Exercising is an excellent activity. Being physically active not only keeps you in good shape but also has positive mental health effects.
Running, in particular, is one of the best cardio workouts you can do. It only requires a good pair of shoes and a track.
Running can be a group activity if you want someone to accompany you.
The best companion by far is your dog. Running with your dog makes it more enjoyable and allows your dog to use their excess energy positively. Your dog gets lots of exercise and a chance to be outside the house.
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Essential Things To Consider Before Training Your Dog To Run
There are some important considerations you must fulfill before training your dog to run with you. These include:
Another thing to consider is age. Puppies and elderly dogs should not run. With puppies, their bone structure is still developing and they can be clumsy. Running is also not a dog idea with elderly dogs since they have weakened bones and get hurt easily.
Check With A Vet
Even if your dog is young and looks healthy, check with a vet to get the final go-ahead. Your dog’s vet will conduct a thorough health check to see if they can run across long distances.
Certain behaviors are easily misunderstood. For example, if your dog is acting aggressively or roaming about, you may think they need physical activity and running would be perfect.
You must train your dog and prepare them in advance before you can go for a proper run with them. Proper training includes:
A dog over the age of one year can move about just fine. This, however, does not mean they can run well. Doing practice runs enables your dog to learn how to run along with you. You can monitor their breathing as well.
In addition to the physical aspect, you can teach your dog to match your pace. This way you can assure that during the run, your dog does not outrun you.
Dogs are intelligent and pick up on directions very well. When running you need your dog to follow you so you can focus on the running. You can say the directions out loud when making a turn, like saying ‘left’ or ‘right’.
Running long distances requires stamina. It is not just about speed but endurance as well. Building stamina takes time. Start by taking your dog for short runs. Slowly increase the distance so your dog gets used to the longer distances.
It is important to do a few warm-up exercises before running. Warming up the muscles is necessary before any kind of exercise and running is no different.
A good warm-up session not only helps to regulate body temperature but also improves performance. Warm-ups are even more necessary for dogs as they are great at maintaining body temperature. They do not sweat which is why warming up is essential for dogs even more.
Training is not complete without properly ending the run. Just like warming up before running is important, so is cooling down after a run. Give your dog time to bring down its breathing and get the body temperature down.
Bring a water bottle for yourself and your dog to get hydration on the way. Give your dog water if you notice they are panting a lot and are not able to keep up with you. Panting is a telltale sign that your dog is hot because dogs do not sweat like humans. Regularly getting water will keep them refreshed and energized.
When running, the choice of track should be dog friendly. You can even get shoes designed specifically for dog paws, still pick a clean and safe track. Make sure to keep your dog’s nails short and clean so they do not get hurt.
Give Your Dog Rest Days
Do not think your dog can run just like you can. Monitor them throughout the run so you can stop and give them rest when they need it. Additionally, you may need to give them rest days in between as well. There may be days when your dog wants to be lazy.
Things To Remember When Going On A Run With Your Dog
Training your dog to run with you is necessary, but you need to make sure that conditions are suitable for a run.
Make sure it is not too hot outside. Running already is a strenuous exercise that heats the body. Hot weather can further aggravate the situation.
Dogs are not as good at cooling down and are prone to getting a heat stroke. Make sure the activity is fun for you and your dog both.
Running is to make you feel good, if it is too hard for you or your dog it is better to reduce your speed or shorten the distance you run.
Be aware of your dog’s capacity and abilities. You may have a dog who does not enjoy being too active, do not force your dog.