Running – A Great Way To Exercise Your Dog If You Live In The City
As someone who lives in the city, there are many ways to exercise a dog in your area. Why limit your dog’s exercise just with a walk in your neighbourhood? There’s an attitude among some city dwellers that having a dog in the city isn’t fair to the dog. Somehow, there is this myth that dogs are happiest in rural areas where they have plenty of room to roam, or in suburban areas with big backyards, but a dog is happiest when he has a great time with you.
The city offers a lot of possibilities to train your dog. Look at the city as a vast playground. Often, it is a matter of using your imagination. One of the best ways to take advantage of your city area is to go running with your dog. When an owner runs with a dog, it is a beautiful thing to watch.
Many breeds of dogs were meant to run. Why not share a runner’s high with your dog? Good advice when running with your dog is to run with him on leash (there are even special handsfree leashes for jogging) and to observe the rules of the street, of course. I know runners don’t like to stop at street corners with their dogs while they are running, but I hate to see a dog being taught that he can run across the street without stopping and not given the proper cross command. As a runner, you have to stop at street corners with red lights while running in place, so do the same thing whenever you arrive at any given corner.
It is not advisable to take a young puppy on a run since it will be hard on his hips and his bones are too soft. But when a puppy reaches his ninth month, he should be able to go safely on long runs with you. Check with your vet to find out when your dog is ready to start running with you.
If you run in the park, you don’t have to worry about crossing at different streets. But you will have to teach him to stop at strategic areas along the path, such as cross paths, parking lots and other congested areas. Keep a leash on your dog so that it will be a smoother run. There are too many distractions around, and your run will be interrupted if he starts chasing a squirrel or rabbit.
Running teaches your dog to follow you since he will be running at your side. Your dog does not have to be at a perfect heel during a run. What you basically want to share with your dog is a good rhythm. If you are using a harness, he can run in front of you. With an additional belt you can turn your daily jog into a canicross adventure. Canicross is like driving a dog sled but without a sled. It’s a great team building experience and a joy for you and your dog. Here’s the canicross belt from Ruffwear that I am using with Ernie.
Running is also great for developing the musculature structure in dogs. Just take care that you don’t run on days that are too hot for your dog. Always take water for your dog with you. There are lightweight portable water bag for this case, so you won’t be burdened with a lot of weight.
You will also want to inspect his pads after a run since they can take a beating on asphalt. If your dog’s pads are rather sensible you can help him with special dog shoes. This might sound wired at first but most recue dogs in danger zones wear them. So why not give them a try.
We hope that we have been able to provide some useful information for you and wish you a great time running with your dog.
Your Ernie & Berti (and Gianni)