Part 2: Making running with your dog enjoyable
Have leash will travel
You wouldn’t dream of leaving home without your sneakers, right? Fido feels the same way about his leash. One second he could be by your side, the next, chasing a squirrel or a fellow runner. I was jogging towards two fellow runners when their Cujo-type dog came running at me. I stopped. They yelled and Cujo kept running. Luckily he was all fur and no bite. For everybody’s safety and peace of mind, use the leash.
There are many beginning running groups and programs that are designed to take people from the lazy life to a 5K. Over time (usually 12 weeks) beginning slowly and eventually working up to longer and longer timed intervals, lounge lizards become official runners! If you’re a seasoned couch potato on Saturday and there’s a race on Sunday, will you be ready? Chances are, probably not. If Fido is leading a sedentary life with you, he will need to ease in to any exercise and build stamina. Start with walks and gradually introduce a faster pace. Your pup will want to please and will quickly learn what’s expected of him.
The road less traveled
Runners are told to change their footwear every 300 miles or so. Dogs aren’t so lucky, they have theirs for life. Be aware of where you and Fido are running. Hot asphalt burns tender footpads and road debris and trash can cut. Winter brings caution with salt and ingredients being used for snow and ice melting. We don’t feel the sting of chemicals, but our dogs do. It’s important to rinse their feet after running or playing as licking and ingesting these toxins can be harmful.
When dootie calls
I’ve participated in a few races (and I don’t mean to imply that I’ve actually raced anyone), where just about anything is allowed: moms pushing babies in strollers, parents taking turns with their kids, running in costume and running with dogs. Nothing is more frustrating than trudging along, finding your pace and then…stepping in doggie doo. Common courtesy dictates that if your dog makes a mess, whether at a friend’s house, the dog park or during a race, you clean it up! It may be inconvenient to carry doggie bags, but having a pup means taking the responsibility. Please, for all of us, clean up after your dog.
Lap it up
Remember, dogs don’t cool themselves like we do. We sweat. They dissipate excess heat by panting through their mouths and expelling through their paws. They need to rehydrate just like we do. Provide water and stop frequently for hydration breaks.
Having a canine running companion has many benefits, and one look in those puppy dog eyes just may shame you into getting out there when you feel like doing otherwise. Follow your dog’s clues and be aware when he’s overtired or injured. Getting in shape together has never been so rewarding and fun!
Do you run with your dog? Can you share more ideas? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook.