Running With Your Dog
You can pretty much ask anyone and they’ll be able to tell you the health benefits of running and jogging, be it strength, weight loss or general fitness. Most people however forget that we, just like dogs, are mammals, and all mammals benefit from regular exercise for exactly the same reasons as us! I thought I’d give a basic guide on how to go about taking your four legged best friend with you on runs. Just like humans however, some dogs love to run, others much prefer to sleep!
Before you start running consult your local vet, especially if your dog is young as bone development is often incomplete until around 6 months to one year, running at this time could be detrimental to you’re young dogs growth and development. Older dogs are more susceptible to general wear and tear especially if they have existing conditions such as osteoarthritis. You’re local vet will be able to advise you of the health status of your dog to make sure he’s in tip top condition ready to start his jogging adventures.
Next, a suitable lead, collar or harness. There as hundreds of specialised dog running harnesses out there, from those that attach around your waist to bungee cord type contraptions. Personally I prefer a harness rather than a collar just to avoid tugging or unnecessary insult on your dog’s neck, a simple soft well fitted harness can be found at your local pet shop which can be handy for sizing. For a standard sized dog Amazon offer a wide selection of harnesses to choose from. For a lead I like something around a meter and a half, soft and easy to hold. Make sure you’re lead is long enough so that your dog can run ahead far enough to avoid your flailing legs but not too far that he’s off into the horizon.
Lastly, unfortunately for a glitch free run most dogs require a little training, just to encourage them to run happily along side you avoiding darting in and out between your legs or without trying to eat every passing bird or cat. Holding a treat by the side of you while you jog can encourage a dog to stay that side whilst you run. Dogs that are well behaved on the lead tend not to have much trouble adapting to this new found activity. If you’re dog isn’t great on the lead, a few lessons at your local dog school always does wonders and can make jogging with your dog much easier.
Obesity in animals is unfortunately on the rise, overweight animals can suffer secondary complications, a reduced lifespan and an increased risk of other diseases. Running for them is a great way to keep fit and keep their weight down, especially in breeds or animals that are susceptible to weight gain, after spaying for example. If the health benefits haven’t sold it to you then jogging with your dog is an activity you can share together, most dogs live to please and love nothing more than being with their owner, combine this with getting them out and about makes for a very happy dog indeed.
Woof Woof! (Happy Running)