Once you’ve spent some time running with a dog you may never want another two legged running partner again. Dogs don’t complain about the weather, or running into the wind, and their constant tail wagging reminds us that running is supposed to be fun. Aside from chasing birds I haven’t found a better way to bond with my dog than a morning spent running with him.
Why Run With A Dog
A tired dog is a happy, well behaved dog. I have a pointer, a breed that requires substantial exercise. In fact, when I am running too far to take him with me, I will jump on the four wheeler and have him follow me around some empty fields by our house. Otherwise I have a restless mutt.
Dogs also make great pacing partners. It’s highly likely your dog is faster than you. I know mine is. The faster we run the more Nemo smiles and I like a happy dog. That makes him a great motivator for speed work.
It’s good for them and it’s good for you. Without sufficient exercise you dog will have the same problems with weight that their human counterparts are faced with. Just ask your vet next time you see them about the pet obesity problem.
Tips for Running With A Dog
I sat down with a veterinarian yesterday, Dr. Greg Bobo, to discuss some of the safety concerns about running with a dog (see his bio below). He summed it up by saying our pets have the same needs we do when starting a fitness routine. They need to build up endurance just like people. He suggests starting with a mile or two and working up from there.
He also brought up a point I had never considered. Dogs don’t wear shoes and their pads can burn and blister on the hot pavement in the summertime. Watch for limps or changes in their stride. They can’t tell you if something hurts, they depend on you to watch for them.
Dr. Bobo also suggests taking water along for you and your dog. Dogs cool themselves via their mouths. They pant instead of sweating and cool water will not only help keep them hydrated but cool as well. He also recommends a quick visit to your vet to check their health before starting a running routine.
Training is also important. I can cut Nemo off the leash and he won’t get further than two inches from my ankle; but I also worked up to that with some basic training techniques. You can’t expect a dog with attention issues to just jump on a leash and do great on the run so teach obedience first. This will help your dog respect other runners and you. And just in case you’re the one who is letting their dog crap on my mailbox, stop and pick it up.
Dog Breeds Good For Running
Weather, distance, and pet temperament all play a part in what breeds make the best running partners. You want to check with you veterinarian and let him / her have the final word on the capabilities of your particular breed. I have a German Shorthaired Pointer and they routinely make the list of best canine athletes; so they top my list of best running dogs. Other good running breeds are Golden’s, Labradors, Vizslas, Standard Poodles (not the small ones with pink bows), German Shepherds, and Greyhounds.
My thanks to Dr. Greg Bobo, of Animal Care Center in Frisco, TX. His full service, cutting edge, veterinary clinic uses the latest in laser surgical and therapy options to keep our four legged running buddies happy and healthy. You can find more on him at his website or follow his blog for the latest in pet health.
Do you run with your dog? What breed is it? How long do the two of you go?