Six legs are better than two — running with your pooch

There’s not a whole lot better than going for a good, long run with your dog by your side.  Though if you’ve never trained alongside your canine friend, you might wonder how you go about it.  After all, dogs can find themselves out of shape just as easily as people and you don’t want to wear your dog out or risk an injury by going too hard, too soon.  Here are some tips for getting an inexperienced dog running like a champ.

Let them grow.  While the boundless energy of a new puppy might seem perfect for logging miles, growing dogs are just not ready to train that way.  Their bodies are still developing and excessive running can put excessive stress on joints.  Wait until your dog is fully grown before logging miles.

Ease into it.  Unlike people, dogs can’t tell you if they’re going too hard or too fast.  Plus their natural enthusiasm might make them push harder than is safe in the name of fun or to please you.  The only way to safely get your dog up to speed is to start slow and build over time.  Be sensitive to cues of discomfort like licking paws, panting excessively, or refusing to run.

Be sensitive.  Above all, it’s important that you are willing to respond to your dog and know when to go easy.  Your instincts might tell you to push through your own discomfort, but if it seems like your dog is struggling, it’s probably time to take a rest.  Don’t let finishing your workout compromise the health of your pet.

Be prepared.  It might cramp your running style a little, but it’s still important to have the right puppy gear handy on your run.  The leash, some water, and waste bags are all good ideas, depending on your running locale and logistics.

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