Do you have a running partner? Let me tell you about mine. He is very handsome and a bit hairy. Oh yeah, he is my dog, well my husband’s dog, but really he is mine. Just don’t tell my husband that. I have been running or well, attempting to run with my dogs for a few years now. I say attempting because my Golden Retriever is a want to be runner. She see’s me get my running clothes on and she knows what that means. Momma is going for a run. Somedays she get’s me with those big brown puppy dog eyes but once we are out she reminds me why I rarely take her out anymore. She is 8 and barely does 2 miles. Once in a great while she will do 3 but it usually isn’t pretty.
Unfortunately not all dogs are runners. Some breeds are said to be better than others. Check out THIS list from Runner’s World about various breeds. My Golden Retrievers are usually pretty obedient on the trail like the list suggests. My older dog just has never been good for distance. My dog of choice is our German Shepherd. He has trained for 2 half marathon’s with me and we are training for my 4th. He is a great running partner as well as security guard but it did not happen over night.
Here are some tips if you want to run with your dog:
1. Some people get their dog’s knowing that they want to run with them but there is something important to remember. Wait until your dog is old enough! Their bones are still developing. For most dogs that means waiting until your dog is a year old. Ask your veterinarian if you are unsure.
2. Slowly easy your dog into running. Just like you needed to train to work up to longer distance your dog needs to do the same.
3.Do not feed your dog right before you go to run. When a dog eats to close to when you go running there is a chance for bloat.
4.Vaccinate your pet and give it regular flea and heart worm treatment.
5. Training. Take the time and do some at least basic training with your dog. If your dog knows how to behave appropriately on a leash it will result in you having a better run instead of having to stop and redirect every few minutes.
6. Use a Leash. This seems like common sense to myself but you would not believe how many people we have come across that run with their dogs not on a leash. While you may have a normally well trained and behaved dog you do not know how it may act when it comes across another dog or person. The majority of the time the unleashed dogs we have come across do not listen to their owners. My dog is also trained and is protective of me and my family. This said he rarely barks at other people but after numerous encounters with unleashed dogs he barks at every dog we pass on a leash. I am stuck now with deciding to try to correct the behavior and possibly undo his training or just letting him bark. I am sure this is not something people think of when they let their dog run without a leash. My dog was doing what he was trained, to protect when an unknown animal ran at us. I don’t want to correct the barking and in the future I get bit because some other dog owner could not restrain their “well trained, sweet as can be” dog. After our last incident with an unleashed dog and an owner not attempting to retrieve her dog after it did not listen to her. I have decided I will not try to restrain my dog anymore when he is only trying to protect me.
Do not use leash types as an excuse. There are a variety of different collars, leashes and harnesses out there. There are some that you can even put around your waist. It may take trial and error but the perfect leash is out there for you and your dog.
7. Think of your dog’s paws. For people we put on our shoes and run but our pets do not wear shoes so consider the running surface. Especially if it is hot out your pup doesn’t need to be running on pavement. They get rid of some of their heat through their feet! Plus always check their paws/pads of their feet when you are done running for anything that could be irritating them.
8. Don’t let your dog overheat. Do your best to keep your dog cool. This could mean stopping for frequent breaks, carrying and giving your dog water. For instance I taught my dog to drink out of my fuel belt water bottle. Another good option is collapsible water dishes. Try to pick running routes with shade and especially in the summer work out in the morning or evening when it is cooler out.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on how your dog is panting. Panting is one of the ways dogs try to cool down. If your dog’s panting is a bit much try slowing down your pace or stopping and giving your dog a break. Overheating in dogs is a serious issue and can lead to head stroke and even death.
9. Please be kind and clean up after your dog. Sometimes it is unavoidable, poop happens. Please clean up after your dog to the best of your ability. This includes when you are out on trials.Would you want to be running and step in a pile of dog poo? Plus as a dog owner I can say it is not nice to get the evil eye over somebody else’s dog’s poop!
10. Have fun because running with your dog is awesome! They make the perfect partners. They don’t care how fast or slow you are just that you are out there.
So what do you think? Are you going to try running with your dog?