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Running with dogs... (Read 818 times)

    Anyone have experience running with their dogs? Any advice would be appreciated (e.g., age to start them out, monitoring their health during the run, toughening their footpads, preventing unexpected "squirrel-chasings", etc.) FYI, I have an 8-month old border-collie/pitbull mix that is bursting with energy and is dying to start joining me on my runs...
      I don't have any experience with this - my kitties don't do well with leashes - but from what I've heard you'd want to check with your vet about timing/age because some breeds need to have their bones develop first. Also, remember they'd need time to get in shape, just like you and me, so you'll need to work them up to your pace and distance. I think the border-collie part would love it, but the pitbull part might have a little trouble keeping up. I've heard that big-chested dogs have trouble with distance running for some reason. I don't know why. Good luck! Janell

      Roads were made for journeys...

        I run with my doberman quite frequently due to her "extra" energy. I never take her on longer runs. Also black top really hurts her pads, especially in the summer. She also has a tendency to go way too fast at the beginning. A lot of days I will just take her on my warm-up around the neighborhood (1.5 miles or so). I use a pincher collar on her when I run(I know a lot of people don't like them, but they work). She is very well behaved, but if she were to have something catch her eye she would feel the prong and not take off. I also try to talk to her throughout the run. It seems to calm her down and keep a good pace. I have never actually really asked the vet for any advice as she is just glad the the dog is getting the exercise! Always be sure to carry a bag...she always has to "go" Wink right when I get warm!
        Freblame


          I have been taking my dalmatian with me two to three times per week for quite some time. I first tried to use a standard hand-held leash. While it is managable, I highly recommend purchasing an inexpensive waist-leash, which has a clip to tie it around the waist. This has two advantages. First, your hands are free, allowing a much more natural running motion. Second, if you dog does lunge at something (as my dalmatian tends to do if he sees something exciting like a rabbit), the dog will pull you at a point of strength. I've found my dog is far less likely to pull me off balance with a waist-leash than he did with a hand-held leash, making the experience far more enjoyable. Also, from my experience, a dog will continue to run well past what he should. I had worked my dalmatian up to ten mile runs at one point, which he could do with no problem. However, after a year-long running hiatus, I have not been training him as much as myself. He still believes he can run any distance with me and pouts the rest of the day when I leave him home; however, I have to make the decision that he cannot. If you intend on taking your dog for longer runs, make sure to train him properly and watch for very subtle clues during a run that he may be wearing out. My dog is not explicit about expressing exhaustion, but does show signs that he has run too far. Generally, he runs at the end of the leash, which is quite short. Once he wears out, he'll pull of the full length of the leash just slightly leaving slack in the leash. Also, he will continuously hunt for water if he becomes too hot or exhausted. I have adjusted running routes to accomodate a great water need for him. Nothing works better than allowing him to go for a short swim during a run. One tip, if your dog decides to lay down in a puddle of mud when you stop to allow him to drink, it's probably time to call it quits. Remember, you have to make the decisions for the dog regarding distance, drinking, weather, rest, etc... A dog's instinct is to please its owner, and if it believes you want it to run, it will simply continue. One more item, in this hot weather I have not taken my dog at all. Asphalt becomes extremely hot, and we learned the difficult way how quickly paw pads burn. Good luck with the endeavor. There is no better partner than a running dog. They never complain about a run, and will even find ways to push you out the door when they want to go and you might not be so motivated.
          Maine-iac


