You CAN run with your dog
Running with your canine co-pilot is sure to bring a whole new kind of runner’s high. From watching your dog sprint from a sudden case of the zoomies to giving you an excited side-tongued smile, you’ll be laughing too hard to notice those sore muscles.
On Saturday 20th May, we partnered with outdoor adventure dog brand Ruffwear, and Ruffwear ambassador, Fay Preene, to host a social run for adventure pups and their humans.
Attendees got to test out Ruffwear’s trail running gear and had the chance to enjoy a trail run with their dog and other like-minded people.
Running with your dog doesn’t have to feel like a marathon task. With the right kit and an attitude for fun, it’s achievable. Whether you’re a gentle jogger or more of an ultra-runner, here’s some top tips to help dogs and humans put one paw in front of the other and find that forward momentum.
Running has numerous benefits for your dog – help maintaining weight and improving mental sharpness, as well as reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. In addition to these obvious benefits, there is the added companionship and special bond that can develop when you and your dog do things together.
Take the right kit
Ruffwear’s performance dog gear combines performance, quality, fit, function, and safety to allow active and adventurous canines and their humans to live their best lives outdoors. You can use their products to walk, run bike, hike, campamp, ski, and enjoy the water on two and four legs.
Their brand new trail running collection has an emphasis on minimal and lightweight designs that are key for fluid movement during high-output activities. Humans and dogs can find their stride together with an updated and expanded Trail Runner™ Family built with connection, hydration, and exploration in mind.
- Trail Runner™ Running Vest – a lightweight running hydration vest with zippered pockets and two flasks included.
- Trail Runner™ Belt – a lightweight and bounce-free running belt with two stretch zippered pockets and a lead attachment system for comfortable hands-free, on-lead running.
- Trail Runner™ Lead – a lightweight, minimalist lead built with stretch webbing for a smooth and comfortable on-lead connection.
- Trail Runner™ Bowl – an ultralight bowl that packs into itself for ultimate portability.
Always warm up
The most important thing you can do for yourself and your four-legged friend when getting ready to run is to warm up properly. Make sure to slowly warm up and stretch your dog. Take a brisk walk with your dog on a loose lead, let them sniff and do their needs, so that they learn the difference between walking and training. Slowly increase the speed to trotting and then a sprint at the end. Your dog also needs to stretch. Any activity that exaggerates a natural motion will work, such as chasing after a ball.
Prepare for the weather
Temperatures in the winter can vary significantly. Generally, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog. Similarly, if you can endure the temperature, it’s likely that your dog can too.
The risks of cold are substantial , frostbite, windburns, and exposure. Make sure to stick to well-known routes and have back-up plans. It’s also important to prepare your dog with suitable gear. The Ruffwear Powder Hound™, Cloud Chaser™ and Quinzee™ Jackets will all keep your dog nice and warm on their adventure whilst the Vert™ and the Sun Shower™ Jackets are perfect for keeping your pup dry.
In the winter, good running surfaces may be more challenging to find. When running on the road, be aware of how much salt has been laid on the surface. Chemical deicers can be harmful to your dog’s paws; make sure to wash your dog’s paws thoroughly and consider purchasing a set of dog boots such as Ruffwear’s Polar Trex™.
When temperatures reach 20+℃, please don’t embark on strenuous activities with your dog.
We know how important exercise is when keeping our dogs’ body and mind healthy, but knowing how to exercise them safely on hot days while preventing overheating can be difficult. It’s also important to note that temperature isn’t the only factor, you must also take humidity into consideration.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day, try to head out very early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Pick well shaded areas ideally with natural water stops for the dogs to cool off or have a swim
- Alternatively, pick places with a nice breeze such as the beach – but ensure you avoid the peak times of the day
- Use some cooling apparel such as Ruffwear’s Swamp Cooler™ Zip Vest for an evaporative cooling effect that disperses heat from the dog’s core
- Carry water – the Ruffwear Trail Runner™ Running Vest features two zippered pockets which holds two water flasks and a smaller pocket can fit the Trail Runner™ collapsible bowl
- Ease back on distance and pace, taking plenty of breaks
- Cut back on the volume of runs you do per week
- Why not power walk instead of run? You can still enjoy some light exercise using the trail running equipment. But still do this during the coolest part of the day.
- Know the signs of heat stroke
photo credit : james kirby
Fay’s top tips
Ruffwear ambassador and Wonderful Wild Women HQ Crew, Fay Preene, shares her top tips for running with your dog.
- Be patient. It can take time getting used to running with your dog on a trail running system. It is a new skill for you BOTH to learn. Be patient with your dog as they navigate this new way of moving. It can be very stimulating for your dog and with that comes excitement and energy.
- Comfort. It is essential that you work in tandem with one another and that you both feel comfortable. Your dog just wants to please you, and they will likely run without ever showing you signs of tiredness. It is your responsibility as their owner to slow them down and to stop. I do this by adding in as many sniff and water breaks as they wish. Along with letting them have time off the lead when it is safe to do so.
- Keep it fun. Test out various terrain and locations – this is one of the main joys of trail running! From well-established trails, grassy mountains, valley paths, and everything in-between. Consider your dog and their breed, this will determine what terrain will be most suited. And remember, no one knows your dog better than you do.
- Type of run. You can’t compare running on your own to running with your dog on a trail running system. These are two totally different experiences. Consider what expectations you would like for your run. If you are wanting to achieve a 5km PB on the road, would your dog enjoy this and would this be in their best interests?
- Equipment. Use a different lead/harness for running and walking as this will help your dog identify which activity they will be doing.
photo credit : james kirby