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Sure, most fit canines could thump us in a 5-K, but anyone who has ever watched leashed runners at a local park knows that some animals are better athletes than others. But how does your dog rate? Or if you’re searching for a perfect running partner, what kind should you pick?
Not surprisingly, it depends. There’s no perfect running breed for all conditions, and a dog’s personality and temperament are as important as its pedigree, says Susan Dicks, D.V.M., an Albuquerque-based veterinarian and marathoner. Mongrels can make fine runners, especially if they’re medium-sized, alert, and eager.
Some breeds, such as huskies and greyhounds, were bred to run, and most working dogs are naturally suited to running. By contrast, squishy-nosed dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, don’t make good distance athletes, because they’re prone to overheating. That’s not to say your pug can’t run, but he probably shouldn’t join you for a late-summer 15-miler. If you want to go long, run in the snow, or hit technical trails, some breeds definitely rise to the top. So say Liz Devitt and professional dog trainer JT Clough, who co-wrote a book about training dogs to run. Here, they pick their top running breeds in eight categories.
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- Plan out where you are going to go on your walk. Do they allow dogs, or is there a hefty fine if you and your dog are caught frolicking on the beach?
- Do you want to walk your dog on leash, or do you want to go on an outdoor hike like a trail where you can go off leash? Find out what the laws are where you live.
- Make sure you take plenty of your preferred pooper scoopers. If you are out for a long time, a dog can poop more than three times.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate; both of you must stay hydrated. Stop, rest, find shade for the both of you and drink. Bring a travel bowl unless you have trained your dogs to drink out of a bottle.
- Remember that dog’s do not sweat like humans – they lower their body temperatures through panting. Panting and evaporation is critical.
- Identification for the both of you is very important. Carry something on yourself and make sure your dog’s tags are up to date. If you can afford it, why not micro-chip your dog. It is painless and could really save a life.
- When walking your dog, the ground you walk on makes a huge difference. Plan with a mission. If you are going to play ball, you know the concrete is going to tear up the pads of his paws. If you are going on an outdoor trail, be prepared for fleas and ticks. Plan ahead, and you both will have the time of your life.
- Make sure whichever type of leash you pick is always clean with no missing parts and that it works properly.
- Always make sure your dog’s collar fits properly.