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If you’re feeling inspired following the London Marathon at the weekend (Sunday 28 April), did you know exercising with your four-legged friend can be very beneficial for both you and your dog? The experts at Canagan have revealed their top tips on running with your dog, so you can enjoy the activity together.

Dogs are a great motivation for staying active, they depend on us for exercise, so even when you don’t feel like it or the weather is unpleasant – you must take them out. New research by the University of Liverpool revealed that UK adults are four times more likely to get their recommended amount of weekly exercise because of their pet. Even when the gym might seem like a better option, bonding with your dog and spending time in natural light can have many positive mental and physical effects.

Breeds to run with

Canagan experts explained how some breeds of dog are better suited to running than others.

You’ll find that extremely fast breeds, like Sighthounds and Lurchers, are speedy across short distances but will tire over longer ones. Breeds like Labradors will happily run alongside you and will compliment your active lifestyle. Supreme athletes of the dog world like Huskies or Border Collies may also be happy to go the distance but may need their attention held during the run!

On the other hand, brachycephalic breeds, including Pugs and Frenchies, can have difficulty breathing and regulating their body temperature efficiently, so are more susceptible to heat stroke – meaning they would struggle with marathon practise.

How often you run with your dog comes down to age and breed. Adult dogs generally need between 30 minutes and two hours of daily exercise. This can include walking, running, playing fetch, agility and other enrichment-based games.

Tips on training dogs to run with you

  • Build up endurance steadily. Don’t go too far too soon. Just like humans, some dogs may need their own version of Couch to 5k if they aren’t used to running. Even those that are more athletic will need to build up their endurance
  • Bring water for your dog. Their way of cooling down is panting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Make sure you bring fluids for both of you on the run
  • Stay present and pay attention to the signs your dog is giving you
  • Don’t go so quickly that you’re out of breath and can’t give them instructions
  • These runs are unlikely to be your personal bests when it comes to your speed – there may be the abrupt stops for sniffing and peeing, especially when you’re first training them to get into the rhythm of running alongside you (rather than in front, behind wandering between the two).  If you’re a runner and are training for speed, it may be best to leave the dog at home for those specific runs  
  • Don’t forget poo bags!

An important thing to remember is that sometimes your dog won’t know what’s good for them and the natural urge to run and play can override pain; some may not know their limits. Play time and time with you can be too appealing, so it will be up to you to put the brakes on if they get over-excited!

Find out more information about exercising with your pet here.

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