Dogs aren’t just your best friend; they could also be the ultimate exercise partner. Think about it. Dogs are always eager to spend time with their favorite human. They have plenty of energy to burn. And you will likely be less tempted to skip a training session if your furry friend looks forward to logging a few miles with you.
Just like humans, dogs need exercise for their health and happiness. Walking or running with your dog on a leash is one way to get you both moving more! Working out together means both you and your furry friend can keep off unwanted pounds, extend your lives, and stay healthy and happy.
Keep in mind, however, that not all dogs are ready to run. You'll need to train your pooch before you hit the pavement together. Here's a few tips that should help to make a run enjoyable for both you and your best friend.
Get the Right Gear
Just as you “gear up” for a run, you dog will require some special merch to make your run together a great one. Your dog’s everyday collar and leash probably won’t be secure enough, so it’s best to invest in something sturdier and just the right length. And don’t forget to bring plastic waste bags so you can clean up after your dog!
Plan Your Route
Mapping your run is just as important for your pup, but for a different reason. While you may plan a route to track distance, you should also pick a route that will be safe. Consider the possibility of harmful obstacles and surfaces when choosing your path.
Start Out Slow
Too much too soon could increase your dog's risk of injury, just as it would a human's, if your dog isn’t as active as you. Be sure to follow a beginner training plan that will let you and your pooch progress at a safe, healthy pace when you start running together.
Don't Ignore Warning Signs
Just as you pay attention to body indicators to know when to run or back off, you need to watch your dog for signs of overexertion like lethargy, weakness, drooling, vomiting or panting to the point that he can't catch his breath. If your dog stops and refuses to continue, don't force them! Also, don't let your dog gulp too much water during or after your run. It is possible for dogs to drink too much and swallow a lot of air in the process, which can potentially be fatal.
Remember, It’s About the Dog, Not You
Tempo runs, interval workouts or any type of run that’s an essential part of your training plan should be done solo or with a human companion. Running with your dog is a time to bond and enjoy each other’s company – not to hit race pace.
Keep these tips in mind, and before you know it, your best friend may be the best running buddy you’ve ever had! If they wag their tail and bark when they see you take out the running leash, you know your dog has become a happy and committed exercise partner.
Don’t forget to reward your new exercise buddy with a few treats after a successful run! Our partner Rachael Ray Nutrish
has a great assortment with a great taste your dog will crave.