How to Teach a Dog to Runby Kristina Barroso
Dogs make excellent running partners.
Do you long for a kindred spirit who shares your love of running? If you’ve struggled to find a reliable running partner, it’s time to expand your search across species. Teaching your dog to run will score you a quality running partner while helping to keep Fido active and healthy.
Teach your pooch good leash manners. Before you hit the open road with your dog at your side, make sure that he knows how to stay at your side. Show him how to walk properly at your side while on a leash. Take some tasty treats with you and go on a few long walks with your dog to test his leash skills. Choose the side that you would prefer your dog stay on and then reward him with treats when he goes a certain distance while staying on his designated side. Throughout the walk, vary your pace and continue rewarding Fido if he manages to keep up with you and stay on his side at differing paces.
Get Fido checked out by your vet. Just like you should consult with a doctor before starting up any new exercise regime, your dog should also seek clearance from his doctor before starting to train. Inform the vet of your plans to train Fido as your running partner and have her check out his heart, lungs and joints to make sure he is healthy enough to run with you.
Start out slowly. No matter how much energy your pooch might have, his introduction to running should be gradual. Begin with about three sessions of 15 to 20 minutes per week and see how Fido responds. If he does well after a couple of weeks, gradually add five minutes per session every week until you build up to the time and distance that you’re both most comfortable with.
Pay attention to Fido’s body language. Watch carefully for signs of fatigue. If he starts panting heavily, foams at the mouth or starts to drag, stop running immediately and let your dog take a break. Staying hydrated is crucial, so make sure that both you and your pooch drink water before and after a run or take some water along with you if you plan to run a long distance for an extended period of time.
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- Inspect Fido’s paws regularly. Since running on a hot blacktop surface or stepping on glass and other roadside debris can lead to injury, check your dog’s paw pads before and after a run to make sure that they don’t need any medical attention.