Dogs are extremely eager pets, they enjoy a lot of attention, and almost always have the energy for a second and third round of “Catch the Bone”. Similar to humans, pets – and especially dogs – require frequent exercise to maintain a healthy body and overall psyche.
Dogs are just as susceptible to becoming obese as humans are, which is why making your dog your running partner is beneficial to both parties, and can prove to be exciting and fun. Here are a few wagging tail and dragging tail guidelines to consider when recruiting your dog as your running buddy:
Wagging tail: Experiment
Take your dog out and see how it goes. Keep in mind that not all dogs will be good runners, and you’ll have to take your dog out and test the waters. Not all dogs will be able to go for long stretches of running, but they can learn to become sufficient runners. Begin slowly and work your way up to longer trails and higher speeds.
Dragging tail: Starting too young
It is not wise to start running with your dog when it is still very young. Running on hard surfaces and for long distances can risk the healthy development of your puppy, as their bones and joints are not yet fully developed. It is advisable to wait until the dog’s growth plates have started to close.
Wagging tail: Bet on the vet
Consult your vet before going on a run with your newly-found running buddy. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog is fit to run or not, and will also be able to lend advice as to supplements or dietary adjustments that could be beneficial for the new exercise routine that the dog will enter.
Dragging tail: Cool Runnings
Never skip your and your dog’s warm-up ritual before you commence with your run. Warming up is important to loosen the muscles up and reduce the risk of tearing and other injuries in both you and your running buddy. Start off with a slow and free walk. This will allow the dog to sniff around and do his business, which will also ensure fewer stops along the way.
Wagging tail: Snail start
Just like you can’t expect an unfit person to start a strenuous running program immediately, one should not expect a dog to be able to do so. Taking on too much, too soon could result in injury. Rather go out and find a beginner’s programme that includes a mixture of running and walking exercises. This allows both you and your running buddy to catch your breath and get used to the running part. Your programme will gradually increase the running distance as you both become more fit. Before you know it, you will both run appropriate distances in good time.
Dragging tail: Tamed owner
No skill can be developed without training, and using a leash that is no longer than 2 meters will be optimal. The dog deserves some freedom when walking, but when you start running you should keep your dog closer to you. His nose should be in line with your knee, especially during training. You can let loose once he is trained. During training, you should hold the leash almost at the collar to ensure that your dog moves with you and not the other way around. You can praise the dog by letting go once they’ve succeeded in running next to you.
Wagging tail: Water well
The importance of hydration cannot be emphasised enough. Dogs and humans need water to maintain high levels of energy and optimal bodily functioning. However, unlike humans (who are able to tell you when they are thirsty) it is not as easy for dogs to let you know when they need water. It is therefore suggested that you take 10-minute water break intervals. Take a bottle and bowl for your dog with you, along with your own bottle – in this case, sharing is not caring.
Wagging tail: Potty Plan
Puppy owners are aware that they cannot take the puppy out without a waste bag. Dog owners should always clean up after their dogs, even if it does happen that one can forget to take a waste bag with. By allowing time before and after the run for your dog to do his business, it will become less probable that your dog will need potty breaks during a run.
Dragging tail: Trick for treat
After a run, both you and your dog will be tired, sweating and panting. These are times when you wouldn’t treat yourself with a snack as it could have a nauseating effect, and the same goes for your dog. Allow your dog some time to calm down before awarding him with treats. In the mean time, you can award your dog with praises and by petting him and allowing him to run around in the garden. After that, feel free to treat your running buddy with some treats.
Wagging tail: Fun run
After your dog has been trained to run with you and all the creases have been ironed out, you will have an always willing and excited running buddy to go out with you for exercise. This will act as great motivation for you after work when you feel tired and lazy to get up and out. Running with your dog will keep the both of you happy and healthy.