Having trouble staying motivated to train for the upcoming Richmond SPCA 5k? We know of a great exercise motivator! Your dog! True, your dog cannot run with you in the 5K, but he can help you get ready! It’s sometimes too easy to convince your human running partner to skip a workout, but it’s not so easy with the eager, expectant eyes of your canine running partner who can’t wait to get outside!
Running with your dog is such a good bonding experience, not to mention a great way to keep in shape for both of you! But before you start, you need to make sure you dog is suited for running! Just because he likes to chase a ball and run around the yard, that doesn’t mean he’s able to take up running.
See Your Vet
Just as we need to check with our doctor before embarking on a vigorous exercise program, we recommend you consult your veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough for running. Also, consider your dog’s make-up… Very small dogs, very large dogs, older dogs, dogs with short snouts, and even energetic puppies generally do not make the best running buddies!
How Young is too Young?
We know you’re anxious to start burning off some of that puppy energy, but that may better be accomplished by taking him to Holiday Barn Dog Day Care until he’s old enough for more intense exercise. It is safer to wait till your pup is at least 1 – 2 years of age before running. By waiting, you’ll assure all of his bones and joints are fully developed and he is strong enough for it. Your vet will advise you of the proper age of development for your dog’s breed.
How Old is too Old?
Your older dog may seem like he still has boundless energy, but you don’t want to push him into running. He will need time to develop strength and endurance. Overexertion could cause joint pain and stress to his vital organs. Again, talk to your vet to find out what your older dog can and can’t do.
One other important factor to assure a successful running partnership is your dog’s ability to run beside you on a loose leash. Our Trainers can help you with that. It doesn’t matter what smells your dog picks up along the way, nor what other dogs you may encounter, it’s important to make sure he is focused on running. Regardless of the distraction, there is to be no jumping around, no tugging the leash, and no running in front of you.
Steady as she goes
Finally, START SLOW! Dogs need to build up their duration just like we do. Pushing your dog too hard or too fast can lead to injuries. Start out with a walking warm up and then increase a mile maybe every 4 or 5 runs. Keep an eye on your dog…he will let you know what his limits are in regards to distance, pace, water needs, etc..
Lace up your running shoes and go have FUN with your best friend! Remember, even though your dog can’t run in the 5K, he would REALLY enjoy the Dog Jog! We hope to see you then!