This blog is called Running with Ollie, and Ollie is my dog, so you might assume that most of my runs are done with my four legged friend. The truth is that while I enjoy having a running partner who is always willing to run, the reality of the situation is that sometimes it is best that I leave Ollie at home. My first concern is always Ollie's safety and enjoyment.
1. Is Fido Fit Enough?
Remember the first time you hit the road for a run? You didn't do three miles on your first run out and neither should your dog. Just like a person, a dog needs to adapt to fitness. Start slow. Take your dog out for a half mile at first, build to a mile, and then build from there. Try a walk/run regimen at first. I keep Ollie's runs to 30 minutes or less. If I am on a long run, I might take him for a three mile loop (he is conditioned for that) and drop him at home while I continue my run.
2. Hot Paws
You have those fancy running shoes, your dog's paws don't have the rubber soles to protect from the heat. Before you run on the street, place your bare skin foot on the cement. If it is too hot for you, it is probably too hot for him. Dogs will need to be acclimated to running in the heat, just like you.
3. Hydrate Your Running Mate
Hydration is important for you and is just as important for your dog. I bring water for Ollie on our runs or I plan our runs past a park or school water fountain. If I see signs of exhaustion like panting excessively, I let him lie in the shade to recover. His safety is always more important than my run.
4. Be a Pooper Scooper
Don't be the person who lets your dog poop in the neighbor's yard. Be prepared with plastic bags and do the right thing...clean up after your running buddy.
5. Keep it Short and Sweet
Your dog doesn't need to run a half marathon. Too many miles can cause too much stress on his body if he is not trained. Keep the runs with your dog short and sweet. A 30 minute run will give your dog a great workout without taxing his body too much.
6. Don't Come Unleashed
No matter how well behaved your dog is, please always run with a leash. There are too many unknown factors that can change the situation in a blink of an eye. Stay in control with a leash.
7. Protect Yourself: "Get Off the Couch!"
While it is hard to believe, not all dogs are as sweet and friendly as my Ollie. I have had confrontations with stray or escaped dogs on my runs. Some have been aggressive, while some have obeyed my command to "go home." I read something funny on Facebook where a runner said that she would yell, "Get off the couch!" to unwelcome dogs on her runs. Apparently it worked.
SprayShield is a safe, effective, humane, way to deal with aggressive animals on the road.
Six legs are always better than two as long as you apply common sense and put your dog's safety and enjoyment first! Do you have any additional tips for running with your dog?
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