Category Archives: running

Do Dogs Get a ‘Runner’s High’ Like We Do?

By Linda Cole

To me, there’s nothing better than an intense workout to help me feel good. I don’t care what the activity is; running, tennis, softball, racquetball, volleyball or biking, they all fit the bill. I like physical exercise because of the ‘high’ it gives me when I’m done. We know how important exercise is for our dogs, but do they get as much enjoyment as we do from an intense workout? Do dogs get the same kind of ‘runner’s high’ we get?

Like humans, some dogs enjoy sports more than others. For a high-energy dog, racing around off leash is what they live for. If you’ve never experienced a runners high yourself, it’s hard to describe the euphoric feeling one gets after a strenuous workout. Stress is reduced and you feel on top of the world. According to a recent study, dogs do get that same feeling after a good run or workout.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found that both humans and dogs have a release of mood altering chemicals after running. Research was done at the University of Arizona where they compared humans, dogs and ferrets to see if we shared an endorphin rush, or second wind. They found that ferrets don’t get a high from exercise. They aren’t exactly the long distance running types. Dogs and humans, on the other hand, do experience a runner’s high and it’s more intense in dogs than it is in humans. The high happens when neurochemicals activate endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. Scientists also discovered that walking doesn’t produce a high for humans or dogs. Nevertheless, a walk around the neighborhood is still good for both of us.

When man and dogs began their evolution journey together, humans had to travel away from home to find food. They needed to be able to push themselves through sore and tired muscles to keep going. Since dogs traveled with humans, they also needed to be able to push themselves when needed and dig down to get a second wind. Without the feeling of euphoria, there is no reward to encourage the body to keep moving. The runner’s high is probably one thing that helped hunters locate and stalk their prey and then return home with supper. And since dogs aided in the hunt, they also needed to be able to keep up.

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Canicross – Head Cross Country with Man’s Best Friend!

By Suzanne Alicie

I know that our lovely editor Julia only assigned this title to me because I’m known to want to try the things I write about. Well, surprise! I’m not giving Canicross a shot… although for an athletic person and a well behaved dog it could be a fun activity. My dog Bear has ‘ADD of the nose’ and just a normal walk around the block means me racing along behind her frantically as she runs back and forth following scents. Harness or not, I definitely won’t be trying Canicross with her!

Canicross is the sport of harnessing your dog and running or walking cross country. It’s similar to the sport of Skijoring which I’ve thoroughly explored here before. How is Canicross different, you may wonder, from simply taking a walk? Consider the actual idea of cross country walking or running – it’s a test of your endurance and stamina, strength and coordination to be able to travel long distances. Now think about heading up a large hill while you’re walking or running cross country. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner harnessed in front of you to give you a little bit of a pull?

Harnessing your dog for Canicross is much like harnessing him to a sled for pulling power. When you run or walk cross country with your dog you have a partner, a bit of extra strength. It also strengthens your bond with your dog to learn to work together as a team to get where you are going. Canicross does require that your dog learns to keep tension on the line while traveling at a speed that is comfortable for you. Your dog needs to be accustomed to a halter and to having some weight on the harness in order to learn the restraint and pace of Canicross.

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The Best Dog Breeds for Runners


By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve all seen those movies and television shows where the faithful dog keeps pace with his owner as they run through the park or on the beach. Luckily I am not a runner because my dogs would be dragging me all over the place. While any dog can be trained to run with you properly, there are some breeds that have a runner’s temperament and stamina.

If you are a runner who is looking for canine companionship, you may want to check out the following breeds to insure that you get a running partner who can keep up with you.

Vizsla

The Vizsla breed has shown an above average ability to be trained. As a natural hunter with a strong sense of smell, the Vizsla can be easily distracted if not well trained. But when it comes to keeping up with you and being a good companion runner, the Vizsla is affectionate and lively as well as having high energy and endurance. A Vizsla should be able to run for miles with you without tiring, as long as you can keep him focused.

