Many dog owners would like to take their four-legged friends with them on bike tours. Since not every dog can run long distances or at the speeds typical of a bicycle, a trailer is often a very good solution. We have tested the Burley Bark Ranger as an example for many other dog-friendly bike trailers and tell you what to consider.
On tour with your best friend, that's a wonderful thing. If you ask a dog owner who that is, then the eyes quickly go down to the furry companion. Sure, there are dogs, eg huskies, who like to cover long distances and really need it. However, this is not practicable for smaller dogs or dogs that are less able to run. A solution has to be found. There are various options to choose from. Very small dogs can ride in a basket on the handlebars or the luggage rack. But if the dog has outgrown the "handbag size" you can only really get ahead with a cargo bike or trailer. The trailer is an obvious solution for everyone who has a bicycle.
Burley is a fixture in the bike trailer segment and the Bark Ranger isn't their first dog trailer, but it's their newest and has been available since 2022. All the more reason to take a close look at this very up-to-date model. It comes in two sizes, for dogs up to 35 kg and for large dogs up to 45 kg. We tried the smaller of the two and we were very happy, as was our furry passenger, by the way. The dog doesn't have to pay for something like that, the bill goes to the master and that has to take a deep breath at €679 for the smaller trailer and even €799 for the big one. If you want to save, grab the Burley Tail Wagon, you can get it for less than 500 euros.
But we also want to be honest and say that prices for child trailers are now in the four-digit range, and that comparable dog trailers from other manufacturers are priced similarly or even higher. Most people who love their four-legged friend and don't want to do without cycling are willing to spend a relatively large amount of money to have their companion with them on bike tours. The price is also due to the fact that the Bark Ranger spoils its passengers with many details that are otherwise only known from child trailers, the older dog trailer from Burley, the Tail Wagon is significantly cheaper but also much more simply equipped.
Burley Bark Rangers
The details make the difference! Features that are more familiar from trailers for human offspring are, for example, the parking brake and an adjustable bracket along with a foldable wheel on the drawbar to turn the trailer into a pram (or rather a dog buggy).
A plus in terms of comfort and protection is provided by the rain cover, which can be fitted quickly and easily and, when not in use, can be stowed away in a kind of pack sack and tidily awaits use on the roof.
There is also a matching dog bed, which is made with great attention to detail. The filling is shrink-wrapped and the cover is washable. That's the way it should be, because the dog always brings wetness and dirt into the trailer. Our boisterous test pilot really liked the bed!
The stand, which can optionally be mounted under the rear, is also well made. If the dog gets in or out, the trailer will not tip even if it is not coupled.
Another nice feature is the pocket, which can be attached to the top using the tabs provided and offers space for various travel items, from treats to a drinking bottle.
Our verdict on the Burley Bark Ranger
Let's put it bluntly: It's not a cheap pleasure. With all accessories, the trailer costs almost 900 euros. But that is the only point of criticism. The Bark Ranger and the accessories are well thought out and everything looks high quality. Functionally, too, we can only praise and not criticize anything.
Avoid fears, build trust – This is how it works with the dog trailer - we give you tips along the way!
-1- Reduce fears
A dog trailer can be intimidating to dogs at first. In order for the fear to dissipate as quickly as possible and, ideally, not to set in in the first place, you should simply place the tag close to the dog like a new piece of furniture. So he can inspect it and quickly becomes familiar with it. He just stays there until the dog understands that there is no danger from the new box. By the way: Stress and fears are quickly transferred from owner to dog. Therefore: If you approach the matter with patience, calmness and confidence, then the dog is also much more relaxed.
-2- Reward works
Before actually driving, the dog is lured inside with a treat and then through. It can also work to turn the trailer into a place to hide and find your favorite toy. The more positively the interior space is occupied by the dog, the better!
-3- Trailer as a new dog box
The next step in getting used to the trailer is staying in the trailer for a longer period of time - and the food is a welcome highlight in the dog's everyday life for the purpose of getting used to it. Therefore, the feeding place is moved to the inside of the trailer without further ado.
The more time the dog spends resting and relaxing in the trailer, the better it is for stress relief. To do this, simply place the dog blanket in the trailer and place it in the place of the usual berth. The goal of the exercise is achieved when you can also close the access hatch without the dog being noticeably stressed or anxious. “Only when the dog is completely normal and playful with the new home can you move on to the next step.
-4- First movements
Trust in the dog handler and also in the vehicle is now being put to the test for the first time. First you attach the wheels and drawbar to the trailer and do some tipping exercises with the dog in the trailer. The dog must also be able to get used to the movement of the vehicle in peace.
-5- Join voluntarily
If the dog feels safe in the rolling trailer, it can finally go out into the fresh air. Of course, it is best if the trailer can be attached without a dog and the dog then jumps in by itself. This too can and should be designed as a game or exercise. To do this, you lure the dog into the trailer and let it lie down first so that you can close the access hatch.
Actually, nothing should disturb the dog anymore. Actually. However, this can never be completely ruled out. Sometimes a squirrel scurries along the side of the path or the archenemy next door comes around the corner. To avoid (successful) escape attempts, the exit hatch should always be securely closed. Leashing makes no difference and is rather dangerous as the dog could strangle itself with it.
You have to observe carefully how he feels in the trailer with other environmental influences. Are there situations that scare or upset him? “Dogs can become stressed in situations that would not otherwise bother them. He understands that he has no way of escaping in the trailer and has to learn that nothing can happen to him anyway.
-6- Quiet stretches
For the first trips, it is best to choose routes with little potential for distraction and communicate calmly with the dog. Only when he is completely safe and relaxed in the trailer can you venture out on routes with more traffic or in the city. It's easy to see that if you give your dog and yourself enough time to get used to the new vehicle, they won't be able to wait until it finally starts again!