Getting your dog to run with you on the trail can be a great thrill. They will keep you company and make your running even more pleasurable.
But to enjoy your run with your four-legged buddy, you will have to train them well. That way, you will be able to maintain the perfect rhythm and speed and go for a longer distance without getting easily fatigued. Here is a guide on what you need to know about trail running with a dog.
When To Start Running With A Dog
A dog will begin to run when they are about six to seven months. Taking them out too early can ruin their joints and bones if they have not completely formed.
Always consult with your veterinarian before taking your dog out on a run. He will be able to advise whether your dog is ready by looking at its size and breed.
Be careful when working with older dogs too. Do not strain them, as they are prone to injuries like joint pains, hip dysplasia, and heart pains.
How To Start Trail Running
Start by creating a training plan that incorporates various activities such as running and walking, to evaluate the stamina of your dog. Have them join you when you are warming up for your daily walking or running routine. Look out for signs that they are straining such as slowing down, limping, or panting after a given distance.
Start going out with them for a short distance walk once or twice a week to test their ability. Build up distance over time, as they increase their ability. Just don’t rush them to join a marathon when they are not ready.
Your dog’s breed can tell you how long or short a distance you can run with them. Below is a breakdown of the different dog breeds and their running abilities.
Short Distance Breeds
The most common short distance breeds include Jack Russell terrier and Shetland sheepdog. Jack Russell is perfect for short distances due to its short strong legs. Shetland sheepdog excels in agility and will make up for a short tempo run. Other breeds under this category include Airedale terrier, Labrador retriever, and Golden retriever among others.
Long Distance Breeds
Here, you will mostly find the Australian shepherd, Siberian husky, and Alaskan malamute. The shepherd has great stamina and will hit those trails like nothing. Siberian husky will be perfect for winter runs and Alaskan malamute will be great for carrying heavy loads. It makes up for an amazing running partner too. The border collie, German shepherd, Rhodesian ridgeback, and Ibizan hound, can be classified here too.
Commands To Use When Running With Your Dog
Ensure that your dog is on good leash etiquette before you go out with them. They should know what to do when they meet other dogs and how to give way to other runners. Here is a bit of leash etiquette your dog should be familiar with.
The first command that a dog should learn is when to abandon a given habit. It could be that they love sniffing at people or want to play with a dog that they meet. By learning to use this command a dog will know there is time for everything and would stick to trail running, which would save you time.
If you want your dog to run behind you, use this command. It is essential when running in a single file in crowded areas or times when you are training your dog without a leash. Moreover, it is important for individuals who love to run in single track trails.
The “look” command will always ensure that your dog pays attention to you especially when they are not leashed.
Perhaps you don’t want to keep on running to catch up with your dog or wait for them all the time because they have been left behind. Then have them learn the “heel” command. It works like magic and will have your dog running by your side all the time.
Factors To Consider When Trail Running With Your Dog
Check the atmospheric conditions before going running with your dog. During hot months, you can choose to go running either in the morning or in the evening.
If the weather is above 75 degrees consider leaving your dog at home. But if you choose to go out with them, look for signs of overheating such as excessive panting. Remember to carry with you a water bottle to cool yourselves down.
If you are running on pavement, feel the heat on the ground by placing your hand on the pavement for a few seconds. If you feel the heat is too much to bear, consider taking your dog off the race, as the heat will be too much for them to bear.
2. Dog Training
Trail running with a dog is interesting, but you need to get your dog into shape before you decide to bring them with you. Begin by running short races before introducing long trail runs. Always let your dog develop their own pace.
Take time to train your dog about everything they need to know about running. Getting them to participate in the activity is the first step to ascertain that they enjoy running as you do.
Your dog will not learn everything in a day, so it is important to cultivate patience when teaching them the various commands. They need to trust you and feel safe around you. Inserting control through shouting will not help. Learn to encourage your dog and reward them for a job well done.
It is important to stay hydrated while trail running with a dog. Your dog is just like a human being that needs to keep hydrated at all times. Carry enough water in your dog backpack so you can enjoy your run.
If you don’t give your mutt enough water, they will be tempted to stop and drink from a nearby water source. But if they know that there will be water waiting for them at the end of the race, then they will wait to drink it.
After Trail Running
Once you’ve returned home after a run, examine your dog for foreign objects to avoid unnecessary visits to the veterinary. Check for any ticks, foxtails, glass, and burrs on your dog’s paws, backside, or nose they could have picked while running.
Gear To Use When Out Running With Your Dog
1. Handheld Leash Or Harness
A leash will come in handy when trail running with a dog. In case you run into other dogs, cliffs, or running water, you need to steer your dog away from these dangers and a handheld leash will make it easier for you.
Dog harnesses can help your dog not to get into obstructions. You can choose to get a collar, but it has strangling effects that can prevent you from steering your dog from danger quickly. If your dog is strong and tends to pull too much, go for a head collar.
2. Short Leash
A short leash ensures that your dog does not wander far from you and affects your running stride. You need to maintain a close distance with your dog all the time and a short leash accomplishes that perfectly.
Avoid retractable leashes, as they are problematic and can easily wrap around a dog’s legs when other runners come between you two.
There are plenty of backpacking foods and snacks that can keep your dog energized especially when going for long runs.
Look for nutritious treats that offer whole grains ingredients as well as fruits and vegetables to keep your dog fuelled up.
4. Jacket And Boots
Dress your dog to the occasion. During the cold season, get something warm for them. A jacket and boots will be a great place to start. Don’t dress them in a short coat when going out in the snow, as ice balls tend to accumulate on the paws, making it difficult for them to run.
Learn how to walk dogs in the snow if you are trail running or walking your dog in winter. This will help keep them warm and comfortable so they can enjoy the run. Remember to also secure a good pair of running shoes for yourself for the type of terrain you will be on.
Globo Surf Overview
Running with your dog can be exciting and adventurous if you are equipped with the right information on how to go about it.
Train your dog and get them in shape before taking them out on a trail run. Remember, dogs come in different breeds; establish whether your dog is suited for a short distance or a long-distance race.
Also, train them on the most important leash commands. Be patient while at it and keep them comfortable on the trail so that they can enjoy running with you.
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- Running with your dog, telegraph.co.uk