Get In Shape With Your Dog
With the weather cooling, if you have been thinking about start running with your dog, this is a good time to introduce it. Extreme heat is generally not an issue when the weather is cool and running can be very pleasant for both of you.
Running is a great way to work off the energy of a high energy dog. If you are already a runner or want to be a runner, this is a twofer, you can get your exercise and his exercise out of the way at the same time.
But if your dog is new to running, it is better to prepare him or her for this routine. Don’t let overexertion, injury or a bad experience ruin what could be a great way to spend time together. Here are a few key ways to get your dog ready:
Make Sure Your Dog’s In Shape
Before starting any running program with your dog, the first step is to make sure she is ready. The second it to be sure to run it by your vet. This can be just a phone call or email – it doesn’t have to be an office visit. Chances are there is no issue, but if your dog’s age or aspects about his breed are an issue, your vet can let you know.
Does She Heel?
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 already be good about walking on a leash (and not tugging or walking away). If not, you really want to invest the time to train your dog to heel so she is running with you and not “running you”.
At least running is a cheap sport. All you need is a collar and a leash. However, if you are running longer distances (say more than 30 minutes), bring water and a retractable water dish or plan your route, so your dog can get water along the way.
Plan A Beginner’s Schedule For Your Dog
Start out slow, don’t just get out there tear through 4 miles in 30 minutes with a newbie!
Before running, you should already be walking your dog regularly. If you are walking your dog, at least, half a mile every other day, he or she is ready. If you are not already doing this, spend a couple weeks getting your dog into this routine.
Now to start running. Begin your routine as walks with running sprinkled in. A good start is a 2:1 ratio of walk to run. For instance, run 1 minute then walk for 2 or run 2 minutes and walk for 4. Each week, decrease the time walking and increase the time running. By the beginning of week 5, see if you can get to an all running routine. Gradually, you can add speed or distance, but if your dog starts lagging, back off and make these increases and little more slowly.
And Most Importantly…
Make running fun! Talk to your dog and offer praise. Change up your routes occasionally. Don’t run him or her to exhaustion.
Start off on the right paw and you both will benefit greatly!