Running With Your Dog
You may have been running for a while or just starting a running program. Now you'd like some company. Who better than your dog? He won't be embarrassed by your clothes, we won't talk your ear off, and he is fine with whatever route you choose. Running with your dog is great exercise and great company for both of you. Here are tips to start off on the right paw. When you make yours and Rover's experience a great one, running with your dog is a routine that you both will want to keep.
Best Dog Types and Breeds for Running Companions
Just because your pup likes to run around, he or she is not necessarily reading for long-distance runs or jogs with you. First consider:
Your Dog's Breed
Not all dog breeds are cut out for running. Dogs bred for working and hunting tend to make better distance runners (more than 2 miles). Some good running breeds include Greyhounds, Golden Retriever, and Staffordshire Terriers.
Very small dogs breeds are obviously not built for long runs, but neither are very large breeds like Great Danes or Bullmastiffs. Very large breeds don't always have high energy levels, more trouble moderating their internal thermostat, and some are more prone to hip dysplasia.
In general, a running dog is medium-built, weighs 50 to 70 pounds, and is a short-hair breed.
When looking at your dog's breed, look not just at size but also their genetic or physical features of the breed. For instance, Border Collies are prone to hip dysplasia and Bulldogs' breathing system is not conducive for a lot of aerobic activity. Mixed breeds are actually less susceptible to genetic problems.
Your Dog's Age
It is not advisable to run with a puppy. Their bodies are still growing and forming and they aren't always well-coordinated yet. This is a combination that begs for injury-possibly life long. Wait until she is over a year old. In the meantime, you can walk her and get used to the routes and your routine as well as train her to behave well on a leash.
If you run with a young dog, be sure to allow intervals of rest while running to build stamina and give muscles and joints time to strengthen and rebuild. Check with your veterinarian for specific needs.
Older dogs can run too. However, you really need to make sure your dog has had a thorough check-up before you look at long distances.
Despite the natural tendencies of your dog's breed, you will have some pooches who just do not enjoy a long jog. If Princess or Rover is still balking after a couple of weeks of your consistent effort, you may have to run alone.
Before starting your dog running, run it by your vet.
Walking the Dog on a Lead Without Pulling
Does He Heel? Running on a Leash.
Your running experience will be so much better if your dog is not yanking your arm out of your socket every time she sees a squirrel or smells something fascinating.
Before running, your dog should be good about walking on a lead (and not tugging or walking away). Also, you may want to invest the time to train your dog to heel so he or she is running with you and not "running you".
Getting Fido Started on the Running Program
What You Need
This is simple--all you need is a collar and a leash. If running longer distances, more than 25 minutes, bring water and a retractable water dish or plan your route so your dog can get water along the way.
You need to begin your dog running program slowly. Don't just get out there tear through 4 miles in 30 minutes your dog's first time out! Actually, you should really start by walking, even if your dog is energetic. Start by taking your dog for long walks at least a half a mile every other day.
After a week or so, sprinkle periods of running during the walks. You will have to increase the distance of your walk/runs to keep your exercise time at 30 minutes. Add distance by 10 percent each week. If your dog starts lagging, slow down. Keep decreasing the walking over a week or two until your routine is all running.
And for every day you run, your should give Rover a day off.
Where to Run
If you can, run on a soft surfaces like grass and dirt trails. Concrete, hot asphalt, frozen roads, ice and salt can all be harmful to the paws.
If you must run on roads, avoid traffic. Rover's head and nose are at the same height as a car exhaust pipe.
After the Run
Check the paws before and after every run for any cuts or abrasions.
Offer sips of water--at first--for cooling down rather than free access to water.
And Mind the Heat!
Dogs do not dissipate heat the way we do. Sweat cools our skin-- but dog do not sweat. They release heat through their paws and mouths. Because of this, they also release heat slower than we do, so you have to make sure they don't overheat.
- On warm days, plan your running route to allow drinking stops.
- Let the dog run through puddles and sprinklers.
- Dogs with longer hair and shorter muzzles may have more problems with running on warm days.
And Most Importantly
Make running with your dog fun. Talk to your dog and offer praise, and don't run him to exhaustion.