.

I’ll let you know what kind of progress I make.

Thanks again!!

try not using a long headcolar
this will make the pet know the limits of the ride.
if you use a long headcolar the pet will know no limits

verbal cues work well, it might take time to learn something like a figure 8 but if you say something like “right turn” before a right turn, the dog will learn faster.


We’ve got soem training to do, and I’ve prolly been allowing some bad habits to develop that I have to break. But we’ll have fun learning!

Like I said, she’s a genious!

I ride with my dog every night with no leash and early on I used a training collar (shock collar) and only had to use it on low setting 2 or 3 times along with a verbal command and she figured it out quikly, now if I put the collar on her she knows right away. By the way the remote has 2 buttons 1 for tone and 1 for shock always use the tone first and if she dont listen then push button 2. Now maybe once a month I might put the collar on her during our ride/run and she knows the collar so she listens well, if anything I might use the tone button if needed although I will say the #1 ride along lesson she learned was if she trys to herd me (shes a Cattle Dog) I ran here over on accident once and hit here another time so now she pretty much stays to the side and if I am about to turn I just call her name and she looks to see where I am going and stays clear.
Have fun I enjoy taking the dog for ride/runs

Also, you should always bring a gun when you’re working with your new pet. It’s important to be able to effectively put it down if you notice it’s in pain. It may go against your political beliefs to carry a weapon, but as a loving and responisble dog owner you can’t let the poor animal suffer.

Well, after a week of walking training with the special collar (no shock/tone, just gently tightens her front legs together if she’s off track), she’s now running with my wife and runnig with me on uni very well–BIG improvements!

The city laws require she stay on a leash, but I’d love to take her someplace where I can take her off leash.

Actually, all the NYC Parks just passed a law allowing dogs off leash from 9 pm til 9 am, and it gets pretty crowded with dogs all playing together from 8-9am, esp weekends. But earlier, I could try taking her off leash and riding down some paths to see how she does.

Thanks again for all the ideas!

It’s a remote control. If you can find a good one, it will have the usual buttons, Sit, Heel, etc. but also the fancier buttons like Clean Room, Let Yourself Out, etc.

To teach your dog to do more complex following moves, you might try teaching each move individually, as mentioned above with verbal cues. Circles confuse even people. I was riding in a parade just the other day with other unicyclists. When I start riding around in gradually shrinking circles (to spin my big wheel) you figure other unicyclists would figure it out. But sometimes they just ride right at me as if they expect me to stop spinning before I reach the center. In other words, don’t expect your dog to figure out you’re about to go in a circle without some kind of warning.

dog partner

In Alaska, sled dogs learn what “gee” and “haw” mean…so there is a precedent for success.

Your efforts to ride/walk your dog will bring their own rewards. Once the dog figures out what makes you happy resulting in a treat–you’ll be good to go. It sounds pretty smart which means it might not take too long.


your dog sounds cool, but it seems while she might be a geniUs
your grammar skills are obviously up to her skills :stuck_out_tongue:

lol sorry couldnt resist. Damn i want to ride with a dog i’ll have to try sounds like a laugh… the dog would have to understand “bail” pretty quickly though

and METAL PEDAL coming down…