It’s no secret that cardiovascular exercises have a wide range of benefits for your body and mind— be it increasing your endurance or your mood, cardio helps and it doesn’t even require a subscription. Now, maybe more than ever, with more free time and nicer summer weather, you may find yourself newly motivated to lace up your sneakers and hit the road. This definitely rings true for me, but getting active can be a daunting task to tackle alone. Recently, while talking to me neighbor, he mentioned that he noticed I’ve been going on a lot of walks with my dog, Koda. As we were talking I made mention of how I feel more comfortable taking Koda on walks and runs. My neighbor agreed, whether it be walking, jogging, or running, it’s always more fun with company, and who makes for better company than your dogs!?
Well… turns out that it depends on the dog. My neighbor warned me that because Koda is part Husky, long walks in the summer sun may be too much for him. My neighbor is even more of a dog enthusiast than I am, but he cautioned that he avoids taking his dog out for runs because her body isn’t built for the type of running that he does.
There’s a lot more that goes into exercising with your dogs than simply getting up and going. But, don’t let that discourage you! Regular exercise is super beneficial to the overall well being of pets, however like humans they need to acclimate first. You may catch yourself assuming that because they’re animals, your dogs can run nonstop— well maybe your assumptions aren’t that extreme but you know what I mean. The truth is dogs are similar to humans in that regard. While they may have better endurance than us, our dogs need training, just like we do, before we can expect them to run six miles with us. When exercising with dogs, it is important to build up to more intense sessions. A lot of sources, my neighbor included, even recommend researching your dogs’ breeds to see what kind of exercise would be best for them, that way you can improve your fitness together. For example, while huskies love to run and are often considered an ideal running partner, they perform best in cooler climates due to their thick coat of hair. After learning this, I decided to run early in the morning, when it’s cooler, with Koda. Since making this small adjustment, I’ve noticed a considerable difference in my dog’s endurance. He isn’t panting nearly as much and he can go a lot further, a lot faster.
With that being said, dogs thrive when they’re active, just be sure that your dogs are getting the right kind of activity for their breed. Not all dogs are sprinters; some prefer jogging or walking. The research that proves the benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise for humans also applies to our pets. Just like walks can improve our stamina and temper, they can also boost the health of our dogs. They don’t only enjoy the new sights and smells; they also love spending time with us. Additionally, dogs are also known to get a little stir-crazy; so, a the small change in environment that a walk or run provide might be the thing to keep your dog better behaved.
Long walks, in the beginning, may prematurely tire you and your dogs, not to mention intimidate you guys from making it a regular thing. Instead, try shorter 10-15 minute sessions to start. These will allow you and your dogs to get comfortable with the exercise and give you something to work towards for the weeks to come, if you’re looking for more intensity.
It’s normal for your dogs to pant; that’s how they sweat. However, if you notice your dogs are lagging and winded, that’s a sign that they’re being overworked. Dogs with pre-existing health issues may be prone to tire sooner so be sure to check with your vet.
Ideal leash length for runs is anywhere from three feet to six feet long, depending on the size of your dog. This allows for some slack, which is important so your dogs are not tense from pulling against you. You are walking the dogs, they shouldn’t be walking or pulling you, which may happen if the leash is too short. Another great way to prevent unnecessary strain is with a harness instead of a collar. Collars can often choke dogs and lead to increased shortness of breath. Instead of attaching the leash to your dogs collar, use a harness. Combined, the leash and harness duo is a good way for you and your pets to more intimately learn each other’s patterns, especially during the earlier days.
Try not to make assumptions based on the build of your dog. It may prove more constructive to, instead, research the breed. Certain breeds perform better with longer walks, where others prefer quicker runs.
On that topic, take note of your dogs age, puppies and older dogs definitely will not be able to do as much as young-middle aged dogs.
Be sure that both you and your dogs are hydrated before, during, and after you exercise. Carry a water bottle and don’t be scared to stop during a run or walk to rehydrate. Proper hydration is often the key to finishing strong. Our store has some great portable water bowl options that are game changing! Take a look here!
This one should go without saying but carry bags with you. You never know when/if you’ll need to clean up after your four-legged friend. Our shop has some great biodegradable options. Be sure to check ‘em out now.
Be mindful of your environment. It’s always tempting to put in headphones, but they’re often distracting and can distance you from truly bonding with your doggos. It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings. Other dogs or traffic may startle your pets and it’s better to be prepared in those situations and not caught up in the wires of your headphones. Make sure you’re in a safe environment as well. If you live in a city, try to avoid littered sidewalks and opt for pet parks.
One last trick: use a fanny pack. They’re a handsfree way of ensuring you have the essentials with you. I recently invested in one that I can put some treats in, my phone, a collapsable water bowl and some doggie bags. This way the only thing I have to worry about carrying is a water bottle and the leash. Be sure to check out the Bullyfambam shop for some other great finds! https://www.bullyfambam.store/