It’s a new year and you’re tired of making excuses. You’ve
decided that this is the year you’re going to do it: compete in a marathon.
You’ve been busy researching marathons online that are held across the country,
the groups they’re “run” by (get it?!) and what it would cost to compete. Then
one day you come across the
. Iron Doggy events are for runners and their dogs! How cool is
that—you and your pupper can train together and race together; it’ll make for a
whole new bonding experience!
Though your dog might love to run around you in circles at
the dog park, that doesn’t mean he can or wants to go on endurance training
runs. Before you lace up your Nikes and pull that
over your dog’s head, here are some things to think about.
Getting a Check Up
If you’ve ever tried to start an
exercise regimen with a friend, then you already understand the struggle of
trying to keep motivated when they call to cancel gym plans but suggest going
out for drinks instead. This isn’t something you have to worry about coming
from your four-legged jogging “pawtner.” Your dog will be more than ready to
head out on leash for a good long walk. However, as much as your pup enjoys his
walks, running long distance might present a problem, especially if he’s too
young, too old or just plain out of shape.
with Vet Street, long-distance runner and dog trainer Bob
Halpenny stresses that you can’t start distance training with your pup until
they have reached at least 18 months of age. Your young pup’s bones are still
forming, and if they should land on their paw wrong and tweak their leg, they
could sustain a lifelong injury. Older dogs suffering from arthritis or
pulmonary diseases will not be able to withstand the pressure of the training
either. If you want to start a training program with your dog, veterinarian
Marty Becker suggests taking your pup to the vet for a physical to make sure he
can withstand the training.
Don’t Push, Support.
Once your pup’s vet (and your
doctor) gives you the OK to begin this new exercise regimen, start the routine
. You and your hairy running partner will need to build up your
endurance. Starting out your training aiming for a five-mile run will only
cause physical and emotional stress to you and your dog. Remember, the Iron
Doggy is about getting out, getting healthy and having an adventure shared by
you and your canine companion.
As you and your pup become used
to the 10-minute jog, increase your time. The running blog Active tells us that
the “gradual build up [as result of the training] allows the muscles and
connective tissue to adapt and grow to the activity without injury.” Take care
of yourself and your pooch, don’t overdo it.
Running on Leash
You and your running mate will be
connected through a leash, forcing the two of you to run in sync with each
other. Long leashes such as those that extend to six feet will not be of much
use in the race as it will let your pup pull and run ahead of you, causing
possible injury. You and your running mate will need to run in time with each
other to be successful. Adorn your dog with a martingale collar and connect him
to you using a hands-free dog leash or a handheld leash measuring at most two
feet. By keeping in unison with each other you will stay in rhythm and keep
from exerting too much energy early on in the race.
Are you ready to set a new goal
for yourself this year? Are you ready to spend as much time with your dog as
you possibly can? Register for the Iron Doggy. And for all your canine friend’s
visit Hot Dog Collars.