We had a great night at the Twilight Half Marathon last weekend, it’s one of the few dog friendly runs here in Brisbane. Cinnabar, Guinness and Bobbie were running in the half marathon, and we were delighted to see another dog in the event – a small white fluffy dog running fast in what I suspect was the 10km race. I’m always happy to see dogs running, and particularly smaller breeds whose abilities are often underestimated.
What did concern me was that this little dog was running fast, amongst a reasonably sized group of other runners. Even though the dog was extremely well behaved, I feel he was still a trip hazard. He was amongst a lot of flying legs and was small enough such that runners may not have seen him. If there had been an accident involving the dog, it would have jeopardised our participation in the run in future, as well as caused injury and possibly led to a runner missing out on a personal best that they hard worked very hard to achieve.
Here are our suggestions for fun run/race etiquette if you’re bringing your canine running buddy along.
Why Border Collies Make Great Fitness Buddies
Border Collies make fantastic pets. They are full of energy, acrobatic, love the outdoors and the water and are perfect as a running buddy. Border Collies are generally very friendly and are great with kids, so you can find yourself stopping in many places along the way when your pooch decides to befriend a random stranger. To top it off they are extremely affectionate, good looking dogs.
Border Collies are in the upper echelon when it comes to doggie intelligence. They are highly responsive to verbal language and non-verbal communication which make them great pets for people of all ages. Border Collies are, when compared to other breeds of dog, not difficult to train and they acclimatise easily to different indoor and outdoor settings.
If you’d love to be involved in the care of shelter dogs but aren’t able to adopt or volunteer as a staff member, shelter dog running may be perfect for you. There aren’t many of us who wouldn’t benefit from a little extra exercise, and dogs are no exception. The problem is that many shelter dogs don’t get the exercise they need – and that’s where you come in!
Studies have shown that shelter dogs that get exercise and interaction with people on a regular basis tend to be calmer when prospective adopters come to see them, which may make them more likely to be taken home.
There are a number of programs across the US that encourage runners to take shelter dogs for a run. Whether you’re a keen runner or just want to get outside more, shelters are looking for volunteers to pair with some of their well behaved dogs. The runs are usually group based, at least to start with, so you’ll be teamed up with other volunteers and at least one shelter staff member to make sure everything goes smoothly. Even if you don’t live in the US, it’s worth approaching your local shelter to see if you can borrow a running buddy. One Australian runner did just that, and loves running with her shelter dog.
There is no doubt that a dog can make a great running companion and sometimes is the best personal trainer an athlete can have. As these canines are happy to exercise over longer distances and times, it is important they maintain a steady weight so as not to put any undue strain on their joints. This is particularly true for breeds prone to joint dysplasia, such as Border Collies and German Shepherds.
Obviously, daily running or hiking will provide a dog with an opportunity for great exercise and this will have an enormous health benefit as long as the animal has been properly trained up in the first place. Having undergone a thorough examination by the vet, it is best to start the dog off with an activity such as walking at a modest pace over a short distance, gradually increasing the speed and distance over a period of time. This allows the dog to build up both confidence and stamina.
If your dog is active, then it’s likely that his muscles ache just as much as yours after a tough running session, and he too would enjoy a rub down. Even in the canine couch potato, massage has its place. It can help him recuperate after surgery, and improve his mobility as he ages.
Massage doesn’t just make your dog feel good, it can reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in his body, and increase the “feel-good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
The I-Knead will help you to effectively massage and relax your dog’s muscles.
There are few better ways to explore the great outdoors than with your dog at your side. Between the smells and sounds of the forest, the view from that mountain top, or the rejuvenating glow of that alpine lake, your dog will love your adventure as much as you will. However, without the right preparation, that day or week of fun can be more hassle than it’s worth. Here are a few tips for preparing ahead of time so you can get down to the business of having fun.
You love your dog; your family loves your dog; your friends love your dog. But the general public may not. It can be hard for other hikers to know whether or not your dog will be a friend or foe, particularly if they’ve had a bad encounter previously. It’s good etiquette to keep your dog on the leash, or at the very least under voice control, in accordance with any park rules posted at the trail head. This helps not just reassure other hikers, but to help maintain the often fragile, high-trafficked ecosystem around the path, which dogs can inadvertently destroy when they sniff and frolic a little too aggressively. Always yield the right of way to other hikers, letting them pass first, and either carry out or bury any waste at least 200 feet away from the trail or a water source.