            I run with my dogs all the time. I have two black labs - one is 8 and the other is 4. You shouldn't really start a dog with long distances until they are at least a year old and their bones are fully developed. After that, start out slow - a mile or so - and see how they do. You can tell when they start to overheat as they will slow down - or like mine - run on your heels! If I go for a long run - 4 miles or more - I usually take a water bottle along and stop every mile and let them take a drink. They're pretty good at letting me squirt it right in their mouths. After a run in the winter when there's a lot of salt on the roads, I make sure that I wash their pads off right when I get back. If I don't, they start splashing their feet in their water dishes because it will start to burn them. I don't use a leash either. I have a training collar that is made for running/walking with the dogs. It has a remote control that I carry in my hand that I can "zap" them with - but now they listend to the commands even with their collars on as they are so used to it. It's great not having to run with leashes - especially with 2 dogs! Good luck and enjoy. Dogs are the best running partners - they'll run forever if you let them!
              I didn't know they even made waist-leashes! Thanks for all the tips... will keep you posted on our progress.... - Jeff
                It was roughly 90 degrees today when I was out for a slow run. About 3/4 mile into a 2 1/4 mile loop I came across a young woman and her dog. The dog was lying flat on his side, head down, mouth open, and panting like crazy. The dog, she said, had overheated and refused to get up. She had no water for him, and said he was refusing to drink the lake water. She borrowed a cell phone to call for help. I came across another dog-runner later on, and they had water for their dog with them. I let them know about the dog in trouble, and since they were only about a half mile away, I assume they got there before any help that girl had called for did. That makes me so MAD, though! That dog could be having heat stroke or something! I don't know much about dogs and heat but I know they can die from getting too hot and not being able to cool down... just like people can! Only difference is we're supposed to be smart and caring enough not to do that to our animals! Please, PLEASE, if you take your dog out running bring water with you and remember if you think it's hot... you're not the one running with a fur coat on!

                Roads were made for journeys...

                  Just saw your post. I have two BCs I've been running with for quite some time. One is almost four; the other is two. Both are very good runners (although the younger one doesn't have much pace sense yet!), but there are things you can do to make them more effective. One thing is to make sure they have some obedience training, since their behavior on leash is very important if there are people around, not to mention the fact that a well-trained dog is much easier to run with. With Border Collies and BC mixes, which mature much more slowly then many breeds, start them off slowly, as their bones aren't completely developed until 18 months, or so. I started mine off by taking them for a mile or so after I finished my own run, and built up to longer distances. Waist leashes are nice, just make sure you can withstand a sudden lunge from the dog. For hot days or rough terrain, there are paw boots you can buy to protect their pads. These can be found at most hunting/outdoor type stores. If it's too hot, leave the dog at home. My typical rule of thumb is, if it's above 82 or 83, or if it's humid, the dog stays. They'll pout, but it's better than the alternative. Good luck; dogs make excellent running partners, BCs expecially.
                  cathymac


                    I would offer some caution about running with an eight month old dog, usually it takes a year for their bones to be strong enough. I run with my dog, she is a 10 year old Bichon Frise. When ever I put my running clothes on she prances around the house she is so excited. Usually I run no more than an hour with her, and take her off leash as soon as I can so that she can run out and back, she gets twice the mileage I do. It is not too hot where I live so I dont worry about overheating too much. I do carry a dog water bottle on my running belt though just in case she starts to pant. Good luck with your dog!
                    vicentefrijole


                      I run with my dog, she is a 10 year old Bichon Frise.
                      How much does your dog weigh? (If I recall correctlly, Bichon Frise are pretty small?) I'm curious if people are successful at running with small dogs (<25 lbs), especially for longer distances (like over an hour, as you mentioned). this is really just out of curiousity, as my dog is way too stubborn to run with me if there isn't a squirrel at the other end of the park. :d lbs),="" especially="" for="" longer="" distances="" (like="" over="" an="" hour,="" as="" you="" mentioned).="" this="" is="" really="" just="" out="" of="" curiousity,="" as="" my="" dog="" is="" way="" too="" stubborn="" to="" run="" with="" me="" if="" there="" isn't="" a="" squirrel="" at="" the="" other="" end="" of="" the="" park.=""></25 lbs), especially for longer distances (like over an hour, as you mentioned). this is really just out of curiousity, as my dog is way too stubborn to run with me if there isn't a squirrel at the other end of the park. :d>