Running With Your Dog: Tips #6 -10

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fitDogFriday_180x150For today’s FitDog Friday we continue last week’s post with additional tips for running with your dog. Before we present Tips 6 -10, we wanted to share an experience that happened this morning on our run. It is a perfect example for Tip # 8 below.

Today, Jack and I were on our normal trail run and as we turned a corner to head down a straight away path, I noticed a coyote on the trail about 200 yards ahead of us, coming at us. I had Jack on the leash at the time so everything was safe, although normally I would take the leash off at the turnaround point and work with Jack on proper off leash distancing during our run. The coyote saw us and scooted off the path, under a fence, and on to a side street well away from us.

Jack and I kept going, got to the turnaround point, and headed back up the path towards where we spotted the coyote. I thought about letting Jack off leash at this point—the coyote was nowhere to be seen—but for some reason I thought I would wait until we reached another turn point, survey the situation, and let Jack off if all was clear. Wouldn’t you know it, when we reached the turn, there was the coyote, less than 100 yards ahead of us on the trail. I was so glad that I kept Jack on leash because he would have taken off after the intruder and who knows what trouble he would have gotten into. The moral of this story is, like Tip # 8 points out, when running with your dog, you need to be very aware of your surroundings, anticipate potential problems and make the necessary adjustments. Be safe, not sorry!

I actually feel lucky that I was paying close attention this morning and that I was aware enough to assess the risks. I would bet that this is not always the case as the hazards of life can often create distractions. Now to Running with your Dog Tips 6-10.

Jack's favorite running trail

Jack’s favorite running trail

6. Track and keep accurate history of exercise activity and diet. Log your dog’s activities and  feedings to ensure that your dog is getting adequate energy from food and proper nutrition, which are both key to leading an active healthy life. Further, having an accurate history of your dog’s exercise levels and feeding amounts can be valuable when discussing your dog’s health with your vet.  Use the Slimdoggy app if you have an iPhone.

7. Make sure that your dog is well trained on the leash, if you choose or are required to use one.  I am lucky that I can choose whether to run with Jack on or off leash because of our access to trails.  Some aren’t so fortunate—those living in urban areas for example, really have no choice.  If you do run your dog on leash, I recommend that you do some leash training before starting the program.  Running a dog who is not properly leash trained can result in injury to both of you.

8. Be aware of external factors that could influence the level of effort and safety for the activity.  If you are on the trails, scan for terrain changes, wildlife challenges, and other dogs/people/bicycles that could cause an issue and react accordingly before there is a problem.  Same holds true for urban runs.  Watch for vehicles, other dogs, people, etc. that could cause a problem.

9. Realize that no running program is ‘etched in stone’.  The best running plan is one that works around your schedule and one that changes over time as you and your dog change.  Yes, the more fit you become, the more and faster you will be able to run.  But progress will fluctuate and as you and your dog age, you will likely need to make adjustments to ensure that you can both continue to run without injury.

10. Evaluate your dog’s food quality and quantity.  An active dog needs adequate energy and nutrition from their food.  Take a look at your dog’s food ingredients and make sure that you are feeding them a quality food that is full of real named protein and without fillers and artificial ingredients.  Also, don’t fall into the common trap of over feeding your dog due to over estimating how many calories your dog burns on a run.  Use the SlimDoggy app or widget to estimate their calorie burn and check your food brand’s calories and ingredients.

How about you? I know many of you run, hike or walk with your dogs – any additional tips for our readers?

fitDogFriday_avatarPlease enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

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10 Comments

  1. Great tips! We love seeing coyotes but we are on the leash too. My lab cousin Lena is staying with us for the weekend so Mom is running with her. She is a great runner and Mom loves running with her even though she almost killed mom a couple years ago by tripping her. Mom landed right on the curb with her face. It was ugly, but Lena meant no harm and it was a great reminder to always pay attention to what the dog is doing! Happy running!
    emma recently posted…Fitness Find | GBGV | FitDog FridayMy Profile

    • Ouch – that’s happened to me a few times too.

  2. Hey! Y’all are in the running for the Petties! I voted for you a moment ago. 🙂
    Flea recently posted…So Many Things …My Profile

  3. Good thing you were thinking ahead. We encounter coyotes every once in a while when we are hiking in the forest near our cabin. We make sure to re-heel and lease the dogs immediately. Can’t take any chances.

    We have such a difficult time in the summer keeping the dog’s weight consistent. One week they are too thin and the next we are cutting the food back. Measuring activity level/calories burned when hunt test training is an inexact science….lol.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Follow-up Friday 7-5-13My Profile

  4. Wah…wordpress at my comment. Anyhoo, the basic gist was now that Chester is almost 11 I have to stop myself from letting him “just do it”. I feel bad but I don’t let him come on faster, longer runs with Gretel and I anymore 🙁
    Jessica recently posted…Keeping Up With K9 KampMy Profile

    • Its tough when you have to scale back…I hate when I have to leave one of them home and they give me the sad face 🙁 Wish I could explain “it’s for your own good”.
      mkob recently posted…From Celery to PeppersMy Profile

  5. Great tips about being aware of what’s happening around you when your out running a dog. No coyotes where we are but roos are always a ‘tad’ distracting for my dog. And the balance of food to exercise always a tricky one. I found the SlimDoggy App a great help for working out how much I should be feeding my dog after a ‘big’ workout.
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Natural Dog Training – What I don’t like about my dogMy Profile

  6. Great tips as always. Have a good weekend! Love this HOP!

  7. Great tips! I’m not a runner and Donna is even worse, she trails half-heartedly after me most of the time!
    weliveinaflat with donna recently posted…Dogwalking, Bright light, Harsh shadowsMy Profile

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