One of the best ways for your and your dog to stay in shape is to go
running together. This article is meant to give you some tips on running
with your dog.
There are some dogs who were bred to run and the most obvious is the
Greyhound. But really, any healthy athletic dog, pure bred or not, can
make a great running partner. If you have a dog whose legs are on the
shorter end of the spectrum, don't assume they can't keep up. Often the
little guys try harder! If however, your dog has a small snout, running
may not be a realistic choice as dogs with mushed-in noses tend to have a
harder time breathing.
Start your run with a slow walk and increase the pace. This allows you
time to warm up and it allows your dog time to do his or her business.
Ideally, if you can run with your dog off-leash, you both can then go at
your own pace. Dogs love to stop and sniff along the way, while you may
want to move along and keep your momentum going.
If the weather is cold, you may want to consider a light weight jacket
for your dog especially if she has short hair, and perhaps boots if
there is snow or ice. Over time, your dog's pads will toughen up and
eventually, she may not need boots. Some breeds like the Husky or
Malamute were bred to be outdoors in very cold weather for long periods
of time. Best to err on the side of caution initially to protect your
dog's feet and pads and always stop if you notice your dog's gait has
changed or if he is limping. In warmer weather or in an especially dry
climate, bring along a bottle of cool water for both of you to prevent
dehydration and its accompanying fatigue. If you and your 4-legged
partner are running in the early morning or evening when it's dark, a
reflective vest for each of you will alert drivers to your presence.
Eventually, you will notice muscles in your legs that weren't there.
Your dog will also buff up and both of you will have a higher energy
level than you did before you started running. You will be slimmer and
trimmer and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. . . . . OK,
maybe neither of you will achieve superhero status, but you will
probably be able to eat almost anything you want!
Speaking of which, you may need to adjust your dog's food intake if he's
burning up lots of calories every day. One of the benchmarks to check
your dog's weight is that you want to be able to feel his ribs, but they
should not be protruding.
Below is a chart of dog breeds that was included in a book about
training dogs to run by Liz Devitt and dog trainer JT Clough that
matches the breed/s to the type of running you do. But again, any
energetic, healthy mixed breed dog can make an excellent running
partner. Use common sense, be safe and hit the trail or the road with
your dog -you both will be rewarded with a svelte physique, increased
energy and stamina and many happy hours of healthy bonding.