Unicycling with dogs - anyone tried unijoring / unicycle canicross?

I used to ride with a previous dog running beside me on an retractable lead attached to her collar, until a canicross runner pleaded with me to protect the dog by getting her a running harness. So we switched to a canicross setup, with her new harness attached via a 3m/10ft bungee lead to a waist belt on me. It works well, although that dog wasn’t much of a runner, and I almost always held my end of the lead rather than just letting her pull with random intensity and direction at my waist - too hard to balance that way.
We now have a new dog who is much more of a runner, and really pulls me along - I can’t yet go as fast as she wants me to! I’d like to develop this, it seems more like bikejoring (which looks really fun), but not half as fast and the bungee is attached to me and not the uni (which I suspect would be mad).
Does anyone else do this with a line and harness? Any thoughts on other possible setups? What wheel sizes do you use?
The waist belt is a bit of a pain as she tangles around me easily if not out ahead, but for safety I prefer to have her attached to me in case I UPD and she runs off (especially as we’re on roads sometimes).
I started her with a 20" wheel, then 24" and now we’re using my 26" muni sometimes, with the handlebar inverted to stop it tangling with the line from my waist. I’ve tried the 36" once, but I didn’t dare go fast and the bar was very much in the way, and it seemed a danger to her.
Here’s a video of us on an early morning ride around some quiet roads in the UK Peak District earlier this month.


Very nice! Does Miri know gee, haw and whoa? I’ve drove a dog sled before and it is very important for the leader to know the basic commands to steer and stop. Going is normally not a problem, they always want to go.

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My beagle stops and smells everything and also pees on everything. Walks are painfully long on foot I could not imagine on my uni.

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I’ve done it with a bunch of my foster dogs, since they’re often young and need more exercise than they can get just walking with me. I use harness with a regular leash, so that I can more easily deal with them looping around me or suddenly pulling off to one side if they see a squirrel etc.

If it’s a dog that might run away if I drop the leash, I’ll put my wrist through the leash loop. Hasn’t really been a problem though.

It’s definitely an attention-getter - I’ve had drivers stop in traffic to take a picture.

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I’ve never done this with a dog but I’ve attached a wagon with a bungee cord to the seat post and it worked surprisingly well. Might be easier than you think to have the leash on the seat post because your arms can be more centrally located for balance and pulling the handle.

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Thanks Jim - we enjoy it. But it’s true that while she loves running forwards, we haven’t got any good commands that work - I can never remember my left and right quickly enough, and the dog is too friendly half the time. I’m thinking we need to try to develop some commands - but I’m the first to admit I’m a pretty useless dog trainer!

It’s a fun thing to have learnt, and people generally seem to enjoy the spectacle as you say (but the dog is apt to pull me off by doing something unexpected if ever I’m hoping we’re going to look particularly cool ;-). I’m thinking I might try without the waist band and just hold the lead like you do (and I used to) - I certainly miss the ability to pass the lead around behind me now that it’s stuck around my waist - I have to try to lift it over my head instead which can be a challenge

I might give it a try - but a dog has more self-steer than a wagon and I suspect we’ll fall flat as soon as she decides to stop for a smell or to greet a passing human or dog!

I do most of my riding with my dog. I learned this week that my Australian Shepherd can keep up with me on my 36”. That was a game-changer for us. Now, I don’t have to leave him at home when I go on 36” solo rides. (I don’t take him on any group rides.)

I can’t imagine attaching my dog to my waist as I used to do (when I used to run) with our ENO running leash.

I use a retractable leash, made by TUG, that I bought on Amazon.

TUG 360° Tangle-Free Retractable Dog Leash with Anti-Slip Handle | 16 ft Strong Nylon Tape | One-Handed Brake, Pause, Lock (Large, Green) Amazon.com

I don’t have to correct him by “tug” or feel very often, unless another dog lunges at us from across the street. In those moments, I push the lock button and hold on if he startles. It only takes a “tap”. 99% of the time he is directed by voice if necessary. I don’t use normal dog-training cues as I never learned them. Just tone of voice to encourage him to continue doing what he just did (ie. direction change), or to slow down. I do use three actual words. “Other Side” to move to the “inside” prior to a turn. “Turn” to cue him that we will take the turn at the next opportunity (intersection). “Whoa” to stop. Slow down sounds like “UUHh”. “Stop doing what you are thinking about doing” sounds like “AAck”. Speed up sounds like “UP”. He doesn’t naturally pull, as he is normally checking behind himself to see where I am. Jim T may be shaking his head, as I think I have a dog that would respond well to being trained “correctly”.

