Saturday, January 21, 2017

Running With Your Dog

Disclaimer: I was recently sent a Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

From the day I brought Georgie home, I had dreams about running with her.  As soon as our vet gave us the okay to start training, we were out the door.   

Georgie and I started out slow with a walk/run technique.  We would walk a half mile as a warm up then for the next half mile we would jog to the next mailbox, walk to the next driveway, jog to the parked car, etc.  A family friend was worried that Georgie was doing too much too soon.  I am far from a dog expert but I am a Certified Running Coach and I preach the importance of a gradual build.

Here are some tips, considerations and lessons I learned when I started to run with my four-legged training partner…

Not all dogs are meant to run.
If you are looking for a furry friend that can join you on your runs, do your research and consult your vet.  Some breeds like a lot of working dogs and herding dogs are bred to run.  Labs and Golden Retrievers make great running buddies for both shorter runs and longer distances.  Huskies and German Shepherds can be trained to run long, slow distances but their heavy coats make running in the heat more difficult.

Train your dog.
Teach basic commands before you even start running together.  If your pup doesn’t listen to you at home or out on a walk, you can’t expect them to listen to you out on a run.

Dogs need a plan too. 
Just like humans, dogs can get injured by overtraining or by doing too much too soon.  Come up with a training plan on how to gradually increase your mileage together.

Keep your dogs on a leash.
I can’t tell you how many negative encounters Georgie and I have had with off-leash dogs.  Just because you say your dog is “good” doesn’t mean it’s ok for your off-leash dog to approach me and my dog let alone charge at us or lunge towards us.  Not cool.

Get good gear. 
A hands-free leash (like the Stunt Runner from Stunt Puppy) has been a game changer for us.  It doesn’t compromise MY running form and I have a free hand to carry 💩 or take pictures.  Georgie also has her own backpack (Ruffwear Singletrak Pack) so she can carry her own water, treats, and 💩 bags.

Make sure your dog stays hydrated.
Remember: Dogs don’t sweat. They pant.  I can tell when Georgie needs to stop for a water break by how long her tongue gets.  The worst part… she won’t drink on a run unless I sit down on the ground next to her.  Annoying?  Yes.  But it gets the job done.

Be patient. 
My training partner is still a work in progress but we are getting there.  We have good runs and we have bad runs.  Some days she is super focused and it’s can’t stop, won’t stop… even when a biker zooms past us.  Other times she pees 3 times in 3 miles, wants to sniff every mailbox and freaks out over every squirrel.  I use my miles with the pup as an easy, recovery run.  Patience is key.

Don’t give up! 
Find ways to make running with your dog fun.  Go on an adventure.  Explore new trails and enjoy your time out there together.   

A tired Georgie is a happy Jen.


2 comments:

  1. Arg! Isn't it scary being approached by an off-leash dog, no matter how "good" they are?! You just never know - it always makes me nervous.

    Georgie is gorgeous and you make very solid points. Our dogs need to be conditioned to run just like we do! Our Border Collie loves running but he is very prone to overheating. Sometimes I wish they could talk to tell us how they are feeling and what they need!

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    1. So scary! Georgie reacts differently to off-leash dogs vs. dogs on a leash so I am always worried.

      And thank you! Herding breeds have so much energy!! Georgie is so dramatic and will act like she is dying out on a run but as soon as we get home she wants to sprint laps around the backyard. Crazy pups.

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