Make the Most of Jogging with your Pooch

Make the Most of Jogging with your Pooch

Class of 2005 … jeez, I'm feeling *really* old now.
Ed Yourdon via Compfight

Having trouble jogging with your dog? Sure, it’s a great idea to work out with your pet. It’s a way for you both to exercise and spend quality time together. But maybe you didn’t anticipate some minor setbacks, like your dog stopping to go to the bathroom every few minutes, taking frequent breaks to sniff everything or getting distracted by squirrels and birds. These constant stops and breaks takes can prevent you from getting the maximum benefit of continuous exercise. Not to worry, there are a few ways your can counter your pet’s natural inclination to get distracted on jogs.

  1. Practice. Before you begin any sort of jogging regimen with your pooch, take him on a few practice runs. You can even do this on regular dog walks. Keep a constant pace and don’t allow your dog to stop if he wants to smell something on the ground or if a squirrel suddenly runs in front of him and he pauses. Firmly grip the leash and gently tug it every time you notice him stopping. Your dog sees you as his leader and will follow your actions, so it’s important that you are consistent with this. The more you practice this, the more your dog will get used to walking without stopping. Once he gets the hang of doing this on your walks, transition to jogging and employ the same techniques.
  2. Have your dog use the bathroom before and after your run. You would think it’s impossible to eliminate bathroom breaks when outdoors with your pooch. But it’s not. You just have to plan carefully. Before you jog, let your dog out in the yard for a few minutes so he can do his business. Or you can take him for a short minutes-long walk so he can relieve himself. This should eliminate his constant stopping to use the bathroom while running. Then once you are finished jogging, let your dog use the bathroom again. This should take care of his bathroom breaks while ensuring that you get in some quality continuous cardio. Of course, if it’s an emergency, you should stop to let your dog relieve himself. But the more you make your dog go to the bathroom before and after jogging, the more he will become accustomed to it, which will result in more uninterrupted jogging sessions.
  3. Pay attention to how your dog reacts. Sure, most dogs are able to run continuously for several few minutes. But it’s  necessary to make sure that he’s not over-exerting himself. So while you run, keep an eye on him. A lot of dogs have no problem keeping up as you jog, while others may struggle. If you want to jog continuously, be certain that your dog is able to handle it. Typically, it’s better to run with younger, more energetic dogs that are bred for such activity. Older dogs with health problems may not be able to handle such intense activity for a long period, and making them run non-stop for 30 minutes could be detrimental to their health. For instance, running for a half hour with a young husky is probably not going to be much of a problem, since they are bred to run long distances without stopping. But making an old basset hound run for that same amount of time could be harmful. Ideally you could run non-stop with your pooch for however long you want your workout to last, but if he can’t handle it, don’t do it. If that’s the case, save running for a different time and make dog walks more low-key.

Incorporating your dog into your exercise routine is a great idea, especially if you can do it in continuous sessions. Try these tips if you have a pooch that tends to get distracted when the two of your are out.

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