Americans are run crazy. We love to run (okay, |am not so mucha lover of running), and we love to have our canine friends run with us, We believe that it is healthy for them and us. You may be surprised to know that the science (yes, science still exists) is unclear how beneficial running is for our dog pals.
Dogs appear to love to run after objects, other creatures, and people. The internet is bursting with "Dr. Google” health guides, lifestyle colurnns, and “expert” advice on the benefits of dog exercise for vur health and theirs, They point out that getting
a dog can increase your exercise level and running is very good for your canine companion, The next question is: REALLY?
Sixty thousand years ago when wolves first began to interact with Homo sapiens, their size and genetic makeup created
the perfect running partner. Their legs, body type, size, and upper airway conformation was optimal for long, steady, distance running and short, extreme-exertion speed. They were the perfect running partner.
The thing is not all dogs are “Born to Run" (add Bruce Springsteen music here). Fast forward to the present. Humans take
great pleasure in manipulating and reshaping the genetic phenotypic expression of our canine friends. We now have a Dr. Seuss-
like variety of shapes, lengths, heights, weights, and facial features with almost 250 distinct breeds of dogs.
Just like their human friends, dogs with even the best wolf-like qualities need to build up their endurance and be cleared to run more than just to chase the squirrel. This is especially true in urban areas, areas with high traffic, and pedestrian traffic.
Selecting the right breed to be your wolf-like running buddyis a very important step if you are planning a canine running companion, Avoid short-nosed or brachycephalic (pushed-in face) dogs. Even the boxer, which is touted as a runner's companion, has more difficulty on longer runs, Heat is a huge issue, so try not to select a friend who carries a massively thick or long hair coat. Shaving your long-haired dog can expose them to sunburn and actually increase their body temperature. Giant breed dogs also should be avoided as they have a lower surface to mass ratio and have a much more difficult time shedding heat. Remember, dogs
only perspire from their tongues.
General guidelines for running with your wolf-like spirit friend include, not running more than % of a mile with dogs
under one year of age. Growth plates should be closed before any extended runs are considered. [tis also generally accepted that dogs should not run over 2-3 miles and should build upto that distance over six weeks. If your runs are longer, you should plan for your trip to come back by your house at the three mile mark to drop off your canine companion. Also bring cool water on the run. If the humidity is high or the temp is above 80 degrees, you should take water breaks with your dog every mile. Be sure that your dog has some timein the shade during the run. If you dog starts to lag behind, you should stop immediately, give it water, and phone a friend to pick you up inan air-conditioned vehicle. Lastly, don't let your dog run next to you ifyou are ona bicycle. It
may seem fun but can be a disaster for both you and your wolfen friend.
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