I feel that every runner should have a dog with them. There are so many un-exercised dogs in America and so very many recreational runners.  There are even companies here in Chicago that will send a runner to your house and take your dog on a run for a fee–brilliant! If you do wish to run with your dog, there are some things you should keep in mind.

1) Build up slowly. If you are used to running 6 miles at once, that doesn’t mean your dog is. Slowly build up your dog’s endurance just as you did. Not only do their muscles need to get into shape, but their feet do too.

2) Running in hot weather causes extra risks. Dogs can’t sweat, they only pant. Keep plenty of water handy before, after, and during a warm run. If you are concerned that you went too far and your dog is overheating, put them in the bathtub or cool them off with a hose. Also, pay attention to the temperature of pavement. Hot sidewalks can cause blisters on your dog’s paws.

3) Don’t allow your dog to pee on every tree and street-lamp. Give them opportunity to relieve themselves at the beginning and the end of a run.

4) You don’t need to allow your dog to sniff every dog you pass. Keeping your dog in “work mode” allows you both a sufficient and satisfying workout by keeping your heart-rate up.

5) Finally, a word regarding equipment. Make sure you have a sufficient standard leash (not a flexi or retractable leash which limits your control). I think it best to run your dog in a collar that will be loose when your dog is heeling properly by your right side (the best position for running). It seems dangerous to me to have your dog run in a prong collar due to the possibility of your dog being impaled if it should trip and fall on its’ neck. If your dog is a puller, better to use a chain and snap it to the side when your dog begins to move in front of you–keep it loose when your dog is behaving properly.

Have a good run! Lead your dog!

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