A dog can be a great exercise partner if you’re a runner. Whether you simply like to get a run in or are training for a marathon, you can always bring your dog along to give your companion a healthy workout at the same time.
Here’s a brief guide to help you get started on getting your dog to enjoy a run with you.
Don’t Rush into It
Keep in mind, if your dog isn’t used to running, it’s important to start slow to avoid injury. Like when us humans start off running, it takes practice and guidance. You can begin with short-distance jogs to get the dog used to running, and work your way up to several miles over time.
Make Sure Your Dog is Healthy
Before having your dog join you on a run, confirm that it’s okay with your veterinarian, as not all dogs are suited to endurance work or prolonged exercise. Even if your vet confirms your dog is healthy and capable of enjoying a run with you, you should feed the dog no less than an hour prior to running to avoid bloat. Also, check for any cuts or scrapes on your dog’s feet and avoid going for runs on particularly rough terrain. You should also only run with your dog on cooler days to prevent heat exhaustion.
Get the Right Gear
When running with your dog, you may find that a traditional leash becomes more of an inconvenience than an asset. A handheld leash could easily make you feel off-balance and make it more difficult for your dog to maintain a consistent speed. Instead, consider investing in a waist leash that attaches to your core and can help ease any tension. Your dog should also have the proper gear. While a traditional collar may risk neck injury if a sudden stop is needed, some harnesses can affect a dog’s gait and make running both difficult and unsafe. Find a harness that is comfortable for your dog and which evenly distributes pressure across your dog’s core. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your vet what it best for your dog’s body type.
Safety gear is another consideration to keep in mind; make sure you have reflective gear for both you and your dog if you’re running in the evenings, or during darker days. There are also light-up collars or flashing light attachments for collars and leashes that will help your dog stand out.
It can take some time for your dog to get used to your running routine, making it important to be patient with him or her. Your dog may tend to stop to sniff around or move in front of you, putting your run to a frequent halt, but over time your dog should get used to running on a regular basis. Work with a trainer to teach your dog useful commands such as “leave it,” “hurry up,” “slow down,” “left,” or “right.”
Enjoy a Run with Your Dog Today
By taking these steps, you and your dog can experience a pleasant workout on a regular basis. You’ll be able to exercise or train while helping make sure your dog gets his or her exercise at the same time. While your dog may not be able to run with you every time you two go out, you can mix walking and running as equally important ways to ensure your canine pals get the exercise they need every day, encouraging a healthy and happy lifestyle.