Just like humans, dogs need exercise. They suffer from the same condition that humans do with a lack of physical exertion – obesity.
And dogs make great workout partners. They are full of energy and enthusiasm, always ready to go. Running or walking with your pet is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise. Before you begin, however, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
- Make sure your dog is able to run/walk at a good pace.
You need to take into account your pet’s age, breed and physique. If the dog is older, you need to make sure he does not have any joint problems. If you have a smaller dog with short legs, you need to make sure he will be able to keep up with you as you run or walk.
Running may just be too much to handle for certain breeds, such as a Chihuahua, pug or bulldog. Their nostrils and airways are not constructed to efficiently take in air.
It’s also a good idea to check with your veterinarian before you begin any training regimen with your pet.
- Start gradually.
Start off slowly if both you and your dog are not in shape. That usually means a combination of mostly walking, then a combination of walking and running and then all running.
- Warm up.
You and your pet need to warm up before you start your walk/run to avoid injuries. Start out walking or with a slow jog.
- Avoid hard surfaces.
It is better for your pet if you run on grass or dirt trails, rather than harder surfaces such as asphalt. It is better for the joints – yours and your pet’s.
- Make sure your dog follows commands.
Your dog should be able to follow basic commands such as “sit” or “stay.” You should also have a command for your dog to get moving again if he has stopped to examine something.
- Your pet should not pull you.
You want to use a leash that is about four to six feet long. If the leash is longer, you might have trouble keeping your dog running with you. You want to train the animal to stay at your side. Your pet’s nose should be even with your knee. And your arm holding the leash should be at your side as well, straight down and holding the leash right by the dog’s collar.
- Stop to drink water.
If you are new to the workout routine, take breaks about every 10 minutes to give your dog water, until you see how long the dog can go before needing liquid. You will need to take a container along with you that the dog can drink from.
- Watch the heat.
Dogs overheat more easily than we do, so you need to be careful when it is hot out. Avoid running during the middle of the day when the temperature is hottest. Try to stay in the shade and away from hot surfaces.
We don’t have to tell you how much healthy dogs love to run! If you can’t get out for your exercise routine for a few days because you’re out of town, don’t worry: our 4,000-square-foot outdoor dog run, where he can run around with other dogs all day (if he wants to).
Learn more about our dog boarding services by calling Barney’s Ranch at (469) 273-1661.