This brings me to my main point. Safety. I don’t believe the canicross runner was a unicyclist. If they were, I don’t believe he/she ever experienced wearing a non-retractable dog leash around their waist, and then have the dog cross over to the other side of the unicycle, behind the rider, and then have the non-retractable leash lay across the moving tire, which promptly “ate” the leash, and dragged it right into the unicycle frame. When that happens, the unicycle stops as quickly as if your shoelaces wrapped around a pedal axle. In my experience, it’s not fun, and it can end badly.

In my experience, the non-retractable aspect is dangerous if I don’t hold the leash in my hand or have my dog to stay on one side of the unicycle at all times, and/or cross in front. Sometimes he has a brain fart and wants to cross over behind me rather than in front of me. However, watching your video, I see you and your dog have a different style of riding, and your control of the leash keeps it away from your wheel. My dog stays close to the side of the wheel much of the time, as my training has consisted of me working to keep him from pulling on a leash as opposed to allowing him to pull against a harness.

That being said, I have played with the idea of buying a dog running harness to use with the retractable leash. Recently, my dog and I were riding on the left side of the road (against the flow of traffic, in the U.S.) with me on the street and my dog in the grass beside the road. In this area, I ride on the left so I can see traffic coming, as I can’t guarantee passing motorists will give me much space as they pass. A cop car was approaching from in front of me, while another car was approaching from behind me on my right. On my left, someone had placed a gas barbecue grill in the grass by the street.

All of us met at the barbecue grill at the same time, with the cop car approaching from the front and the car behind me both speeding up to pass the dog and unicycle first, rather than waiting for one or the other. As a result, they both passed us with racing engines from two different directions at the exact time we passed the barbecue grill. My dog freaked out. If you’ve ever seen a horse spook, my dog did his best impression of one, and pulled backward on his collar, and slipped right out of his collar as I had an uneventful UPD that happened to look dramatic to the cop.

I am lucky that my dog actually responds better to commands while off a leash than while on, and he stayed in place as I walked to him and put his collar back on. Shortly after I put my dog’s collar back on, the cop returned to check on us after seeing the UPD.

That experience has me contemplating a harness for the dog to use on our rides so that he can’t slip out of his collar. Any suggestions with regard to a certain brand/style/design/model are appreciated.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the video. Kudos to you for managing the leash and the camera “selfie stick” throughout the video! And, thank you for enlightening us on a new term (to me), canicross! A quick search now has me learning about proper harnesses, elastic leashes and a canicross belt (although I am still hesitant with regard to the elastic leash and canicross belt).

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Thank you @Uni2ONE2 for all that info - really good to hear someone with a similar experience - I too almost only ride with the dog now (because walking the dog is a required activity and just unicycling is a leisure activity, so unicycling the dog combines the two).

You’re right - she was a runner (who ran an online store from which I later purchased the gear - I had only gone there looking for a replacement brush for a Mud Daddy dog washer!). I used to use collar and retractable lead like you with our previous dog, who didn’t run out in front so much (eg in this earlier video where I and the camera are much more wobbly and the dog gets very muddy). Thank you for the retractable lead reminder - I think I jumped the whole hog onto using the elasticated lead and belt because I was concerned about the sudden jolting that the dog was getting, but I’m now thinking that going back to the retractable lead would be a lot more flexible, although maybe I’ll try to get a short elasticated lead/bungee to go at the dog end of that, so that there’s a bit of flex to absorb sudden jolts. I’ll give it a try.

What a relief - your commands sound similar to mine - the sounds and words that automatically tumble out of my mouth are much more likely to be used (in)consistently than us both trying to learn a new language. My problem is that we got this dog as a puppy at a time when I’m the only able-bodied person in the house, so training has been down to me, but that also coincides with me discovering I have attention deficit disorder, which means I’m never going to manage to train a perfect dog! So it can all be a bit wild, but fortunately when we’re on a roll the dog is quite focused and doesn’t try saying hello to everyone.

