Whatever you do, don’t just head out and pound the pavement with your dog. It’s not a good idea for you, and it’s even worse for your dog. You both need to gently build up to running together.
Here are my top tips for starting running with your dog.
1. Take your dog to your vet for a check-up. You need to be sure he doesn’t have a sub clinical problem that may worsen with exercise, or that he’s carrying a bit too much weight for athletic endeavours. It’s not a bad idea for you to have a check-up too, so get in touch with your own doctor to make sure you’re okay to start a fitness program..
2. Follow a program. Don’t make things up as you go along. I’ve personally taken four dogs through the Pooch to 5k program, and it works a treat. It is a 12 week program of running/walking, that takes you and your dog from doing nothing to being able to run 5km. If you’re finding it hard and want to repeat a week, go right ahead. Half an hour three times a week – you can fit that into your schedule!
3. Keep an eye on your dog as you run, and make sure he’s still happy to be there. Watch for signs of overheating, and make sure he doesn’t have a limp. Keep an eye on where you’re running too. My hubby took our red dog, Cinnabar, out running one day and they weren’t far from home when the dog started limping. They both came home straight away. Turns out Cinnabar had a sliver of glass in a footpad – he’d stepped on some leftover glass from a broken bottle.
So, with these three guidelines in mind, off you go and have fun. I’d love to hear of your progress.