Friday Five: Dog-(wo)man’s best running buddy

Last week, I missed a Friday Five. Life happens and no matter how much you plan ahead, some times there’s not much you can do. So this week I offer two Friday Fives. If you read my earlier post you know my 5th thing on my wishlist is a puppy and to celebrate that today’s second Friday Five is about running with woman’s best friend!

Often people get puppies during the winter as holiday gifts, and as winter turn into spring, it becomes a “fantastic” idea to introduce your new companion to your favorite past-time. But as a dog-lover I would like to advise you to stop and read my Five Tips On Running With Your Best Friend before you proceed.

  1. Commands. Having your dog understand, respond to, and OBEY basic commands before taking your dog from a run seems to be common sense, but often I have found never to assume that dog ownership comes with common sense. Commands such as sit, stay, and leave it are all beneficial on a run. Eventually as you leash train your pup, sitting at road crossings may be taught, but it begins with a command to sit. Leave it comes in handy when you come across trash or another dog’s morning present. Heel will come in handy when as you begin to run with your best friend if they have a tendency to venture ahead of you.
  2. Walk Before You Run. Your dog should behave while on a leash during daily walks before you attempt to take your dog for a run. Keep in mind that a shorter leash (6 feet or less) will give you better control of your pooch. Gentle Leaders can prevent dogs from panting during running, which is a doggie’s version of sweating; Connecting leashes for dogs who have the tendency to pull directly to the collar can cause neck damage and harnesses are recommended instead. Learning to walk with your dog is also a chance to practice those basic commands while on a leash. Also, daily walks will help you bond with your new pal, and is just as important for the hooman to learn to walk with the leash as it is the pupperoo.
  3. Sports Physical. Human children are required to have a sports physical prior to participation, and so should your dog! A visit to your family veterinarian is a great opportunity to make sure your dog is healthy enough to begin running. Your vet will most likely focus on orthopedic health as well as hereditary concerns most associated with your dog’s breed, and age. Most vets recommend holding off on running with your dog until your dog has skeletally matured which depending on breed can take one to two years. Keep in mind that not all breeds are great for running, while a pointer may have enough energy to run 10 miles daily with you, a greyhound is more suited for sprinting than distance.
  4. Know Your Pup. Training, Daily Walks, and Vet Visits will help you learn more about your dog. Overtime you will notice your dog’s behavior. Some dogs are not scared of traffic, while others take off sprinting at loud noises (ie diesel engines); knowing your dogs triggers and responses will help you plan a route that will be enjoyable for both you and your dog.
  5. Take It Easy. During your first few runs, keep it slow and short, allowing for breaks similar to when you first started running. Avoid hot (and humid) weather. Most dogs will run with you until they collapse so keep an eye on your pup and play it safe; pay attention to panting as it is how dogs cool themselves down (they don’t sweat like you do!).

BONUS: While my Dachshund is more of a sprinter like a greyhound, there is an ultramarathon running Dachshund named TruMan. You can find him on Facebook and him via his momma on Twitter and Instagram. PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRUMAN!

QUESTION: Do you run with your best friend? Any tips that I missed? Comment below!

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