How to Run With Your Dog
Note: This guide is designed specifically for German Shepherd dogs.
Running with dogs is great fun and an excellent way for both you and your dog to get good exercise. In fact, there are some experts who even think we would have run with wolves in the wild and that this is the best way to achieve what’s known as a ‘flow state’ – a state of heightened awareness.
If nothing else, running with a dog is practical as it means you can get exercise at the same time as taking your dog out. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever tried it you’ll likely have found that it’s not always easy as your pup continually jumps up at you or gets under your feet.
Here’s what you can do to make it start working…
The first tip is to start slowly with a gentle canter instead of immediately setting off to a sprint. The idea here is to gradually get them used to the idea of moving quickly alongside you so that they don’t get too excited/scared/confused.
Run With Your Dog Next to You
One of the biggest challenges of running with your dog is getting them to run alongside you rather than galloping ahead. Keep them close by while you’re still training them and in the long run this will make for a much smoother running experience.
Just because your dog seems to be full of beans doesn’t mean it’s up to running long distances – especially if it’s a little older. Ask your vet to check your pooch over once and keep an eye out for signs of overheating etc.
Reward Good Behavior
This is a trait you are training, just like sitting or rolling over. As such, you should always praise and pet a dog after a successful run so that they know they’re doing it right and so that the behavior is enforced.
When we imagine a dog, there is usually an image of a four legged fur ball, wiggling it’s tail happily with it’s tongue sticking out. Those are not just accessories on the dog, as every one of them is a defining trait that makes a dog what it is. They are a way of life and specie defining traits. If you are a dog owner or you wish to be – you should know them.
Dog barking is a way of communication. This way dogs communicate with people and other dogs, expressing their emotions, fears and warning us and others of dangers. You should fight against bark reducing procedures as it is directly making dog unable to communicate and can lead to depression with dogs.
Tail is also very important. You can tell how the dog feels based on their tail position. Wiggling tail means it’s happy and ready to play, and other positions indicate fear, submission or attack.
Other superpowers a dog owns is a superior sense of smell and little hairs on their nose that makes them behave better in pitch black darkness. They also have special anal glands that indicate their presence and mark the territory. Dogs can smell a tree or a wall where other dog urinated and instantly know what gender, age and health status that dog has. They are very good at sensing and remembering different smells and that is the reason they mainly use their smell to understand the world.
Dogs also see in the dark better than humans, as they have night vision similar to cats. They also perceive world differently as they see only shades of green and blue, and they are not color blind as it is often thought.
Dogs sweat, but not for the same reason as humans. They have glands all over their bodies and when the bacterias dissolve the sweat the recognizable dog smell is created. But, unlike with humans, those glands are not there to regulate body temperature. Dogs regulate it by panting and breathing. They also have sweat glands on their paws, and water that comes there is used to make their step lighter and stop the pillows on their paws from getting dry. Without it. dog’s movement would be much harder. Dogs regulate heat by releasing water in their paw’s glands and that is the reason we can sometimes see wet foot prints after a dog walks by. Dogs also sometimes have thick coat of fur that keeps them warm at winter and isolated at summer. It seems unlikely but the thick coat of fur actually stops the heat from getting to the skin, even if you don’t get that impression by touching it. Still, just like most other animals, dogs pant and breathe in order to release extra heat and you can see the dog that is very hot breathing heavily all the time.
Going to the vet can be a traumatic experience and dogs often get scared or even aggressive. This is usually due to the fear they feel or some procedure they are not comfortable with. It is sometimes hard to do basic check up as it is impossible to measure their pulse or temperature. If dog is uneasy, it can counteract some of the medicine it is given or make the check dangerous for the owner, vet or the dog itself.
Aggression at the vet’s can be understood – dog is nervous, afraid and confused. But, why is it so? In a small number of dogs, the reason lies with their training. In almost all of the dogs, the reason that triggers the aggression is the fear or pain that they felt and now connect with the vet. Also, the owners must be careful not to trigger those same traps by their own behavior and actions. Sometimes, the owner gets very nervous and transfers the anxiety and fear literally driving the dog mad. Dogs understand our emotions very well and it is important to show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Aggression is the natural response to danger, and in this case veterinarian is a source of danger and dog is trying to defend itself.
From the moment the dog steps out of the house, it can sense what’s coming and they are often reluctant to go, they pull back, squeal and show other signs of fear. Dog will unwillingly step into the car or the vet’s office and it wont pay any attention to other dogs or even cats that are there. On the table, it will be stiff and pulse will rise with their tail between their legs. Some dogs will try to get of the table, bark and try to bite whoever gets near them, even their owner. Those are usually dogs with bad training, but we must count on such behavior even with the best behaving dogs. They will sometimes lose control and urinate or defecate on the table and their body temperature will rise.
So, how can we stop this? Well, one of the tricks is to take the young dog to the vet a few times just to get information, without any procedures, just walking in and out – so the dog can get used to the space and smell. Afterwards, it’s good to give the dog a treat. This way you will establish the trust, and if the young dog doesn’t have such a habit, it’s usually very hard to develop it later on. What should be avoided by any chance is sudden moves, loud voice and yelling and especially any form of force. It is sometimes good to put a muzzle on a dog as it can prevent bites and you shouldn’t be offended if the vet puts the muzzle on your dog, no matter how good and calm it is. Visiting the vet is a dangerous and not very fun activity for the dog and the vet must protect himself.