Why Run With Your Dog?

Personal training for dogs. You’re kidding, right? Actually, no, we’re not. Research suggests up to 40% of our dogs are overweight, and they suffer from the same health complications that overweight people do. Veterinarians (including myself) are becoming more and more concerned about the increase in joint pain, heart disease and other obesity related illnesses in dogs. Hence, Pooch to 5k. Dogs can’t lift weights, or use the gym. If you’re going to increase their fat burning, you need to increase the intensity of their exercise. This means that a daily stroll just won’t cut it any more, it’s too laid back. The Pooch to 5k program will help you get your dog from doing nothing much to comfortably running 5km, over a period of 12 weeks.

Because you’ll be running with your dog, you’ll also get a great workout three times a week, as you train yourself to run 5km. Why not subscribe to our dog health and fitness newsletter and grab your dog, and you’re ready to go!


How Old is Too Old?

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GuinnessOne of the most common questions we’re asked is how old a dog should be when it starts to run. We wrote a brief post on that topic here (although it probably needs revisiting and I’ll do that in the near future), and although I haven’t looked through every post, I’m pretty sure that’s the post that has the most comments and questions on it.

We’re enjoying both ends of the age spectrum at the moment, with our new youngsters Morag and Rose just starting their running journey. On the other hand our seniors Sinner and Guinness are slowing right down. Sinner no longer runs at all, he is getting a bit doddery on his legs and he is happy to settle for an easy stroll around the block. Guinness loves to run but his distances are kept to around 4-5km because he starts to lag, sniff and become a trip hazard.

So how old is too old to run?

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A Cartoon for You

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Who else has to deal with this when they run with their dog?

Fly With Dogs

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Exercise for Weight Loss

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dog swimmingEvery weight loss program should include exercise. If you increase the amount of calories your dog uses up, it means there are less to add to his waistline. The difficulty is that it’s often uncomfortable for overweight dogs to run, so you will need to look at alternatives until he has lost a few of those excess kilos.

Just like with people, it’s a great idea to have your dog checked by your veterinarian before you begin, to make sure his body will cope with the extra workload.

Walking is the obvious choice for exercising dogs. You can take your dog further each week, and by doing so, burn up more calories. The main disadvantage of walking is that it is very hard on his legs. They have to carry his excess weight and they can become tired and painful.

When your dog has lost some weight, walking will be more enjoyable for both of you. In the meantime, think about taking him swimming. Water supports his body as he exercises, and this is easier on his joints. There are several ways you can use  water to exercise your dog.

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Categories : Dog Health
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Safe Lace – No More Tripping

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Safe Lace closedIt’s not always easy to run with a dog. Stopping to sniff, stopping to pee, running from one side of you to the other to smell the latest aroma on a passing tree. That’s unless your dog runs nicely at heel. Guinness doesn’t at first, and I’m ok with him having a bit of an explore when we first head out. After a few kilometres, he’s neatly at my side and pretty much stays there for the rest of the run.

With all that going on, the last thing I want to do is add a loose shoelace to the mix. I’m watching where the dog is, avoiding an ankle tap that will send me flying, only to trip over a loose shoelace. Fortunately, I discovered Safe Lace. This clever yet very simply designed item secures my laces so I don’t have to worry about them coming undone.

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A young woman massaging her painful knee

This post is for the human in  your running partnership and has been written because I’m injured, I was getting better and I didn’t rest enough and now I’m sore again. It’s my own fault, and I’m frustrated.

Everything is going great; running is like breathing, training becomes the most freeing part of the day, miles fly under your feet rather than passing slowly, and then all of the sudden: ouch! Sometimes, the pain of being told not to run is greater than the actual pain of the injury. But this is the most dangerous time for runners.

When the will to run becomes strong and the injury stops hurting after a couple of days, health professionals can seem ridiculous in saying to wait weeks to get back out there. After all, you know your own body. It feels fine, and surely a short jog wouldn’t hurt? Doctors, podiatrists and physiotherapists tend to be over-conservative in their prescriptions for rest time, right? When we want something, rationalisation becomes easy and the years of training and experience that our medical team have under their belts seem irrelevant. They aren’t.

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Categories : Runner Health
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man-being-dragged-by-dogSometimes, running with your dog just doesn’t seem to go according to plan. Your dog might lag behind, or he might want to stop after just a few kilometres or he may even run in front and trip you up. All of these can take the pleasure out of sharing a run with your four legged buddy. So what can you do about these problems? In a nutshell, it all boils down to training.

Any behaviour has a reason behind it: a dog might react in a certain way in a particular situation because of fear, excitement, previous training, or because of an innate breed-related behavioural characteristic. Dogs are also very good at picking up on cues you give them, and they learn what’s going to happen next. That’s why lots of dogs get excited when they see their lead – they know they’ll be going out. If you’re trying to train your dog to run well with you, then it’s worth considering bringing in one or two new cues which he will learn to associate specifically with running. You might use a running harness he doesn’t wear at any other time, or you might choose a really tasty food treat that you never give him except when you’re running. Over time, your dog will learn what’s expected of him when that particular harness or treat is in use.

A border collie’s herding instinct could get in the way of your running because she might keep trying to run around you – to round you up. She might not do this with anyone else in the park; because you are her “flock” it’s you she wants to herd. Border collies can be trained to drive sheep ahead of them, so in this situation I’d encourage her to run just behind you so she can herd you from behind. Every time she gets ahead, stop her, and ask her to continue once you’re a step ahead again. You’ll need to start this at walking pace before moving up a gear. Alternatively, go back to basics and train her to walk at heel then gradually increase your pace while always rewarding her for staying calmly by your side.

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