If you have been inspired by the Olympics to get fit – The Dog Jogger, aka Barry Karacostas, has some great tips for getting fit with your dog so you can both lose weight and complete your fitness plan together.
Why should you exercise?
I could run through all the medical reasons but it’s very simple: ‘look good’ ‘feel good’ and believe me life is a lot more fun when you’re fit and healthy.
Why should your dog exercise?
The majority of dogs, especially dogs bred to work, need physical and mental stimulation daily so they can lead a stress free, healthy and happy life.
Why is exercising with your dog such a good idea?
Your dog will motivate and drive you into your fitness plan – especially after you realise how much stronger your bond between one another becomes and how much happier and healthier you will both be.
How do you get started?
First and foremost you must take your dog to the vet and tell them about your fitness plan – they will advise you the recommended amount of exercise that your breed of dog should have daily, they will also check that your dog is fit and healthy.
Second it’s a good idea to invest in a slip-knot medium length lead to help with correction and to avoid your dog accidentally slipping out of his or her collar during exercise.
What is actually involved?
Dog Jogging starts with you both running at a steady tempo side by side on lead and once you have established Alpha status with your dog/dogs and you feel confident that they will follow you can start off-lead cross country running.
Where/when should you exercise with your dog?
Try to run early morning or early evening when the parks are a little quieter, run on grass as the soft ground is better for both yours and your dog’s joints.
How long do you need to exercise each time?
Incorporate a light jog during one of your daily walks. Starting with 10 minutes and gradually build it up to a couple of minutes every other day until you reach your dogs recommended amount of exercise. If he or she occasionally grinds to a halt just walk for a minute then start the exercise again until they understand what they are meant to be doing.
Please remember if your dog is a working breed it doesn’t mean that they are automatically fit and therefore ready to rock and roll from day one, just like us they need to build their level of fitness gradually and keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion* this should be enjoyable and fun for you both. Remember: always take drinking water out with you and offer it in small amounts to keep your dog hydrated.
* your dog really doesn’t want to run, excessive panting, wobbly on their legs and please avoid running in extreme weather conditions.
How soon should you see results?
You will see a difference within a couple of weeks and you will probably have shed some pounds and your dog will be calmer, happier and looking a lot fitter and believe me every time you get the running shoes out they will show you just how much they love to run with their pack leader!
Do both you and your dog need to change your diet?
If your objective is to lose weight then yes!!
If so, in what way?
The quickest way to answer this one is decrease carbohydrate intake for both you and your dog – premium dry dog foods and raw food suppliers offer high protein low carbohydrate options. And NO TREATS for either of you.
Is there anything that is different about a fitness plan with your dog rather than on your own?
You find that you will eventually help each other push the boundaries and the guilt of not taking your best friend/training partner out will mean that you will hardly ever miss a session, and honestly the joy and buzz I get from running and leading a pack of dogs is simply indescribable.
Are there any downsides?
Do you have any tips?
Sign up for The Dog Jogger Master-class.
Please click here to visit The Dog Joggers website.