Want to run with your DOG? I have two dog-daughters who are my most reliable training partners. They are ALWAYS game for a run (especially if we hit the trails where they can run off leash). Even if you don’t own a dog, you can probably think of a neighbor who would jump at the chance to have his dog run with you. Here are some tips for running with your pooch partner.
TALK TO YOUR VET
“Do not begin an exercise program without first consulting your physician.” It’s in the fine print of nearly every gym membership form and for good reason. This is smart advice not just for you but for your dog as well. Since dogs don’t complain as we do, they may have a nagging health issue. If your dog has never run with you before, get her checked out first, just in case.
KNOW YOUR BREED
Certain breeds of dog are better suited than others for distance running. Shepherds, terriers, retrievers, and other working dogs are built to run long distances, while others are not. If you own a small dog that looks like it could star in a Taco Bell commercial, it is recommended that they stick to walking. Know your breed, and let that determine your mileage and pace.
BUILD UP GRADUALLY
While you may want to train like Rocky Balboa right out of the gate, that’s not a safe option for your pet. Like any person, a dog who hasn’t exercised before needs to work his way up. The pads on a dog’s paws are very sensitive and must be toughened up with gradual increases in mileage.
WATCH YOUR PAWS
Be aware of the type of surface you’re running on. Hot blacktop, jagged ice, glass, and other roadside debris can cause injuries. If your dog starts to limp or lick its pads, stop the workout immediately. Until they come out with running sneakers for dogs, you must inspect your dog’s pads for cuts before and after outdoor workouts.
Good advice for you and your pooch; make sure your buddy has water before and after your workout. If you plan on running long distances, it’s smart to bring water with you.
LISTEN TO WHAT HE’S SAYING
Dogs can’t talk, but foaming at the mouth, heavy panting, glazed eyes, and slowing down are sure signs that your dog is being overworked and should take a break. Don’t worry: It won’t be long before you’re the one panting and in need of a break.
Be courteous when running with dogs in public areas or neighborhoods. We all know it’s gross, but carry the bag and clean up after Fido.