Monday, June 9, 2014

Running with dogs!

If you look on the internet, there are tons of articles about how to run with your dog(s).  There are all kinds of articles on the best breeds to run with, specific issues with certain breeds, etc.  So I don't think I need to rehash what you can read elsewhere.  But I wanted to talk a little bit about my experience of running with my dogs which might be valuable.

First off, why run with your dog?  Well, it's great for them and great for you.  I think I am the most in touch with my basic natural running when I have one or both of my boys running with me.  I don't wear my headphones and there is something just primitive and wonderful running in silence next to my boys.

First off, you should not run - at all - with a larger breed dog until they are at least 18 months old.  Their bone plates don't close until then and you risk permanent injury running with them before that time.  There are NO JUSTIFICATIONS that make it okay.  DO NOT RUN with your dog before that age, PERIOD.  No, running slow does not make it okay.  No, running only a short distance is not okay. JUST DON'T!

Secondly, you need to make sure your dog is well trained when walking with you before you even attempt to run. What does this mean?  Your dog should be trained to walk beside you or a little behind.  NEVER should he walk ahead of you.  He also needs to know that walking time is NOT playtime.  It is business.  No stopping to sniff, no peeing every 10 feet, no chasing squirrels.

When I walk my dogs I have the leash attached to them just in case. But they walk right beside me and I don't even hold the leash, I drape it across my shoulders.  They know that they are not to stray from my side!

Once you have a well trained, old enough dog, ask yourself if they are physically fit enough to run. And you'll have the build their mileage gradually.  When you first started running you didn't head out and run 5 miles, right?  Neither should your dog!  Starting out with a run/walk program is perfect.

Some dogs love to run, others not so much.  Archer loves to run with me.  Chakotay will reluctantly run for short jaunts, but doesn't like a steady run.  So while I have him run short distances with me, I don't take him out for a 4 miler!!

You should know and respect your dog. If your dog loves you, he will go as long and as far as you ask, even to his own peril!  So you have to be mindful of this!  Don't run him to utter exhaustion.

Use common sense.  Don't run your Siberian Husky in 90 degree heat!  Bring water if you're going more then a few miles.  Check out his paws after the run for injury.  After the run praise him and play with him a little - he should enjoy this or should not be doing it!

If you want to be totally in tune with nature, I've found that running with my boys is a way to get back to basics!

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