Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Cooper. Cooper has been running for most of her life but her other hobbies include sleeping, pretending to want to play fetch and then not doing the actual fetching part, being a 65 pound lap dog, and getting in your face to say ‘woooooooo’. Cooper is a 4 year old husky-boxer mix with lots of experience running with a human.
1. Get me checked out
I’ve heard that humans are supposed to be looked at by a human vet before they start exercising, but a lot of the time they don’t. You should always make sure your human takes you to the vet before they start running with you. While all of us like running around and having fun, unfortunately not all of us are build for long distance running. Some of us have hips that don’t work right, some of us have squishy noses that while pretty adorable aren’t great for breathing while running, or something else could be wrong. Plus, my vet has the yummiest treats, so I like visiting them (except when they put a needle in my butt).
2. Start slow
We love running. What we don’t love is doing too much too soon. Build up our mileage slowly and please remember that while you have two feet in tasty shoes, we have four feet on the ground and those feet might not be used to human type running yet. Even experienced running dogs like me don’t like it if I’m used to doing 6K and then my human forgets and suddenly takes me on a 10K run (sorry, Cooper – Lindsay).
3. Listen to
your body me (or learn my language)
I can’t always tell you what I’m thinking, and maybe I am and you just don’t understand. Why don’t you speak dog? I do a lot of things that my human has learned over time what I’m trying to say to her, but other humans have to remember that my signs may be different than another dogs signs, because we are all individuals. I run faster in the grass because the pavement is kinda hard on my feet, so she tries to avoid me running on the pavement. I’m afraid of the noisy dog that lives behind that fence, so my human tries to avoid going near it, or tells me that I’m a good girl and gives me pets when I’m brave and go by. I can’t run across that grated bridge in the park because the pads on my paws are just the right size to get stuck between the holes, so we walk across. If I start to drag behind, I’m either tired or bored, but I’m not hurt; I sit down when something hurts.
4. Leave me at home
Don’t get me wrong, I love running, but sometimes, I’m just not in the mood. It might be too hot – I’m pretty furry. I might be grumpy – maybe I had a bad day. Maybe I have a sore foot. Maybe you want to do intervals and I would rather chase squirrels and apparently that screws up your workout. I’m an odd dog and I don’t like running with wet paws, so when its raining, my human will leave me at home instead of taking me on a run – I’ll just sulk the whole time.
5. All dogs are different
A lot of places on the internet (this thing my human uses when I really think she should be giving me continuous ear pets) say that us dogs should run in the heel position. I do not like the heel position. It makes running less fun. My human and I run better together when I lead; I’m a good girl and don’t pull and I get to pretend that I’m a sled dog like my dad was, leading the pack. My human likes it too because I am a squirrel chaser (why do they get to run up trees?) and if I’m in front she says that she can see if I’m watching a squirrel and stop me before I take off. Some dogs like to run in heel and some like to run behind (like my friend Scally who comes with us sometimes) – work with your human to see which really works best for you. Personally, I don’t really like running more than 7K. I’m a good runner and I get excited to go, but after awhile, I just get bored. I can keep going, but I don’t enjoy it as much. I’ve heard of other dogs who do marathon training with their humans – I think that is crazy and would rather be left at home to lie upside down on the couch if my human is going far.
6. Keep me safe
This is the most important part, because I want to keep being your best friend and running partner. Make sure that I am pretty good with commands, even though the best of us can forget in the excitement of a run. The other night, my human and I almost got hit by a car, but my human was paying attention and yelled SIT! and I did (because I’m a good dog) and the car didn’t hit us. Make sure your human checks out your paws and legs for any cuts or swelling – they know that injuries aren’t fun and will understand if you can’t go with them while you are healing. I don’t like running on leash, but my human says that I have to unless we are in an area where there is zero chance that I’ll be hit by a car or running away. Big fenced areas are good for this – though one time I ran face first into a chain link fence I didn’t see and bounced off – once my human realised I was ok, she laughed at me pretty hard.
Running with your human can be a lot of fun – I highly recommend it 🙂