Running with Man's Best Friend

by Tia Patel on Aug 25, 2020

Running with Man's Best Friend

Running with your dog

Posted by Natalie White | AUG-25-2020

We all know the benefits of running for one's health - it prevents obesity, helps you get fit and lifts your mood. And what’s good for you is also great for your dog!

All dogs enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. Whether that’s spent exploring the trails or pounding the pavements.

Making your dog your running partner is also a great way to bond with them. Especially if you’ve noticed some destructive behaviours creeping in. Active breeds that are kept indoors for long periods of time can become bored, resulting in bad behaviour. Running will help to keep their mind and body active, and expend any pent-up energy!

How to train your dog for runs?

There’s no one schedule or routine that you should use for running with your dog, but just like us humans, we recommend building up your pace and mileage gradually as yours and your dog's abilities increase. Vets advice that you shouldn’t run with your dog until they are 12 months old. Before you begin, we recommend consulting with your vet to avoid doggy injuries or pre-existing health problems which could be exacerbated by running.

  • Warm up with your dog. Start with a short, 10-minute run somewhere familiar for your dog.

  • Increase your distance gradually over a number of weeks.

  • Your dog should be panting, but not winded, warm up your dog before you run and cool him down when you’re finished by walking for several minutes.

  • Be aware of weather conditions. Dogs can’t handle heat and humidity as well as humans can.

  • Carry water on your walks and offer it to your dog regularly.

  • Give your dog frequent breaks, so he can recharge, do his business, and enjoy his surroundings.

  • Only allow your dog to run off-leash where it’s safe and legal, and only if he has a reliable recall amid distractions.

  • Watch your dog for signs that he’s had enough, such as excessive panting or lagging behind you. Dogs may run to please their owner, even when they want to stop during your runs.

  • Don’t get so out of breath that you can’t give them commands!

Thinking of giving it a go? Tips for a safe run..

  1. Stay alert - your dog can’t tell you when they’re tired or unwell, so it's up to you to take notice of any signs that your dog may need a break.

  2. Drink lots - dogs will suffer quicker from dehydration than from exhaustion, so it's important for both you and your dog to take regular water breaks.

  3. Choose your route carefully - pick routes and environments that you will both enjoy. Running over grass will be better for both you and your dog’s joints, but be cautious of unseen hazards like rabbit holes which could cause injuries for either you or your dog.

  4. Post run clean - clean your pet’s paws after a run checking for cuts and scrapes. Unattended injuries can lead to infections caused by the salt and dirt from the road getting in between your dog’s toes. Cleaning your dog’s paws with a warm, soapy rag after your run will help to avoid this.

  5. Have fun! - running with your dog can be some of the best, most enjoyable, and most meaningful exercise you do, so enjoy it!

Running with my best friend - benefits of running with your dog

Winston, my mini Schnauzer, is my favourite running partner! Whenever he sees me getting ready the ritual begins. He watches my footwear eagerly, the same way he watches the birds, waiting to see if we’re running. As soon as he recognises my trainers that’s it, the backflips and the barking commence! Anyone who knows schnauzers will know……….they love a good bark!

We spend our runs exploring and adventuring. Sometimes I even let him lead our route, although this is probably not advisable, and has been disastrous on occasion, ending up being cow blocked in a field or lost in the lanes, but it all adds to the experience!

We are fortunate to be surrounded by countryside, the Likey Hills and Waseley Hills on our doorstep. I favour trail running with Winston as he likes to watch the livestock (from a safe distance of course) and enjoys the scents of the open air. I always choose routes where I know there are water stops like a steam or a brook.

If you’re running with your dog, be prepared for plenty of stops, so don’t expect a PB or even better still, leave the watch at home.If he catches a good whiff of who’s been there before him, that’s 2 minutes running on the spot for you! I know when he’s had enough because the sniff stops become more frequent and sometimes, he even pulls me backwards if it’s a good one.

Running together has born a special bond between us, he really is my best friend and nothing gives me more pleasure than a few hours of his company coupled with the fresh air and the open road!

Thanks fur reading…….

Natalie & Winston xx

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