Now that the fall like weather has chased the heat and humidity of summer away I hope it is inspiring you to venture outside. I know I’ve been planning outdoor adventures for the past two weeks!
One of the nice things about the cooler weather is the ability to exercise outside comfortably and perhaps enjoy it! I’ve been doing a lot of activities with my black lab and SPCA rescue, Oakley. Whenever I run Oakley is usually by my side or at least attached to my wrist! There are a lot of benefits to running with your dog over running with a human partner. Dogs don’t care about your times and splits, they are happy to just be with you. Dogs hate excuses, when that tail wags it’s really hard to say no! And a tired dog is a good dog, your pooch may be less likely to get into trouble when he receives enough exercise. I’ve seen this last benefit in Oakley a lot. He’s not a bad dog by any means but when I haven’t walked him or provided him with enough exercise he looks for trouble, much like a child who is acting out because they need attention. Exercise for your dog will also provide the same health benefits for Fido as it does for you, maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening bones, boosted energy levels, and reduced stress.
So what if you’re not a runner? Taking your dog for a walk or hike is fun too! I’ve started to explore Geocaching to make our hikes more exciting and treasure hunt like. It’s great to be outside and exploring trails that I don’t normally venture on with my mountain bike.
If you are considering exercising with your dog here are some tips:
1) Know your dog – larger/working dogs are built to run long distances. Your teacup sized pooch may not excel in the sport of running.
2) Build up gradually – if Fido hasn’t been running you’ll need to build gradually, not just to build his stamina but also to get his paws used to running
3) Watch your paws – be mindful of hot black top, glass, and other roadside hazards, your dogs paws are sensitive and you should make sure to check them for dirt or glass after a run or walk. Also in the winter the road salt can be a hazard, be sure to wash your dog’s feet when you get home.
4) Stay hydrated – make sure you bring plenty of water for yourself and for your dog
5) Leash your dog – I hate being out on the trail and there is a loose dog. This is dangerous for your dog and for other users. Fido may listen well but if you run into other users such as horseback riders you could spook their horse
6) Poop happens – Pick it up! Make sure to have a bag or two along to take care of nature, even if it happens in the middle of your run or hike.
Hopefully this inspires you to venture outside with your dog and try something new! If you have any helpful tips feel free to share!
Also, if you have a pup, my aunt has a dog walking and pet sitting business. She’ll even do midday let outs if you’re at work and Fido is in the house too long! Here’s her flyer. Oakley loves getting a break on those long days while we’re at work. However, one of my favorite things to do after dinner and a long day is take him for a walk. He doesn’t usually let me sit and watch TV for long because he knows it’s time to get outside!!