Tip Tuesday 4/12/16: Running with the Furry Pack

These days’ social media is pretty much the window into most of our lives.  When you check out my facebook or instagram, my eternal love affair with my rescue dog Pippa is pretty obvious!  It is safe to say that she rescued me just as much as I rescued her.

With so many health and wellness benefits associated with having a pet, welcoming my crazy cuddly companion into my home not only helped to lower my stress and ultimately my blood pressure, but also risk for diabetes, and heart disease!  That oxytocin (the bonding hormone) I get from her sloppy morning kisses and late night snuggles on my chest help lower my stress and help improve my health!

In addition to my mental health, those nightly post- dinner walks through town that the boyfriend and I enjoy taking with Pippa provide a consistent dose of exercise in our day.  Even on a busy day, after 12 hours of work, I know at least a 30 minute walk is in the future.  The most heart warming part of the walk however may be how Pippa likes to walk right in the middle of us, making a pretty adorable pack.

With the weather slowly coming back, it is back to our runs, after a very lazy winter (thanks bursitis) we will both be starting from scratch in the training department.  Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to training your K-9 to be the best running partner out there!

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How to Train Fido:

Check the Vet

Check with your vet to make sure your dog an tolerate the run.  If your pup is too young, her bones may still need to develop and running can be potentially dangerous.  I have heard anywhere from 8-18 months so see what the doc has to say.  Your vet may also give insight into how your pet’s breed may influence its ability to run.  Longer legs and shorter hair make for a better and more comfortable run for your pet.

Get the Gear

A harness is a must, it allows you to control your dog without yanking on their neck.  I find Pippa is less likely to pull with her harness on, they even make ones with built in pouches to store water.

Hydration is key!  I like to carry a small pet friendly waterbottle.  My favorite is this portable and collapsible one which is also great for long car rides.

Poop bags…enough said just be courteous.

Protect those delicate paws from heat, rocks, and even snow and salt (if you are that daring!) This natural balm is a must!

Ease into it

I started running just a half a mile with Pippa.  Nothing crazy, nothing too fast.  I used this time to teach her commands like “easy” which were reinforced by a slight yank at the leash.  I slowly began to increase by a quarter or half a mile each week until she could do my standard longer runs with me.  Just like humans you can’t expect your furry friend to be a marathon runner on day on.

Hydrate

I cannot say it enough.  Imagine running that run with a fur coat on?  Allow breaks for water and if possible I try to end our runs at the beach for a  quick dip to cool down!

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