Hi! How has your day been going? Today I want to talk a little bit about running with our dogs. But before I get into that, I made some new friends today at work and was pretty thrilled about it.
I don’t know what I thought a penguin would sound like, but it was nothing like what I heard today. They have amazing vocalizations that totally took me by surprise.
Moving on to critters closer to home, I was happy to get a few good miles in today with Gryff.
Gryff is a great running buddy, but we’ve definitely come a long way from our first few runs. While I’m trying to keep up a consistent pace, he’s usually more interested in stopping to smell things or sprinting full speed ahead. Here are some tips that might help you get on the road with the best running buddy you’ll ever have.
• Start small. While your pup may run around all day in your yard, a long consistent run takes endurance and stamina which, just like you, your dog needs to work up to. Give them breaks and walk a bit if they are breathing too hard.
• Provide lots of water. Your dog will get thirsty on a run, just like you. There are great travel bowls that are collapsible you can take with you. If I’m running close to home, I like to set some water and a bowl out for Gryff and we can circle by the house a few times to keep him hydrated.
• If your dog gets distracted, bring a little baggie of treats. If you can spot that your dog is about to stop and smell a bush or something, try to preemptively call them to you and offer a treat when they reach you. You can usually make it right past the distraction and continue the run. Similarly, if your dog just wants to run their hearts out and are in a dead sprint, call them to you with a treat and hopefully you two can gradually find the same pace with repeated call backs and treats. I usually find that Gryff has an initial burst of speed then slows down a bit.
• If your dog wears a harness, do a test run then check for any rubbing or blisters. Dogs can chafe in sensitive areas just like us. Part of enjoying the run is making sure they are as comfortable as you are.
• Check your temps. Can you imagine putting on a big Chewbacca suit and then running a few miles? People do this btw, I’ve seen it at races. I love crazy runners! But the point it, this is a bit what it’s like for your dog. Except they never get to take the suit off. If you are going to run with your dog, go early or in evening time, especially in summer. Watch out for unusual heavy or fast breathing and offer lots of breaks throughout the run. I try to run along trails that have heavy tree cover and provide lots of shade.
• Be aware. Running with your pup is a wonderful experience, but it adds another element to your run that can be distracting. I recommend running without music the first few times you go out with your dog. Gryff is what I like to call a bunny-bolter. If he sees or smells a rabbit, his hunting instincts kick into overdrive and I find out exactly how strong my 100 pound giant really is. I need all my wits about me to make sure he doesn’t dart across the road in front of a car. Or more embarrassingly, I need to stay alert just in case he comes to a dead stop for something really smelly and I fly head over heels over him. Focus on your dog and your run until you feel like you two have found a rythym.
• Take it easy if you have a puppy. Puppies are still developing and you don’t want to put too much stress on their little bodies. Bodie is dying to go out on a run, but we are waiting until he is at least a year old before we actually start running any sort of distance with him.
• Have fun. It’s inside our dog’s DNA to love running and the only thing they want in the world is to be with you. So put those two things together and you’ve created doggie heaven. Enjoy these moments with your furry fren, they are the best buddies in the world.
I hope this helps when you and your pupper next head out for a run. The times Gryff and I spend on the road fill me with such joy and happiness, I wish everyone could experience it. So give it a try! Another bonus is that they are always willing to drag you the rest of the way when your legs are dead and you want to stop. 😉
Have a great night!
Do you run with your dogs? Share your tips with me!!
What’s your dog’s favorite pastime?