I can absolutely sympathise with that - we can have the same sort of thing happen - she’s easily spooked by electric scooters, buses, etc, and I try to anticipate situations, but sometimes it’s a UPD, and undue concern from other people.

Part of the fun/unpredictability is that she has me going faster than I can really cycle - I have a cadence sensor on my cycling shoe, and when I use the 20" wheel I am pedalling at up to 190rpm (100mm cranks), and up to 180rpm on the 24" (115 cranks). On the 26" we go fastest, but not that much faster than the 24" - we have yet to reach 13mph.

Do look into the harness - I’m sure it helps spread the pressure for sudden jolts - and do consider a short bit of bungee cord, but I think maybe the belt isn’t particularly helpful when unicycling (despite having used one for a couple of years) and it is all expensive!

Happy canicross unicycling :slight_smile:

I will definitely look into placing a length of elastic leash at the end of the retractable leash! The Tug leash comes with a two-foot length of extra leash to place at the end, just in case the dog chews that section of leash. If that happens, I guess the plan was to offer replacements. While my dog doesn’t have time (or the inclination, apparently) to turn around and chew the leash, that short length of replaceable leash should very easily be able to be switched out for an elastic one.

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Something like this looks about right: EZYDOG Zero Shock Extension Dog Lead. It’s the same 2ft length as your extendible lead has anyway, but elastic. Any shorter and I worry that all the metal at the connecting point will hit the dog sometimes. Maybe if this all works well I could remove the metal fittings and permanently sew the two leads together

Thank You, @holyroller !


@Uni2ONE2 - Snap - thank you! :slight_smile:


Loving this thread.

I take our two out with the 27.5" reasonably frequently (more when the weather is good), with a lead doubler, and a standard extendable lead.
Being rescues they already both have 5 point full back harnesses (sometimes lighter 3 point ones in the summer now we’ve had them longer and they can be more trusted). Their collars are simply a place to put their tags with our contact details.

They also haven’t been trained with joring commands, but they respond pretty well to regular english commands. Getting them to switch sides is always a bit of a pain, but they just about understand left and right for turning.

Our pace is pretty matched most of the time so they’re not at the end of the lead, but sometimes I let them pull me along a bit.


Very impressive with two dogs! Do they get distracted passing other dogs and people? I’ve tried the last couple of rides with a retractable lead (as recommend by @Uni2ONE2) and I can’t quite decide if I prefer it over a canicross belt and line. I lose the feeling of simple connection with the dog and the hands-free option (and the dog has slowed down too on the new lead, but that might be the unfamiliarity of the different feel of the pulls), but I gain the option for the dog to be either very close or quite far away, and less tangle possibilities. I’m going to stick with it for now, not least because when on my 26" guni I might even be able to use high gear - I didn’t dare try when so closely connected to the dog with a waist belt. (that said I’ve only been cycling with the dog for months so am totally out of practice being in high gear, which I hadn’t learnt that well before anyway)

Yes, to an extent - I’m often out at either a time or a place where there aren’t many people though.

Stopping is no issue with a unicycle though!

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@mowcius , I didn’t make any of you aware at the time, but you, @mark.vogels, and @Pokalde are the ones that got me to try walking my dog with my Trials unicycle. I moved from the Trials to the 24”, to the 27.5”+, then to the 29” road, then recently to the 36”.

I haven’t mastered free-mounting the 29” or 36” with the dog yet, but riding goes very smoothly. I just have to choose my routes carefully, so that when he decides to stop to do his business, I have a “crutch” to grab onto to mount again.

Riding while holding his leash in one hand, and his poop in a bag dangling from the other hand (until I ride to a trash can) is an experience. I’m sure drivers get a laugh as they pass me while I am riding and holding that “bag of incredible” out at arms length.


So familiar! On our daily route there are rubbish bins / trash cans which are housed in covered boxes with side entrances for the waste to be put in. I’m trying to develop the technique of being able to throw the bag of incredible through the slot without stopping (being a forward-only unicyclist currently) and I can’t help audibly congratulating myself when it works!


One benefit of one of the harnesses is that it has pockets on the back, so he gets to carry all of the poop until we get to where there’s a bin.