If you’re looking for a means of getting fit, then running is among the best.It requires very little in the way of initial investment, and can be performed on almost any flat surface.It can be as low or high intensity as you like, and you’ll be able to get started with it however old, young, fat or thin you are – even if you have to start by walking and then integrate gradually longer bouts of light jogging into your workout.
If you’re running with a partner, then so much the better.Things will go a great deal more quickly if you’ve got someone there to spur you on to the next level.If your partner is your dog, then so much the better; exercising your dog is an essential duty of ownership, and if you’re able to fit your exercise in at the same time, then so much the better.
If you’re going to get the best from running with your dog, then you’ll need to go about it in the right way.In this article, let’s take a look at what the right way might consist of.
Consider your dog’s suitability
Before getting started, you’ll want to consider whether your dog is a natural runner.Some breeds, notably hunting dogs and terriers, have bundles of energy and will outpace you over long and short distances.A greyhound is an expert sprinter, but won’t be able to keep up the pace over longer distances.A bloodhound or a beagle is built for stamina, and is a great companion for marathon training.
Some breed of dog, however, are not really suited for running at all.These are generally the breeds with especially small frames and short legs.They’ll need to take several dozen strides for every one of yours, and will tire very quickly.Chihuahuas and pugs would fit into this category.Massive breeds like Great Danes and St Bernards, on the other hand, aren’t suited to running – they might be able to keep up, but doing so will place them at even greater risk of developing debilitating diseases like hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
If your dog is a little bit older, or seems to be struggling when you first take them out, then take them for an examination by a veterinarian before proceeding.They’ll be able to identify any reasons for alarm, and provide you with advice about how to proceed.Your dog might require a slightly different diet in order to cope with the increased exercise, too – and a qualified vet is a great person to help identify these issues.
Wait until the dog is full grown
When exercising puppies, it’s worth being cautious.This is merited even if we’re only talking about moderate forms of exercise, like walking, which will need to be limited.When we’re talking about running this goes doubly.
The reason for this has to do with a puppy’s joints.They’ve yet to fully form, and any prolonged exertion might prevent them from doing so.Once the cartilage around the joints has fully hardened and is no longer as malleable, you’ll be able to get running.This will vary according to the breed of dog, with smaller ones developing their bones more quickly than larger ones.This is another reason to be cautious with larger dogs.
Walk before you can run
If you were to try to run a mile or two after having spent a year doing next to no exercise, then the chances are that you’d struggle.The same rules apply to dogs.Build your pet’s endurance gradually to give yourself the best chance of avoiding injury.If you’re less fit than your dog is, then you won’t need to worry so much – track down a beginner’s running programme and work your way through it.Even if your dog is hardly breaking a sweat, you’ll be giving them a better workout than you would if you were simply walking them.
What gear do I need?
To go running with your dog, you’ll need pretty much the same gear that you would if you were walking it – with the addition of a pair of decent trainers with deep treads that’ll absorb even the muddiest terrain.You’ll also need to protect your car with a car boot liner in order to prevent muddy pawprints and hair from spreading across your interior.You’ll find made-to-measure Ford, BMW, Volvo and Land Rover Boot Liners available online – along with liners to match almost every vehicle widely available!