How’s it going folks? I’m Greg and am a proud owner of a Husky named Sparky. I knew owning a Husky means constant physical exercising and luckily for us both – we are a sports duo. I often do cardio – like for half an hour and my Sparky joins me. Many people may be asking “What’s the point of jogging for a dog?” Well, Huskies are working sled dogs, which means they can pull serious weights many miles and ordinary jogging for a couple miles is just a walk in the park (see also Husky puppies). All dogs, no matter their size and breed, NEED exercising – to stay fit and have great metabolism. I’m speaking about good health and a longer lifespan!
So, once a sports addict, I decided to combine business with pleasure and take Sparky with me for runs. An unprepared organism – be it a human or a dog, cannot withstand long cardio in the beginning, so I had to begin with short runs and had to complete my daily norm in the evening on my own. But gradually we improved on our performance and currently, we cover several miles three times per week together. But, that’s me – I have my own sets of rules. That’s why I sat, searched through the web, applied some of my practical experience and wrote several great tips on how to run with your dog.
List of Tips
I’m not gonna beat about the bush making a big intro, I’ll just be sharing what I’ve dug up straightaway:
- Leash training is a must! I mean your dog must be attached to you during running and not be distracted by other runners and dogs that can be noticed in the process. I trained my Sparky to follow me on leash and walk by for several weeks to ensure it’ll do fine when being with me in the open (read more Leash training a puppy).
- The age. You know, there is an age threshold that you should wait for in order to begin running with the dog. Your dog as well as you has the “growth plates” that cease to grow when the dog reaches maturity. Until that it’s strictly forbidden to run, as it may harm dog’s bones. Wait until the dog becomes an adult. Oh yeah… Don’t forget that big dogs need more time to become an adult while the smaller ones are already adult at 12 months. Normally, dog experts recommend beginning when the dog reaches 18 months of age.
Before practicing five-millers or whatever the distance you may cover, begin with short moderate-speed runs in your park or down the street circling round your block. It will help set the foundation for proper cardio, resistance for both you and your dog.
- Any exercising is built to moderate increase in your physical performance and intensity. This whole science thing means that you CANNOT start with long runs! Make the first training session just a long walk – maybe half a mile. Just take your dog and walk the distance. The next time, try to cover it in fast pace – walk a bit faster. The next time try running the distance slowly and do so – gradually in order to get used to each other running side by side and to run the whole distance at normal pace. Now it’s time to increase the distance – add a mile every time until you may cover several miles in one session – depending on your training.
- Not all dogs are good runners! They are fast and very agile, but not all of them can cover long distances without panting. Tim Hackett, Chief of Staff-Small Animals from the Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, says “short-haired, large-breed dogs with nice long noses are the best for running companionship.”
- The most vital tip – BREEDS that are good jogging companions. Helpful sites are:
Small dogs like pugs and French bulldogs as well as any other lap/pocket dog ARE not suitable for jogging. I don’t say they cannot run, but they fizzle out quickly. Just play with them at least in the backyard if you have one ordinary game like fetch, and it will be more than enough (see French bulldog puppies).
And one serious, better advice from me is – be gradual in your training! Cause, its training and not the question of the survival of the fittest… What’s the point of running if you or your dog overcomes yourselves, your own body limitations to the extent of breaking it? All I want to say before moving on with our topic is that, you have to be patient and expect less, but improve it steadily.
How to Tell if the Dog is Tired?
When I jog, I start sweating in no time. Luckily for me – I have a furless skin, which helps me to dissipate the heat via the whole skin area. But, as for dogs… They are coated and can cool down via panting. Luckily for me and Sparky, there are two spots along our jogging trail that helps us stay hydrated. I took a dog travel bowl that easily fits my rear pocket, and when we both cover the half of our distance we stopped by a tap, I filled the bowl and offered it to Sparky. After that we covered the whole distance and had another sip at home. Here comes the rule number one – take water to offer it to your dog or make a trail so that you can stop by a source to give her a drink. I think if you run like 2-3 miles, which is fair enough, you may offer water right upon your return home, but for longer run, hydration really does matter.
Heat strokes happen to anyone. You run miles under the scorching Sun, you get struck; your dog runs with you long miles – it may get struck too. This is why jogging must be done in the evening or early in the morning when the air is fresh and cool. This is the rule number two.
The third rule of proper jogging with a dog corresponds to the passage title.
If your dog is panting excessively, slowing down, you need to stop and cool him off immediately.
These are the signs of fatigue as well as possible hypothermia! This is why you should take cover in a shade under the tree and offer your dog some water. Many experts agree on that your dog should better stay at home if the temperature tops 80 degrees and above that or if your area is excessively humid. It’s no good for a human and even worse for fur-covered creatures like dogs.
Another point worth considering is the pace. Your dog makes more steps to cover the same yard that you do. Don’t rush like the most speeding bullet – jog moderately so that your dog can easily catch up with you and sustain such pace, the whole distance or at least half of it. The best sign that tells you that your dog is comfortable with the speed is, while you make two steps, a dog can make three-four times more, which means more caloric expenditures. This is why the caloric intake must correspond to the activity: couple hours prior to jogging, offer your dog a meal rich in complex carbs (the one containing rice, for instance) and protein to cover all future energy consumptions and sustain dog’s muscles that are gonna work really hard moving the body for several miles ahead.