Celebrity Dog Jogger, Barry Karacostas, fitness trainer to Elle Macpherson’s two Labradoodles Bella and Moon, provides an easy, step-by-step fitness routine for you and your dog.
The majority of dogs need physical and mental stimulation daily so they can lead a stress free, healthy and happy life. I recommend exercising with your dog for many reasons – not only will they motivate and drive you but it can really strengthen your bond. Here are my top tips.
1. VET CHECK
First get your dog checked by a vet and get them to recommended the right amount of exercise for your breed.
2. PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Plan your route so you can lead with confidence. Choose a terrain that is soft grass or off street trails as it’s good for both you and your dog’s joints.
Make sure you have the right equipment. Invest in a slip-knot medium length lead and a dog running belt to help with correction and to avoid your dog accidentally slipping out of his or her collar during exercise. Remember: always take drinking water out with you and offer it in small amounts to keep your dog hydrated.
4. START SLOW
Begin by running at a slow pace and build up gradually. Dogs don’t necessarily run faster than us. Dog jogging starts with you both running at a steady tempo side by side on a lead – once you have established Alpha status with your dog/dogs you can start off-lead cross country running. Incorporate a light jog during one of your daily walks.
5. INCREASE YOUR FITNESS
Starting with 10 minutes and gradually build it up by five minutes every other day until you reach your dogs recommended amount of exercise.
Run early in the morning or early evening to avoid crowds.
7. DANGER SIGNS
Be aware of how your dog is feeling whilst running so as not to over exert him. Keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion: excessive panting and wobbly on their legs. And please avoid running in extreme weather conditions. Never feed your dog immediately before or after exercise.
8. WEIGHT LOSS
If your main objective is to lose weight, you will need to change your diet, 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.
9. THE 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!
10. ENJOY IT!
You will find that you 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.
If you are thinking of setting up your own dog jogging group or would like more information please click here.