How to turn your pooch into an endurance animal…part 1

You wouldn't drag an untrained spouse out for a 5-mile run right off of the couch…right?  And, you shouldn't throw your beloved puppy into the fire, either.  Though your dog was probably born to run fast, you need to start slow.  Here's how to get rolling:

1-Don't start too young.  Puppies shoud not run with you, until their bones stop growing…since their joints are prone to injury.  This takes about nine months with small dogs, while large breeds may grow foor up to 16 months.

2-"Easy Boy".  Before you start, assess your dog's health and fitness status.  If your puppy is overweight or severely out of shape, begin by walking.  If you've just adopted your new pup from the rescue or SPCA, take him out for for some easy strolls to assess his energy and fitness level

3-Don't go too long.  You want to ramp up slowly, just like you did when YOU began running.  "Start with 3 x week for 15-20 minutes each", says JT Clough, a professional dog trainer and coauthur of 5K Training Guide:  Runnning with Dogs.

4-…or hard.  Just like us, dogs need a 5-minute warmup before they run.  Look for signs of fatigue—flatened ears, tail down, heavy panting, and hind legs dragging.  If the dog is exhausted, he may sit down and refuse to continue…a sure sign you've gone too far or too fast.  And, if he's really lethargic postrun, he might need a day off.

COMING TOMORROW…LEASHES!

 


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