Friday

Jogging With the Dog


This morning I was making my usual trip to the gym,and also as usual, making note of the dozen or so joggers out in the very early hours jogging with their dogs.I saw my neighbor Alana, bundled up from the cold with her long legged black lab mix named Soot.I saw a cute guy jogging wih his Weimaraner and I particularly noted a young co-ed type running with her very dapper looking Wire-haired Fox Terrier,much like the one in the above photo.
An hour and a half LATER I was returning from the gym and I passed the girl and the Fox Terrier again.Only this time the dog was pacing , a sure sign of tiredness. (Pacing is when the legs on the same side move in unison, versus trotting, which is a 4 beat gait and the natural gait of our canine companions)In fact this dog was so tired his back legs were losing their ability to even pace and were wobbling from the knees down.
But this valiant little dog had his head up and was determined to keep up with his person.
Horrified, I tried to get her attention but she ran between buildings I couldn't drive past.
She was damaging her dog's body and she needed to know it. I desperately wanted her to know that this kind of repeated exercise would have her dog needing knee replacement surgery or worse. Fox Terriers have very upright shoulders and straight back legs which gives them little shock absorbing capabilites when running and trotting on concrete or asphalt.Quite simply they were not made for that kind of extended physical activity.
Seeing joggers with dogs who are ready to drop from heat exhaustion or do not have the physical attributes to run long distances is a real 'pet peeve 'of mine.
With the New Year here many of you are considering getting into better shape and one way is to jog.But before you take your dog along make sure he is not only fit but structurally capable of such exercise.
A Greyhound type or Malamute is better suited than a Basset Hound obviously, but no dog was created to withstand the pounding on concrete so often the footing of choice with joggers. If you do have a dog who can handle light jogging with you please make sure his nails are trimmed very short.Long nails affect the dogs posture and running on long nails will cause back problems.And vary the footing,alternate your concrete or asphalt running with softer footing. And watch your dog closely for signs of tiredness.Don't be oblivious to your dogs' needs like the girl I saw today.
If you run with your dog because you think it is good exercise for your dog then consider this- it only takes two 45 minute walks twice a day to keep your dog in shape. Yes, I said walks. In England,the great Greyhound Derby winners are walked into condition,not run. Nike has yet to come out with a running shoe for dogs. Until they do, jog with your dog carefully.
Until next post,