Jogging is a good cardiovascular exercise to maintain good health. According to 2 studies, people who walk or jog with dogs have better result:
- The first one found that dog owners exercise 3.9 hours a week compared to 3.5 hours a week for those without dogs, about 10 percent more.
- Another study found that dog walkers walked 28 percent faster than they did alone while those walking with humans only had a 4 percent increase in speed. The same study also confirmed that dogs tend to keep up with the routine and they start whine non-stop when it is time for their walk. Whether it is sunny or rainy days, they are always eager and never complain. Their love to run and for the master is unconditional.
So, from the results, you may want to extend your weight loss support network to include dogs. However, before you bring your dog out running with you, read on to find out some do and don’t.
- Bring your dog to see the vet to check its fitness to ensure it has a clean bill of health. Your dog may be out of shape if it has not been exercising for a while. Dogs can be overweight too. Check out How To Know Whether Your Dog Is Fat? So, make sure its heart, lungs, ligaments and joints are ready for jog.
- Just because dogs likes running does not mean every dog can be a good jogging companion. You must know your dog’s athletic limit. Breeds which are bred for working or hunting tend to be better distance runners. Small dogs are not suitable, but neither are very large breeds like Great Danes. Surprisingly, greyhounds may run fast, but they are not really “endurance dogs”. Same with toy poodles. Dogs with shorter nasal tracks like boxer, Pekinese are not suitable to run long distance. Labs, Dalmatians and German Shepherds are better endurance dogs. In general, running dog is medium built with about 50 to 70 pounds and is short hair breed.
- Do not get your small puppies to run with you.Their limbs are still growing and you can cause serious damage to his joints. Get them with you only if they are over 1 year of age. Giant breeds, which mature more slowly, can only be suitable even later.
- Before running, do not give your dog large meals.
- Start out slowly. Warm up by walking, followed by jog before running. Cool down with a walk at the end. Just like human, dog needs time to build up endurance too. Just because your dog is a weekend athlete, you should not assume that he can engage in more intense exercise activity without working up gradually.
- Dogs are not able to tolerate heat. They will suffer from heat stroke or dehydration during warm weather. So, jog in the early morning or in the evening. Morning is always better than evening because the ground will be much warmer in the evening. Most importantly, avoid jogging in the hot afternoon.
- It is pretty easy to know the signs of overheating. If you see him having excessive panting, increased salivation, red gum to the worse of white foaming at the mouth or vomiting, you better stop and cool him down with cold water in shaded area.
- If you see your dogs cannot catch up with you or see him struggling or tiring, slow down to a walk.
- Remember to bring enough water for both you and your dog. Before getting him to join you, you may want to train him to drink from a water bottle or container.
- Pick a trail which are soft, not only easy for your joints, but also for your dog. Surfaces such as gravel, hot asphalt and rock are bad for feet. Watch out for glass debris. Remember that your dog does not have the fancy jell or air filled shock absorber system that you have, I mean, foot wear. He is running on his own pads. Just like human, dog needs time to build endurance. As his pads toughen, he will be able to run longer distance. I know one of my friends uses Pad Guard, which is applied directly to dog’s feet, to form a protective barrier.
- You may have more than one dog, but jog with only one dog at a time. If you go with two dog and if one becomes fatigues, you may have to slow down.
- While you may want your furry friend to be your best jogging companion, you still have to set the right expectation. While human are more disciplined to finish the track, canines tend to engage in short intense bursts of running with intermittent stops to sniff around and piddle. Do not get frustrated. You can teach him to pay attention to you during the jogs. Make sure your dog is well behaved. If it lunges at other dogs or often bark at things (like livestock or other animals), you may want to resolve these problems first (with obedience class) before getting them out to jog with you.
- Before you start jogging, allow him to relieve himself as well as sniff around. Bring some tidbits for your dog. They can be used to energize your dog and can be useful when you want to regain his attention when he is distracted.
- Apart from that, teach your dog to sit stay because there are times which you need to stop at intersection or at the approach of bicyclists, children or other dogs.
- You may want to use a leash to stay in control. However, I have seen joggers tying the leash on their wrists or waist. Try not to do that. Any leach will do, but go for traffic leash which is typically 2 to 3 feet long. You can also use different leashes – one means for sniffing and potty breaks and one means for serious jogging only. Your dog will learn the difference.
- Train your dog to run on one side only. If it goes from side to side in front of you, you may trip over him.
- Make running fun. Talk to your dog. Offer praise.
Once your dog is familiar with the routine, you can then increase the duration and intensity of the exercise.
If you want your dog to be a good jogging partner, do spend some time to go through the above list again. I hope that you will enjoy exercising. So does your dog.
Category: Other Fitness/Sports Articles
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