Running with the Dogs
Do dogs get to have running goals? They should. I have never met a dog who did not want to run with me. My pomeranian Foxy would prefer about 1 kilometer with lots of breaks. My springer spaniel Brownie would have shown his disappointment at only 1 kilometer. Hunting breeds are usually running machines.
What kind of running plan should you give your dog? A different route for different scents every now and then would be preferable for some. A consistent route allows for the satisfaction of marking the same territory in the name of Mister Snuggles. I once ran with a dog who marked his territory every 100 meters if I let him. Rest in peace Chester!
A dog park in the mix can allow for some group fun off-leash. Brownie loved that. Foxy hated that. The pack dynamics can certainly be stressful for the owner but it is golden when it works out. A well-used dog park in the winter can also look golden. “Misty!! Do not eat the snow!!”
Does your dog need to build up some fitness? It all depends on how active your dog is. If your dog is older and rarely leaves your house, you may need to work up to a distance. You also need to be careful of the environment for their paws. Winter running may require booties. Summer running may require booties if you are sticking to the hot asphalt. I have never used booties myself but I did have to cut a run or two short because I noticed Brownie’s paws were getting tender.
A dog will give you signs when the running is not as fun as it should be. If you find yourself pulling on the leash, that should alert you. Hydration is important but you need to consider the source. Last year was a tough year for dogs passing away after consuming blue-green algae. You also need to be prepared that your dog may not want to run due to injury or simple disinterest.
If your dog does love to run and you enable that for them, it is a better gift than any expensive chew toy. Some breeds like border collies thrive when they are able to be active and feel like they are completing a chore. For yourself, it can also help you fulfill your own running goals as a dog will expect you to keep to a regular routine. When your dog is waiting for you at the front door, you know what time it is!!
Do cats have running goals? No. Some people run with cats now. I would consider this torture for both parties. The only way I think a cat would help an owner running would be through their litter box. After cleaning this smelly toilet, a refreshing run outside is the only thing that can truly help you recover your senses.
I apologize to all cat owners offended.