ΥDo you know this feeling of satisfied exhaustion that comes after a good run? Well, it turns out, your dog also has a chance to feel that.
Getting dogs to run is an effective and fun way to exercise for you and your dog. The known benefits of jogging are both physical and mental: It is an excellent form of aerobic exercise that will help you build endurance and boost your mood and help you sleep better. The same goes for dogs.
“They can release what this trapped energy is and what causes it,” says Bryan Barrera, who has his own dog service in Washington, DC. The ultimate guide to running with your dog. “You just have to feel calmer.”
Philadelphia-based professional dog runner Barrera and Whitney Wells both say that running can help your dog harness his energy into something productive and that giving them something to focus on can even reduce the stress.
“They do a workout for their brain as well as their body,” says Wells.
Who would not want a happier, more excited and satisfied puppy? In particular, dogs with excessive energy, dogs with anxiety or those who chew objects at home can all benefit from the extra exercise. But whether you are a runner or not, going out for your first dog run can scare you. Fortunately, Barrera and Wells have given us what we need.
How do I start running with my dog?
If this is your first time jogging your dog, Barrera says you want to start it with a training program similar to what you would do for humans, “like a dog up to 5K.”
“You’ll want to introduce running activity,” says Barrera. “Building them is always the key.” It is advisable to start with intervals of running-walking for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time, sometimes a week, until you are both used to running together.
How do I know if my dog is a good candidate for running?
Barrera notes that dogs are natural runners and that most should be able to run if they are in good health. “All dogs can run,” he says. “It’s our job to figure out how far and how fast.”
That said, if yours is a young puppy or an older dog, Wells notes that it may be a good idea to check with your veterinarian first.
What equipment do I need to get started?
Although expensive dog running tools abound, none of the runners say there is a necessary product to get before you hit the road. Instead, they say play with what you feel is safest and most comfortable for you. Wells, for example, likes a bungee waistband like the one on Amazon because she feels that sticking her dog in the center of gravity gives her more control than holding a leash in her hand. However, Barrera only likes to go with a leash and a leash, like the PetSafe Gentle Leader.
“The tools that give you confidence to put a situation under control are the best tools for you,” says Barrera. (Advises not to extend straps.)
But it may be a good idea to have a special leash or strap just for running, says Barrera. This gives a signal to your dog that you are going for a run and prepares him for what he is going to do. Wearing saddle bags or other water vests, such as Ruffwear, can also help give your dog purpose and coordinate your work in a more focused way.
How can I make sure my dog and I have safe, fun times?
It is important to make sure the conditions are right for you to run with your dog. If it’s snowing, salt on the ground may not bother your sneaker feet, but it can hurt your dog’s feet. The same goes for hot sidewalks: Even if the air is cold, concrete can retain heat in a way that is uncomfortable. Feel the sidewalk first before taking your dog outside.
You will also want to consider the details of your dog. Barrera says watch out for a tongue that sounds to the side: This is a sign that your dog is very hot and tired and needs a break.
“Dogs dehydrate faster than we do,” says Wells. Always bring water with you on the run and be prepared to take breaks (even if it affects your mileage time).
“They will do everything you asked them to do,” says Barrera. “So it is really up to us to control this non-verbal communication [signs] they give us to make sure it is still in a good spot. “
What else should I keep in mind?
Starting to run with dogs can be a bit unstable. They may not have realized that they are in a different mode of operation, so they still want to chase this squirrel or say hello to another dog. Both dog runners advise patience and Wells says things are likely to improve as you get more running.
“Once we start moving, they get at a better pace than that,” says Wells.
And as you both learn to run together, Barrera says adjust your running expectations. You may need to give up personal time to have a good time, both you and your dog. “The center of this run, especially when you learn how your dog responds to the run, has to be the dog,” says Barrera.
But in the end, there will be a benefit for both of you.
“It’s fun to have a running partner,” says Wells. “You may not go that fast and hit those miles at the pace you normally do, but you will run with this cute furry guy next to you. So it’s an exchange, but then you can take advantage of a happy and tired dog at home. “
Sounds good to us.
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