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!

Aug
03

Running and Dog Behaviour

By

boxer…or behavior, if you are one of our North American friends :-)

As some may know, we occasionally foster dogs until they get their forever home. Our last foster, a gorgeous Staffy x Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, had separation anxiety, and became unsettled and distressed when we prepared to go out. It didn’t matter that he had our four dogs for company, he’d start to whimper, and pace the floor.

In mid June, we went to the Caloundra Foreshore Fun Run, as we do every year. It’s one of our favourite dog friendly runs. Francis ran with Domino, and they did the 10k run in about 51 minutes. Domino is an amazing runner, extremely athletic and strong, and he absolutely flew up the path. Francis reckons that if there were fewer people running the course, Dom would have run 45 minutes for the 10k.

Later that afternoon, we were going shopping and getting shoes on and picking up keys. We were amazed to see that Dom just sat on the couch watching us. He wasn’t tired at all, but his brain must have been swimming in endorphins which reduced his anxiety about being left alone. He didn’t whine, didn’t pace, but happily trotted into his crate and settled down with a yummy stuffed kong.

Does this mean that a fast run is a potential means of managing separation anxiety? It’s well known that exercise is a good remedy for depression and anxiety in people. Dogs have been shown to get an endorphin rush from high intensity exercise so could we use running as a way of helping those dogs that are unsettled when alone? I think so, and I’m keen to explore this further. Watch this space.

Do any of our readers have a dog with separation anxiety and do you find  that exercise helps at all? We’d love to hear from you.

PS This picture isn’t Dom, it’s someone else’s lovely dozy foster dog :-)

 

Categories : Dog Health

6 Comments

1

So true! Cleah and I had to stop running when she went back to her breeder for her final (YAY!) litter in February. When she came back, she was much more jittery than when she left. Then, between training her puppy and a stretch of 100+ degree days, running was out of the question. We just started running and doing the stairs (15 stories) again, and she is much, much calmer. It makes a huge difference.

2

I can report that all my doggy clients are much happier and relaxed when their humans get home on the days I take them for a run. One in particular suffers bad separation anxiety, especially when I left. The first time he jumped the fence to go find me (luckily he was returned to his yard). The next time he carried on yelping and pacing for a good 10mins. By the end of 2 weeks (5 x half hour runs per week) he would only yip for a minute or so.

3

Regardless of neurochemistry (thing I know nothing about) I tend to believe that having some quality time with an anxious dog will reduce all kinds of stress. That dog had a truckload of activity both during, before and after the race. Beeing bored is a dog’s mind worst enemy.

4

I have also fostered several dogs in the past. For those with separation anxiety, any kind of exercise has always seemed to help!

5

I know first hand that my destructive hound is a calm dog who doesn’t get into trouble when he gets a good dose of exercise. He is notorious for garbage rummaging, tearing up my daughter’s stuffed animals, and digging at carpet when we aren’t home. If I get him a good run 3x a week, and a brisk walk the rest, he just lounges calmly while we are out and about.

6

Thanks for commenting, Shannon, great to hear that other dogs are calmer after a good run.

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