Weimaraner

This friendly and obedient dog breed has the added benefit of being very intelligent and easy to train. Possessing great stamina and balance, the Weimaraner is a perfect running partner for long runs. They will excel at a steady pace, and are also a wonderful companion for hikers. Like the Vizsla, the Weimaraner has been bred for centuries to be a hunter; that sense of smell can lead to distraction, but this breed is easy to get re-focused if he picks up a scent. Simple words of encouragement will bring him right to your side.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a strong athletic breed that was originally bred as a hunter – a lion hunter to be exact. This breed has wonderful endurance at a steady pace, and is a quick partner for sprinters as well. A Rhodesian Ridgeback is loyal and makes a good companion dog for its owner, but may have some socialization issues unless he is introduced to and becomes accustomed to people and other dogs being around.

Border Collie

Energetic and intelligent, Border Collies will love running with you to work off some of their excess energy. The Border Collie is a herding dog, and will attempt to group the people around it; this can be dealt with through training. A Border Collie is, simply put, an athletic dog who will strive to please and keep up with their beloved owner.

Dalmatian

While many of us think of a Dalmatian as a fire truck dog more suited to riding than running, this breed was originally bred to run alongside a horse drawn carriage. This high energy breed is ideal for runners, as they are fast, intelligent and active. Running is a great way to keep your Dalmatian from becoming bored and using all that energy in a destructive manner.

While all dogs need to be walked and exercised, for a dedicated runner it is important to choose a breed that has the characteristics needed to be a good running partner. Training is an essential step in turning your pet into a running partner, however. Don’t expect to choose one of these high energy breeds, and have him immediately know to stay by your side. Dogs that aren’t used to being with runners are more likely to walk and run in short bursts as they do with children or other family members while on a leash. Be patient and teach the dog to be your running partner. Within a few weeks, your dog will be looking forward to long runs at your side.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Running With Your Dog


By Ruthie Bently

Now that the weather is turning nicer in many parts of the country, we can get back to those activities we usually only do during warmer weather. Skye and I love to walk, but Minnesota winters are too bitter for us to go walking very far, even with both of us dressed up like Eskimos. So we save most of our walking time for the nicer weather months.

Many new dog owners are finding that they can do more things than just play ball or throw a Frisbee for their dogs. Dogs have become integral members of our families, and as such can and do participate in more activities than they used to years ago. For example, do you like running? Have you ever considered running with your dog? Some dog breeds are naturally suited to running – Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis and many of the other sight hounds are built for a good run.

You can even consider running with some of the breeds that have higher daily exercise needs: Retrievers, Terriers, Dobermans or German Shepherds can even be running partners. The first thing to consider is whether or not your dog would be a good running partner. It might even be a good idea to check with your dog’s veterinarian to see if they feel that your dog is up to the challenge. Your vet may suggest a checkup to make sure your dog is healthy enough to begin running with you regularly. If you have a dog that tires after 10 or 15 minutes of exercise, running might not be the ideal activity for them.

Just as a human runner does, you will need to build up your dog’s stamina. Begin with short walks between 20 and 30 minutes about three times a week. Watch your dog during these walks to see how they do. Do they look tired or overheated, or do they just want to find a spot of shade under the nearest tree? If this is the case, you may want to consider an alternative form of exercise for your dog. If your dog is still raring to go, and looking at you wondering why you stopped moving, you may have a running partner in the making.

If your dog handles this regimen well, you can work up to a daily walking schedule. From there, work up to a jogging stride with your dog on these excursions. Make sure to take plenty of fresh water for your dog, as they need to keep hydrated just like you do. You also need to have your dog under control, so remember to use a standard 6 foot leash. Don’t use a retractable leash, as you won’t have the same control you will with a standard 6 foot leash. Gradually work with your dog until you are jogging several miles during each outing.

When your dog is doing well at this and able to keep up with your stride, stretch your stride until you are running on your outings. As each dog is different, your training time may take more or less time during this phase. You can even practice for a 5k run, which is about the equivalent of 3 miles.

There are many towns and cities around the United States that have yearly “fun” runs that you can enter with your dog. Make sure your dog’s stamina is up to the distance of the run you are considering entering, and if possible be sure to practice daily with your running partner, weather permitting.

Remember that your dog may need to adjust to the season’s heat as well, so you need to train for that as well. You may also want to consider getting some kind of pad protectors for your dog’s feet if you will be running on asphalt or concrete, so boots may be a good idea. Just like that old adage “Slow and steady wins the race,” slow and steady is the way to train your new running partner. In this way you can make it an enjoyable outing for you both.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.