Running with Your Dog: Tips for Success
If you’re planning to recruit your dog as a running partner, there are three things to know before you go: first, obedience training is imperative; second, endurance training is as necessary for dogs as it is for humans; and third, being properly equipped to run with your dog could save his life. Once you’ve ticked these three important boxes you may discover your dog is finally the best reason you’ve ever had to run; read on to learn more
1. Running Basics: Obedience & Leash Train Your Dog
Running Etiquette: Being mid-workout doesn’t absolve you from the responsibility of picking up after your dog. You risk being fined if you don’t. Plus, it’s just the nice thing to do.
Running will not come naturally to a dog who has never done it before, particularly a young one. Expect lunging and frequent sniffing and pee breaks in the beginning. Ultimately you’ll train your dog to avoid these, but try to be patient at first. Play is intuitive, a structured exercise regimen is not: it’s up to you to teach him the difference.
For the dog who struggles with the leash but responds well to voice commands, off-leash running on non-wilderness designated National Forest trails is a good compromise, but just be sure to check the rules before you go.
2. Training Your Dog to Run with You
Undertaking a new running regimen with your dog is not as easy as lacing up your sneakers and grabbing his leash. Dogs are born sprinters, not distance runners, and some dogs are more adaptable to cross country running than others. Once you’ve determined your dog’s fitness for running, he’ll need time to build up to a nice maintenance run, just as you did when you started running.
Additionally, be sure you are familiar with the symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration in dogs.
While it’s unreasonable to expect your uninitiated canine to run a 10K at a fast clip his first time out, neither should you conclude he lacks enthusiasm for running if he becomes distracted or lags behind at first; he is still learning how to run. But recognizing the symptoms of fatigue in your dog could prove life-saving.
Running with Your Dog: Don’t Play in Traffic
Start simple with a route that avoids heavy traffic and guard dogs. Also avoid hot asphalt, sharp ice, and broken glass. Beach runs require extra work of your dog’s muscles and tendons in the sand, so be mindful of that. Build up slowly to reach the desired pace, on the desired terrain.
3. Mandatory Gear for Running with Your Dog
The right running equipment is essential for safe and effective workouts with your dog, and could prove life-saving. Never strike out without these basics:
Sprinting around the back yard in a mad frenzy does not make your dog a marathon runner: give her a chance to build up to it gradually. And be sure to undertake obedience training if she needs it before you expect her to heel beautifully at your knee. Walk before you run; in no time at all she’ll eagerly anticipate this part of the day and won’t let you forget when it’s time to go.
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