Running as a form of exercise is a polarizing idea; there are those who love to run and there are some who absolutely despise it. For those who do enjoy running, there are a few ways to make their daily routine more fun and exciting. An ingenious way to add some spice to your runs is to bring your dog with you. What’s better than getting a workout in while spending some quality time with your dog? Going for a run with your dog not only benefits your health, it also helps your dog remain stimulated and active for better health. Here are some running-related activities for you and your dog to take on.
Going for a jog and letting your furry friend tag along is a great way to sweat while still bonding with your dog. Not only that, your dog also gets some much needed exercise to improve their overall cardiovascular health. Jogging is an easy activity to do and can be done almost anywhere. The tricky part is to get your dog to run with you. There are some cases when your dog will simply follow your lead when you go for a run. For those who have a hard time with this, there are special leashes and harnesses that you may put on your dog so that they can run at the same pace as you do. Jogging is best done on a good day out and will not cost you anything. The length of the run depends on you. However, if it is your dog’s first time to jog, an hour maximum is recommended to prevent your dog from getting too overworked.
The game of fetch is one of the most definitive activities that owners can play with their dogs. However, if you are someone who likes to keep moving, then you can take things up a notch and play active fetch instead. Basically, active fetch is similar to the classic game of fetch. The catch? While your dog is running and retrieving the toy you threw away, you can start sprinting some distance. Then, after retrieving the toy, your dog will try and bring the toy back to you. To make things more active and challenging, run away from your dog. The game ends when your dog catches you. Another variation that you may do is to throw the toy away and try to beat your dog in retrieving it. This game is best done on a clear day out and in a wide open space where dogs and owners can run freely.
Marathons are a huge thing in the United States and regularly take place across all states. With the current popularity of marathons, it is no surprise that there have been a few twists on this running event. Dog-friendly marathons and races have been around for some time now. These types of races are usually just short distances and cater to all types of dogs. They are held regularly and some even benefit some charities. Hence, you not only get to exercise with your dog, you also get the chance to help out. The registration fees of such events are usually cheap to moderate and the race itself can be finished within an hour or two, depending on how fast or slow you go. You may need a leash or a special harness to keep your dog from running ahead of you.
This funny-sounding game is an actual training routine that is used by runners all over the world to boost their speed. Translating to “speed play” in Swedish, fartlek is the practice of incorporating short sprints within a routine run. To play fartlek with your dog, simply burst at a fast pace for a couple of meters and watch your dog follow you before reverting to your normal pace. Do this as often as needed. This allows you to train and improve speed and be with your dog at the same time.
Chase is another simple but classic game that owners love to play with their dogs. The rules are pretty straightforward – run away while your dog tries to chase after you. To play, call your dog’s attention by clapping, whistling or any other sound. Once you have your dog’s attention, run away. When your dog is within a few feet away, turn around and reward him or her with a treat or a gesture of affirmation. Stopping before your dog reaches you allows you to control the game and not let your dog have to nip your leg.
Running is a sport enjoyed by many. With all these activities to choose from, dog owners can now enjoy their daily runs without having to leave their furry friends behind. Whether just a casual runner or one who is training for a marathon, your dog can serve as the “paw-fect” workout buddy and training partner.