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!

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file000119318946[1]Q: I’ve been looking around for suggestions that might help me and my 4yo whippet.  She’s been with me just 6 months and is healthy and active and great on the lead.  We’ve been working up to running 5km together (I’m a slow half-marathon runner, my 5km time is 25-30 mins).  She runs beautifully for the first half of the run then lags horribly, at full stretch of the lead, behind me, most of the way back.  It doesn’t matter what the distance is – she will run 4km in one direction, but lag after 2km if we turn around.  I’ve tried running circuitous loops but I can’t fool her. I’ve also varied the time of day, our routine when we get home, the pee-breaks we stop for, whether I give her lots of verbal encouragement or not.  Nothing seems to make any difference.  She does not do the same thing on walks, or when running beside my husband on his bike.

Also, last weekend I did a 5km fun run with her and she was perfect the whole way!  I guess being around other runners motivated her?!

Any ideas gratefully received!  She has other exercise options, including short sprints in the park which obviously is the natural thing for a whippet, but I’d love to work through the running thing with her if we can. Read More→

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The Benefits of Shelter Dog Running

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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.

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There’s no better workout buddy than your ultra-supportive best friend. All the more so when that best friend nearly jumps out of his skin with excitement every time you reach for your running shoes or get halfway through the phrase, “Do you want to go for a…”

But running with your dog doesn’t come without its hazards. Here are a few issues to consider before hitting the trail with your canine companion.

Evaluating Your Dog’s Suitability

It’s been a long time since dogs were wild animals, and some breeds are as far away from their wild running roots as can be. A Chihuahua, for instance, probably won’t make the best running partner, and even an exercise loving Border Collie or German Shepherd won’t be great at long distances if your individual dog has any sign of  hip dysplasia.

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Running Motivation

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So, you’ve decided that you and your dog need to start a running program to get fit, become more active and to enjoy the fresh air. Great, maybe you’ve joined a Pooch to 5k training group, or you might be doing it on your own. Unfortunately this morning it’s raining, horrible weather for running. Or maybe you’re still stiff from the previous run.  You also had to work late the night before and just want to sleep in this morning. Suddenly all that running doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.

Sound familiar?

It can be hard keeping your motivation when it really challenges you, or when life gets in the way. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to keep motivated.

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Equipment to Keep Your Pooch Healthy

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So you want your dog to be your running buddy, but where to start? Before you start your workout routine, it’s important to make sure that you have the correct equipment to make running enjoyable for both you and your dog! Your dog can greatly affect your health as your running partner!


The type of collar or harness that you use for your dog is very important. For your running partner, a collar is as important to him as your set of running shoes is to you. Sometimes the type of collar needed is determined by how well your dog is trained.

The best collar for running is just a regular buckle collar. It will not apply unwanted pressure if your dog is not pulling, and it is a lightweight and non invasive option. Make sure that any collar you choose for your dog is the right size and does not have any rough areas that can hurt your dog. Examine the collar when you snap the leash on each time you go out to double check that there are no weak areas, tears, or cracked and damaged buckles. By doing a quick inspection, you will know that the collar will hold tight and keep your dog secure during a run.

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Caloundra Foreshore Fun Run

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Last month our family participated in the Caloundra Foreshore Fun Run.  Organised by the Our Lady of the Rosary school as a fund-raiser, the event incorporates a 10km and a 3km run and a non-competitive 3km walk.

While not strictly on the foreshore, for most of the race the foreshore is in sight.  Last year the kids and I with our dogs ran/walked the 10km run; this year we decided to run the 3km as the youngsters haven’t been doing as much running as before.  On a beautiful clear winter’s day we dropped Audrey and Guinness off at the start of the 10km at Golden Beach and drove across the Caloundra headland to Race HQ at Moffat Beach, the start and finish of our run and the finish of the 10km for Audrey. Read More→

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