Running With Your Pup

Running With Your Pup
Dogs are naturally one of the best fitness advocates--they’re always begging to go on walks! Having a dog in your life means a guaranteed running partner and it’s a good excuse to get in some outside time (and it’s good for them, too!). 
But, before you leash up the pooch, there are a few things to consider before taking your pup along for your runs

Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Health 

If you’re new to running with your dog, remember that he or she needs time to adjust to new workouts, just like you. Some are more physically equipped to take on long distances, while others aren’t (or are better sprinters than long-distance runners). Here are some things factors that could  help you decide if they can become a compatible partner for your fitness goals: 
  • Your dog’s breed. Huskies, gundogs, Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians and Collies are breeds that specialize in going the distance, while some like Pugs, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus and Frenchies tend to  have breathing issues and should avoid running altogether. Whatever the case may be- whether you have a mutt or purebred- it’s crucial to find out from your vet if they can handle runs. 
  • Age. You should always wait until your pet reaches adulthood before trying to implement any kind of intense exercise. At the same time, make sure they aren’t too old (or in ill health), when they are more likely to suffer from joint pain and injuries. 

Build Up Endurance Slowly 

You should have a running plan ready. Before taking them, you should walk/run the trail or path by yourself- you wouldn’t want to subject your best friend to a dangerous, unfamiliar environment. Once you try it out, you can walk with your dog on a leash to see how they handle it. You shouldn’t move onto running until they can walk the trail without stopping or getting distracted (which might take a while depending on the pup!). 
If you know lack of endurance or discipline is a problem, learning some basic dog-walking tips will make your outing easier:
  • Aim for walking your dog once a day for 30 minutes 
  • After establishing a routine, try jogging for a few minutes on each walk 
  • Let them sniff around while on walks; it relieves anxiety 
  • Find out the proper leash and collar/harness for your dog’s build. Harnesses are usually great if your dog pulls a lot 
  • Whenever they pull, stop immediately and tell them “no pull” or another command that you can use consistently. Remember to reward them for stopping or sitting when asked to. Having your dog disciplined is essential for keeping them safe once you start running. 
  • Once you start doing runs with them, opt for natural trails over concrete that can be hard on joints. 
  • Remember not to run when it’s too hot 
  • Always go at your dog’s pace, not the other way around 

What to Bring

Being prepared is important so the both of you can have worry-free fun. Go ahead and bring:
  • Water. For both yourself and your companion. Keep in mind that they might only drink if it’s in a water bowl. 
  • Poop bags. Clean up after your pet. It’s just the right thing to do.
  • Treats. So that you can reward good behavior. Avoid giving treats too soon before or after the run. 
  • Bug protection. You might want to spray yourself with bug spray and make sure your dog is protected from harmful ticks and annoying fleas. 
  • Dog shoes. These can be handy little accessories to protect their sensitive pads. If they can’t seem to handle them, you can always use petroleum jelly to soothe their feet. 
  • Leash. Many dog owners like to let their dogs off the leash, but this requires a lot of training. Ideally, you should proof a behavior so that they’ll listen to you regardless of the environment. Besides that, not having a leash is against the law in some places, so make sure you have one just in case. 
Even with all these precautions and preparations to make, dogs are still extremely loyal and smart animals and can learn quickly. With some practice, you and your dogs can be quite the athletic duo!
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