Running With Your Dog
Looking to get outdoors and active this summer? The Dog Jog is a 5km jogging event for both you and your dog to take part in this July - to help you prepare, our Education Officer, Daniel Tipping, has shared some top tips for running with your dog.
Walking, jogging and running can be a brilliant way to bond with your best friend - it's a way to get outdoors and enjoy some sunshine together, and comes with the feel-good factor of physical exercise!
However, running with your dog can be vastly different to running with a fellow human (though that depends on the human, I suppose). There's traffic to contend with, extra water to carry, and of course dogs can't sweat like we can. Dogs can also become easily excited in the outdoors, what with all the sights to see, squirrels to chase, and no shortage of new things to sniff!
But little challenges shouldn't stand in the way of a healthy lifestyle for you and your pet - so here's a few tips to keep in mind next time you're lacing up the trainers and clipping on a lead.
Does your breed have the need for speed?
Not all dogs are built the same - internally and externally. Greyhounds and lurcher types excel at running, but only for a short distance. Dogs like collies and Dalmatians are ready to run distance, whereas breeds like bulldogs are better served with walks. Breed aside though, fitness doesn't come pre-loaded and it always pays to start slow - our dogs can be injured from over-exercising just as we can!
Be sure to build slowly, even starting with walks first - and if you're not sure how far is too far, check with your vet first.
Keep 'em close - but not too close!
There's loads of options for leads - from retractable to bungee, hand-held to those that sit on your waist. Which option is right for you will likely come down to your budget and preference, but a good choice is one that's easily visible and sturdy. No matter which you choose, start slowly to let you both get used to it - no one wants to be tangled up and tripped mid-trot!
Also, always keep your dog on a lead around sheep and other wildlife, and be confident in your dog's recall before letting them loose during a run.
Seeking a speed record?
If you're chasing a new personal best, you'll likely be best to walk the dog at another time to save any frustrations.
Biologically, the needs of our dogs during a run are vastly different to ours. Especially in the heat, your dog may need regular breaks to cool down and stay hydrated - be sure to pack extra water and keep an eye out for shaded spots. They might also need an emergency toilet stop, so don't forget the poop bags!
Unless you've been running with your dog for a while, you'll be best to remove any expectations of time, pace or distance - just set out, take it easy, and enjoy some time running with your best friend in tow.