DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I started my own fitness training about four months ago, and have done pretty well with daily runs. Now that my dog “Spirit” is out of puppyhood — he’s about 9 months old — I’ve tried to take him along. But he didn’t seem too excited the first time we went running together. He stopped running and tugged on his leash back toward home after just half a mile. How can I get Spirit into running? — Curt C., Boulder, Colo.
DEAR CURT: You’ve got to work Spirit up to it, just as you had to work your fitness upward. He gave a really clear signal that a half mile was his initial maximum distance; at that point it was time to take him home. Spirit is still very young to be out running, so don’t get discouraged by that first-day showing; just gradually increase the distance each day in small increments, take Spirit home, and finish your own run.
Running with your dog can be rewarding, providing companionship and even a measure of security. But keep your dog’s welfare in mind throughout the exercise. Heidi Ganahl of Camp Bow Wow offered some important tips for keeping your dog safe while running:
–Don’t feed your dog less than 1 hour before or after running, to avoid the possibility of bloat.
–Put sunblock on your dog’s nose on sunny days.
–Make sure he drinks plenty of water before and after the run.
–Check your dog’s feet after each run for injuries.
–Avoid running in very hot, humid weather, as dogs can overheat quickly.
–Place reflective gear on your dog and yourself if running in the evening or early morning.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.