Running with your dog can be a great way for both owner and dog to exercise and gain quality bonding time together. I like to take our guy (Steve) with me every other day, this helps him stay in physical condition and keep his mind active. However jogging is not always the best choice for all dogs.
Steve is an Australian Shepherd, a working dog, like the Border Collies, Kelpie or Koolie, he is a natural runner, this is not true for all breeds – prolonged repetitive steady paced running can create health problems for some dogs. And, even for Steve it is important that I don’t continually jog with him on footpaths and bitumen, that we mix it up, sometimes on grass or trails.
If you are looking for a running partner think about a breed that matches your lifestyle and ability. Some breeds such as the Bulldog, Boston Terrier or Pug, with their short muzzles and flat faces are challenged to breath effectively when running. Others breeds are fabulous sprinters but don’t necessarily have the stamina for longer runs.
Wait until your dog is physically and mentally ready, don’t start too young. Young dogs, under 12 to 18 months, are not physically mature, their growth plates haven’t closed and their ligaments are still strengthening and bones still growing. This makes them highly susceptible to bone and joint damage from the continual regimented pounding of jogging. Research indicates this may be even prevalent for puppies that have undergone early age de-sexing (EAD).
Take your time with your new running buddy, adjust your pace and distance to match your buddies abilities. Remember if you are a seasoned runner, you will have built up your conditioning over years of slow and steady progression. Taking your out of condition and sometimes over weight dog running and expecting it to keep up is unfair. Your dog should be running along side in a comfortable stride, if it falls behind that is a sign either speed or distance is becoming too much.
Once you start sharing your exercise regime with your dog make sure you are consistent and they join you regularly on your run, it doesn’t have to be every day, Steve comes with me every second or third day. This ensures safe progressive muscle development and cardio fitness without over exertion.
If you would like more information and advice on how to introduce your new exercise buddy to your training program or perhaps selecting the right breed to match your lifestyle contact one of our Bark Busters Dog Behaviour Therapist & Training professionals, we cover all Perth Northern, Southern and metro areas, along with the Peel region and South West. We look forward to hearing from you!
by Hugh – Bark Busters Perth West and Perth South