Are you ready for your best friend as your four-legged running buddy! It’s a fun way to exercise, have fun, and keep fit. This is how to prepare for your first run with your partner.
Consider your dog’s age, breed and health before beginning your dog-running journey. Larger breeds such as huskies and retrievers, Dalmatians, are bred to run. Smaller breeds such as schnauzers and terriers make great exercise partners. Pugs and bulldogs with short noses should be kept away as they can overheat and struggle to breathe.
Do not run with puppies younger than one year of age. Their bones and joints are still developing. If your dog’s muzzle is white, consult your vet to rule out hip dysplasia.
Running gear is essential for both you and your dog. A chest harness and a nonretractable, 3 to 6-foot long leash are recommended. Cross-body leashes or running belts are a good option if you prefer your hands free.
Boots are even available for dogs! If your dog doesn’t like the idea of boots, you can apply paw balm to their paws before and after running to protect them from harmful chemicals, salt and other hard surfaces. If you take your dog on a trail run, inspect their feet for any injuries caused by rocks or sticks.
1. Choose a Paw-Friendly Route
Your dog’s feet will be most comfortable on grass, woodsy soil, and sand. If you must run on streets and sidewalks, your dog will be more comfortable if they are running at a shorter distance.
2. For beginners, follow a 5K training plan
After a stretch, brisk walking for a while, you can alternate between walking and running. This is a great way to help your dog build stamina, increase speed and move at a steady pace.
3. Keep Your Dog Close
Your dog must be trained to keep your hand close to your side while running together. This will prevent your dog from pulling on you or tripping over you. When your dog is getting used to running alongside you, its nose should be close to your knee. Your arm should be straight down to hold the leash. If you are running on the road with your dog, it is best to run curbside on the left.
4. Get to know your Cues
Verbal cues can be crucial in teaching your dog how to run well. It’s important to be consistent with your commands. For example, “Let’s Go” to begin your warmup and “Go faster” to run. “Whoa!” to signal when to slow down or stop. Your dog will learn to avoid the temptations of smells, sights and animals during your run by using behavioural cues such as “No” and “Leave It”.
5. Get the Pace
Push yourself and your dog halfway through your run. Turn up the speed and run during one of your intervals. This is a great cardio booster and will help you build your speed and endurance.
6. Find out if your friend needs a break
You should take a long, relaxing break if your dog shows signs of exhaustion such as rapid panting, excessive salivation, red gums or tongue, lagging, or refusing to go. If possible, take your dog to a shaded area and offer water. A nice pat will go a long way.
7. Fuel Your Furry Jogger
Consider stopping every 15 minutes from getting a better idea of how much water your dog requires, especially if it is hot.