Dogs, especially those with high energy levels, benefit from active owners. Risks of boredom, misbehavior, and even health issues can arise without a healthy lifestyle that incorporates exercise. The idea is to find a breed that matches your activity preferences, and design a supportable routine. Whether you are already regularly active, or you aspire to become active, adding a dog to the mix will help make sure you keep up on the active lifestyle.
Know your breed: Historically, dogs have been bred to support certain human activities, such as hunting, fishing, protection, or even just companionship. Depending on the breed’s size, and individual requirements, you should select a breed that is built for your workout routines. If you want to go long, run in the snow, or hit technical trails, some breeds definitely rise to the top. JT Clough, a professional dog trainer, has picked Weimaraners, Pointers and Vizslas as his top breeds for long distance running. By contrast, scrunched-nosed dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, don’t make good distance athletes because they’re prone to overheating.
Know your dog’s limits: Just like with humans, you can over it! Start slow, and learn your dog’s response to your activity level. Keep an eye on their breathing rate, hydration levels, and the condition of their paws. Their age matters too. Most vets will recommend waiting until at least 12 months of age before committing to any distance of routine running. Overall, read their signals, hydrate often, and don’t ever push them further than they are willing.
Know your gear: There are many companies with products for active dog owners. Research and buy the gear that aims for safety and protection of your beloved fur ball. Here are some suggested items:
- A Lightweight, Reflective Leash
- Portable Water Bowl
- Comfortable Harness or Collar
- Paw Wax
Warm up before sprinting: Again, just like humans, dogs need a warm up period. Start with a slower pace and gradually increase it. This allows you and your dog to loosen up the muscles to minimize risks of injury.
Train for Longer Distances: Monitoring your dog’s behavior following shorter runs can be a good indicator for readiness of longer runs. If you notice your dog tending to their paws after a run, or they are demonstrating soreness or fatigue, you are not ready to up the mileage. Build a training program that matches your dog’s readiness, and be sure to incorporate plenty of recovery time.
RYKO Pet Gear aims to provide functional gear for active dog owners. Find the best designs, and enjoy running with your dog by your side.