I'm going to start off this post with a little disclaimer: my dog is a psycho. She has an insane amount of energy and an insane amount of quirks, so this may not apply to all dogs. A few years ago when I was training for my half marathon, Andi trained for the entire thing with me. That's right, Andi ran up to 11 miles- afterwards she would sprint a few laps in the backyard, take a poo, then pass out on the couch for 10 hours. It was amazing! Here are things I learned running with my dog (keep in mind I'm not a professional at all- vet OR runner- these are just my own pieces of advice).
- Talk to Your Vet First: Different breeds have different needs. When I asked my vet about running with Andi he said if the temperature is above 70 degrees, she shouldn't run any more than one mile because of her breathing and the risk of heat stroke.
- Know the Signs of Heat Stroke: Some dogs are at higher risk for heat stroke than others, plus running makes US hot so imagine how much it sucks for dogs who can't sweat! Some symptoms include heavy panting, excessive thirst, vommitting/diahrrea, bright or dark red teeth/gums, staggering, excessive drooling, and more. If your dog's behaviors even start to concern you while you're running, DON'T risk it!
- Be Patient: Remember the first time you ran the mile in gym class? Did you sprint as hard as you could for the first 400 then almost die for the rest? Dogs know nothing about pacing, and Andi just wanted to go at 1000% as soon as we started running. They also get incredibly distracted which is super frustrating when you're just trying to get your workout in. It took a lot of practice and getting used to for us to get in sync with running. In the beginning I would take Andi with me for the first mile or 2, then drop her off at home and finish my long runs. Eventually we were in sync with each other and the best running buddies.
- Stick to a Route: The same route is pretty exciting every day for dogs, but for Andi every single smell, bush, tree and blade of grass wasn't quite as exciting after 2 weeks of passing it every single day. Sticking with the same route helps with those distractions. Speaking of distractions- don't be embarrassed to talk to your dog while you're running. For some reason, and maybe this was in my head, whenever I gave Andi positive praise she would kick it up a notch.
- Pay Attention to Your Dog: Watch out for limps or anything out of the ordinary for your dog. Sometimes I had my music turned up loud and was in the zone and didn't even notice little Andi was limping alongside me! It turned out she's just getting old and needed some glucosamine vitamins to oil up her joints, but I felt terrible!
Do you run with your dog? Do you have any advice?
Linking up today at TWIT with Kateri VonSteel and Little Friday!