Beginning an exercise regimen with your dog has a multitude of benefits: weight control, cardiovascular health, and mental happiness. So whether you prefer the trails or the city, there’s no excuse; starting a routine is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Start with a Clean Bill of Health. The first step to starting a running regimen is to get an okay from your doctor and the go-ahead from your canine’s vet as well. There are special considerations for each dog regarding a running routine, such as age, breed, genetics, and weight. It’s always a good idea to have all these factors checked out prior to starting a fitness routine.
2. Get Your Gear In Check. Don’t forget about Fido’s gear as well. Remember, he’s not equipped with those super-cushy, gel-filled sneakers. If your dog’s pads are soft, you may want to consider using dog boots to prevent paw injuries. But just like any shoes, they will require a break-in period, so start slow. Other things to check out before going include a sturdy leash, current and well-secured identification tags, and a harness. Harnesses are better options for running than collars because they prevent strain on the delicate trachea and disperse the dog’s pull over a larger surface.
3. Start Slow. To begin, ease into your exercise program with long walks of about a half-mile or 20 minutes every other day. After about a week or so, add periods of running into your walks, gradually increasing the amount of running over the next week or two until the entire program consists of running. Once you are both conditioned to run, add about 10 percent to the distance every week.