Without a doubt, walking and running is a great way to spend your time together with your canine friend. These physical activities help both of you to become healthy and stay fit. This also keeps both of you in tip-top shape. Additionally, having a perfect running mate is an excellent source of motivation. Proper training can make your dog a perfect running companion. For training your dog, your neck to check out the following tips.
The best training tips for your dog may include the following:
- The Perfect Breed and Age
Before starting your training program, you need to consider whether your dog’s breed and age is best suited for long-distance running. For example, dog breeds with short muzzle or brachycephalic dogs like Pugs or Bulldogs are suited only for short distances. Their puppies are not perfect for running. Most breeds require about one and a half years old for long-distance running. It’s necessary to consider your dog’s temperament before the activity as well.
- Don’t Run Before You Can Walk
You need to master your dog in loose-leash walking before you take them running. Otherwise, running will only amplify misbehaviour and disobedience. This may result in some nasty grazed knees on your end, or worse. If you let them off-leash, be confident enough to control them by calling their name. You can use treats, toys, and verbal praise to keep them on track with you.
- Speed Cues
When you have your dog trained to walk politely and obediently at your side, you can start to speed things up. You need to have a cue like ‘let’s go’, ‘move’, or ‘let’s start’ to tell your dog that it’s the time to move on and walk. This will increase their pace and whenever your dog responds to this message, you can praise them or offer them some treats.
- Building Endurance
The final stage involves jogging with your dog at your side at the same pace. Now it’s time to get their body in shape. Like us, they also need to build strength, agility, and endurance slowly. You can add a small stretch of running into your walk and gradually increase the time of running and decrease the portion of walking. Then repeat this for several weeks. After several weeks, your dog will be adapted for long-distance running.
Safe Practices for Walking and Running with Your Dog
Now your dog is finally fully trained for giving you company while walking or running. But as a concerned dog owner, you need to ensure your dog’s safety (and subsequently yours!) during your running sessions. Keep the following tips in mind to enjoy your running time together even more:
- Warm up both yourself and your dog before running and give him enough time to cool down after you finish.
- You always need to start slow so that it does not put stress on your dog as well. Keep the pace slow at first and then gradually increase the speed.
- Keep your dog hydrated before, during, and after the exercise. Dehydration may lead to heatstroke during a hot day. Carry a water bottle for you and your dog.
- Be aware of the weather, whether it is cold or hot, and make necessary preparations. During the bitter cold, you can put a doggy sweater on your dog, and opt to run on grass rather than hot tarmac during the hot summer days to preserve your dog’s paws.
- Provide frequent breaks for your dog so he can recharge himself, do a pee, or enjoy the environment.
- Avoid other dogs and watch their behavior towards your dog and you. Never let your dog quarrel with other dogs.
- Never let your dog run off-leash in an unknown place.
- Monitor your dog for signs of whether he is tired, distracted, or exhausted.
How to Keep Your Dog in Good Shape
To keep your dog in a tip-top shape, you need to exercise your dog regularly and feed him properly. Exercising your dog may include some points like picking an appropriate breed of dog, playing fetch, going for a long run, focusing on exercise, etc. as we discussed before. Feeding your dog a healthy diet holds the same importance as exercise to maintain your dog’s health. Some points to be noted:
- Giving food at the same time every day:
Consistent and regular feeding is important to get proper nutrition and maintain digestive health in your dog. Most adult dogs require to be fed twice a day and generally in the morning and evening. Before providing food to your dog, always take suggestions from your veterinarian about their diet requirement according to their age, size, and breed. Some breeds require more food because of their larger size.
- Diet should contain high protein:
Higher protein content in your dog’s diet is essential to keeping him healthy and for their proper muscle development. Protein is considered the building blocks of the body. The amino acids that form protein also aid in muscle recovery. A well-balanced and complete natural dog food is one of the best options for keeping your dog healthy and supporting their active lifestyle.
- Provide plenty of freshwaters:
Like all animals, a dog requires plenty of clean water. Keep their water bowl full throughout the day so they can drink from it any time they need. An adult dog will generally drink up to eight cups of water daily. This helps to keep your dog hydrated and keeps away him from any illnesses. Dogs who perform physical exercise regularly need a proper amount of water to keep themselves healthy.
- Make your dog find their own food:
It’s recommended to keep your dog busy to find their own food. This helps them to do some exercise and burn fat while they are searching for food. Don’t overfeed your dog. Overfeeding can lead to your dog carrying more weight than is healthy for them, placing unnecessary stress on their bones and organs.