The weather is warmer, the snow has melted, the flowers are blooming - there has never been a better time to get out and run. Why not choose a reliable running companion who won’t cancel on you because the Indians game is in extra innings – your dog!
Last week, my dog Briar and I started training for Cleveland Metroparks Ranger K-9 5-K. Training for the race, which takes place on May 3 at Edgewater Park, has been a great way for both of us to get active, stop hibernating and have fun.
Here are a few tips to train for a race with your dog:
Check with your vet. Running can be harmful to puppies whose joints have not fully developed as well as for certain breeds. Consult your vet before starting any training regiment with your dog.
Make sure you have the right gear. A short or hands-free leash is recommended for running with your dog. Dog harnesses are also a good idea so your dog does not pull too much and put unnecessary strain on his/her windpipe.
Start off slow. Even though the sun is shining and your legs feel fresh, you need to start off slow. You may want to do a pre-run training where you practice good leash skills (i.e., always keeping your dog close to you and on the same side so as not to trip or get tangled in the leash). Keep the first training run to 15-20 minutes and be prepared to stop along the way or cut your run short if your dog gets tired.
Keep your dog on the leash. When you are running your dog may get easily excited and try to chase fellow runners or animals. Keep everyone safe by keeping your dog leashed. When running in Cleveland Metroparks, it is a requirement for all dogs to be on leashes. (And, as a side note: be a good friend of the parks or neighborhood and make sure you bring bags to clean up after your dog).
Watch where you run. Keep your dog’s paws safe, avoid hot surfaces in the summer and areas where there may be small rocks/broken glass.
Stay hydrated. Make sure you both have access to water. Consider bringing a reusable water bottle and a collapsible water bowl if you are uncertain where the closest water supply is.
Have fun! Spring in Cleveland is a wonderful time of year. Smile and enjoy the wonderful memories you and your dog are sharing!
Start training today and we will see you on May 3! Click here for more information and to register for the Ranger K-9 5K.