Why Run With Your Dog?

Personal training for dogs. You’re kidding, right? Actually, no, we’re not. Research suggests up to 40% of our dogs are overweight, and they suffer from the same health complications that overweight people do. Veterinarians (including myself) are becoming more and more concerned about the increase in joint pain, heart disease and other obesity related illnesses in dogs. Hence, Pooch to 5k. Dogs can’t lift weights, or use the gym. If you’re going to increase their fat burning, you need to increase the intensity of their exercise. This means that a daily stroll just won’t cut it any more, it’s too laid back. The Pooch to 5k program will help you get your dog from doing nothing much to comfortably running 5km, over a period of 12 weeks.

Because you’ll be running with your dog, you’ll also get a great workout three times a week, as you train yourself to run 5km. Why not subscribe to our dog health and fitness newsletter and grab your dog, and you’re ready to go!


Going the Distance?


The other week I took Sinner for a run while my daughter was attending Guides. It was a fine cool evening and on a nice hilly course the dog and I were just rolling along. We ended up running for an hour and a half, covering seventeen kilometres.

I must at this point emphasise that Sinner is four and has been running for three years with me. I started him running with a very similar program to the Pooch To 5 k. Thankfully, he’s never been unfit or obese so it has never been difficult to take him out for a slightly longer run than he’s used to. But that’s the key: The longer run has only ever been slightly longer than we’ve done previously. And where I’ve raised one criteria for the run, I’ve relaxed others.

  • * If I’m taking him further, we’ll go slower.
  • * We’ll break up the run with a walk and a drink / swim / relax.
  • * I pay even more attention to how he’s doing.
  • * There might be reduced running in the days before or after a big run.
  • * I never increase the distance beyond his current training too much.

This might continue a couple of times, and then one by one I raise the other criteria back to the normal levels. So after we had done a seven km slow run with a walk break in an easy week, it was done without the walk break. Then it was done in a mostly regular week of running. Then it was done continuously. Finally it was done at our regular pace. So we had upgraded one run a week to a seven km run in our regular repertoire of five km runs.

This approach has kept both of our dogs enthusiastic and injury free and keeps it pleasant for them and us.

Thanks to Tim Miller from Dreamcoat  Photography for the image.

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